“Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate”

Jo Brand

EDIT: Chocolate Gecko is now in Newton Plaza, Latham.

I love online coupons have it be LivingSocial or Groupon, they not only give me ideas of new places to try but a discount to try them with! One of the more recent Groupons I bought was a Chocolate Truffle making class at the Chocolate Gecko (21 Colvin Avenue, Albany). I figure for Sunday’s Snacks that chocolate is as good a snack as any! I know nothing about making truffles but I really enjoy chocolate and add the fact that the class was BYOB- I figured it’d be money well-spent.

I went with my Mom and once we walked in the smell was overpowering. I love the smell of chocolate. We got to learn a bit of history about the Chocolate Gecko. It started in 1998 in the basement of Lissa D’Aquanni and then moved to Delaware Avenue. In February of 2008 it was sold it its current owners and in the summer of 2008 moved to its current location on Colvin Ave.

Any kind of chocolate you’re looking for, The Chocolate Gecko has it! There are chocolate covered fruit and pretzels, peanut butter cups, and the delicious truffles we had the opportunity to try and make. The three we made were all alcoholic but not enough to give you a buzz, unless you eat a huge number of them but you’d probably get a stomach ache first!  We learned to make the Drunken Monarch which was rum and coconut mixed with homemade buttercream, the Green Fairy which was with a legal brand of absinthe mixed with the same homemade buttercream base and the third was the Cereza Loca which was with French brandy mixed with buttercream with a full cherry.

The first step in making any kind of chocolate is tempering the chocolate with a double boiler. That means to heat the chocolate to a particular temperature (no more than 110 degrees F) and then cool it down to a particular temperature (no less than about 84 degrees F). You do that with either a double boiler if you have one or boil water in a pan and then melt the chocolate in a separate pan over the water. This part is very important, if the chocolate isn’t heated to the right temperature, then it may end up too lumpy and not that silky smooth you’re looking for. If it’s not cooled to the right temperature then it could end up streaky and not one color. While some of us tempered the chocolate (and snuck some tastes), others mixed the butter cream and alcohol. Now, to give you REAL step-by-step instructions would take a long time and a really long blog entry so I’ll give you a run down. To get it step-by-step, sign up for one of their classes!

Before you put any chocolate in the molds, make sure they’re dry and shine them up nice because if the molds are shiny then your chocolate will end up shiny too. That’s when you can take your chocolate and fill up the molds but don’t worry too much about how it looks, as long as the edges are covered that’s what matters. Once the molds are full, hit the molds hard on the table to get out any air bubbles, they should rise to the top. After they’re all out, it’s time to turn the mold over and pour the excess chocolate. This is when you fill the chocolate-covered molds with you filling and top it off with some of the chocolate you’ve had put to the side. Once you clean up the molds and make sure everything is sealed, pop it in the refrigerator and soon you’ll have truffles of your own!

While we were waiting I checked out the store and even though the storefront is small, there is big flavor hiding in there. We were able to try some of the chocolate that wasn’t perfect and couldn’t be sold but was delicious to eat. I recommend the turtles, dark or milk chocolate, I think that was my favorite that I was able to try. To see when these classes are, you have to either call into the store or visit to find out the schedule. Make sure you eat some sort of dinner beforehand but leave room for chocolate, being around it for an hour and a half is going to make you want to eat it, a lot of it. Also, do BYOB, we shared some red wine with other people taking the class with us and it paired up really well- and they ARE prepared with wine glasses. This was a great time, if they don’t have another Groupon for this soon, try it out anyway! It’s not too pricey, you get to learn all about chocolate and what’s bad about that? Have you taken this class? Are there other in the Capital District like it? Let me know! Hopefully if you don’t take a class, check out their chocolate- it’s delicious!