Chocolates for Charity

People who know me know that I’m not a simple person. Given the choice between a simple and good option, and a not simple but better alternative, I will go to near unreasonable lengths to make the latter reality. I tried to rehabilitate myself, but I have mostly come to terms with the sadistic inclination of mine. So when S told me that he had to prepare something to sell to raise money for a company charity event, I couldn’t stop myself from offering to make chocolate truffles. 250+ chocolate truffles, that is, for all 80 some employees. I suppose I didn’t even really know what I was getting myself into. I haven’t made truffles in a while, and never quite so many at once. And certainly not without a proper kitchen and in the absence of a table/counter space.

The endeavour started with a trip to the Bangsan Baker’s Market, a wholesale market where Korean bakeries get their supplies. They carry most of the ingredients you can’t normally find in supermarkets, including all kinds of extracts, sugars and dairy products (cheeses, creams and butters).

They also have every imaginable baking tool necessary for both the amateur and professional, from the most whimsical cookie cutters and decorating devices to industrial size standing mixers/ovens.

Last but certainly not least, the market also carries an incredible selection of packaging materials (which can be customized upon request) that can make anything homemade ready for retail.

You can see why my imagination tends to get a little carried away whenever I visit this heavenly place. I picked up a carton of whipping cream, some butter and 1.5 kg of Belgium chocolate. Even here, it’s actually still quite hard to find the really high quality stuff, but I did manage to get some Valrhona cocoa power. I also got some little boxes and chocolate liners to pack them in.

Preparing the ganache was no problem at all. But with my nasty disposition in full flare, I wasn’t satisfied with just one flavour, so I had to make espresso flavoured ones too. And then, since I had two flavours, I just had to have two shapes to differentiate them, as well as two different kinds of cocoa powers to dip them in.

I was in charge of shaping the truffles, and S took care of coating them. What I didn’t foresee though, was how tedious the process of repetition could be once you are making hundreds of the same thing.

After the first fifty, my hands started cramping and my back was aching from being hunched over the ironing boards we were working on. By the time we were done, we had inhaled enough cocoa power to feel ill, and the whole room had been dusted with chocolate.

It was worth every ounce of effort though, because these were the best tasting truffles. Probably because I chose the most complicated recipe I could find, but they were truly beyond creamy and divine. And not to mention delightfully pretty.

S and his coworkers are going to be in charge of packing and selling tomorrow, and all the money will go to Kosian House, an organization that cares for underprivileged children in Seoul.

I realize that I sometimes get carried away with making my life more difficult than it ought to be. All the other Asian branches of his bank are simply re-selling store-bought cookies. But when the end results are so beautiful, it is easy to forget about the process and just let the cycle reset itself. Hopefully, the next time I do this to myself it will be for just as good of a cause.

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