Truffology 101 at the Edmonton Public Library

The Edmonton Public Library has an ongoing advertising campaign on with the slogan “More than just books”. It’s true – libraries are now the hub for many activities – gaming nights for teens, conversation circles for English as an Additional Language Learners, knitting clubs, photography workshops and movie screenings. Their program listings are available on their website, and in paper form as a seasonal guide that can be picked up at each of the 17 branches in the city.

I first saw a course titled “Truffology 101” in the catalogue last year, and though my interest was piqued, the time didn’t work out. When I saw that they were offering again this fall, I signed up immediately, and dragged my Mum along for the ride.

We headed to Strathcona Library on Saturday afternoon, and after paying our $2 course participation fee (for the materials) on the main floor, headed to the upstairs meeting room. There, Adrian, the friendly manager of the branch welcomed us, and shortly after, introduced her husband, John Canty, who would be leading the workshop. He is a hobby chocolatier, and seems to have taken a few courses here and there to learn about the subject.


Truffology 101 outline

While he wasn’t as energetic as Nina at the chocolate tasting at Kerstin’s, it was obvious that he is passionate about chocolate. The overview and background of chocolate making also wasn’t as detailed as the one I heard at Kerstin’s, but as this session was only an hour in length (with a different objective), that wasn’t unexpected.

After the chocolate introduction (and recommending Scharffen Berger brand bars, available at Shoppers Drug Mart), John reached the demonstration portion of the session, and while John explained the components of a basic ganache recipe, Adrian set about making it on a portable burner. He had adapted the recipe from one he had received from a course at NAIT (my Mum was wondering whether a sans-corn syrup recipe existed, and I did find one on the Times’ website).

Simple Ganache

300g milk chocolate
225g whipping cream
7 1/4 teaspoons unsalted butter
3 1/8 glucose or light corn syrup

1. Finely chop the chocolate and place in a glass mixing bowl.
2. Pour cream into small saucepan and bring to scalding. Remove pan from heat – do not allow cream to boil.
3. Add glucose/corn syrup to the heated cream and mix.
4. Pour cream-glucose mixture over chopped chocolate. Stir to melt the chocolate, adding butter slowly in small increments. If chocolate does not fully melt you may carefully heat the mixture in a microwave – use only low power settings for very brief periods.
5. Once all the butter has been added, and the mixture is smooth and homogenous, cover mixture and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours.

Adrian passed around the bowl once the homogenous mixture had been attained, to show each of us the consistency the mixture must be. Then, like the magic of cooking shows, they pulled out pre-made, cooled, plastic-wrapped ganache for each of us to roll in the plates of cocoa or coconut on our table.


My Mum making truffles

The truffles were beyond straightforward to make, and would be a great activity for children – with the consistency of playdough, they could be easily rolled into balls and dipped into a variety of garnishes – colored sprinkles, sugars, chopped nuts. Truth be told, the truffles were a tad to sweet for me, but then again, one alone was enough to cure my chocolate craving.


My truffles

A set of colorful truffles would be a great Christmas gift, so to facilitate this thought, John and Adrian are offering another Truffology 101 class at the Riverbend branch on December 6. It will also be repeated in the new year at the Sprucewood and Lois Hole locations. Be sure to call ahead to book a spot. Happy truffle making!

5 thoughts on “Truffology 101 at the Edmonton Public Library

  1. The host John actually did refer to mushroom truffles in his opening, clarifying that this class was about chocolate truffles.

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