Meet the owner of Dotti Chocolates, Norwich

PUBLISHED: 13:35 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:36 23 March 2020

The art of chocolate; some fabulous Dotti creations

The art of chocolate; some fabulous Dotti creations

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Mark takes a peek into the world of Norfolk chocolatier Hannah Winter

With Easter just around the corner, my mind turned to the art of the chocolatier. To give me some insight, and a quick lesson to boot, I called in on Hannah Winter, who opened Dotti Chocolates, in Bedford Street, Norwich, last October.

It was a desire to eat better quality, healthier chocolates that led Hannah to the initial courses she attended and from then the bug couldn’t be shaken. Over the last year or so of writing this column, I have admired the length of planning that goes into several of the new ventures I have had the privilege of spending time with.

Hannah is no different. She spent over a year perfecting the art of her chocolate making, during which time she trialled and tested the flavourings that now make up her menu.

On my visit, I am put to work on a batch of one of her personal favourites, the passion fruit ganache. They say that we eat first with our eyes, and the Dotti chocolates are indeed beautiful.

With the mould before me, I flick yellow, white and red cocoa butters in its general direction with toothbrushes. The fun has begun.

Then, however, it gets technical. Alongside the pretty spots, sorry dots, the finish of the chocolate must be shiny, and this is achieved by the process

of tempering.

Now I have seen this on TV more than once but didn’t quite ever manage to take it all in. And alas, the notes I took weren’t my best (but keep reading...)

Tempering, by which the crystals in the chocolate are broken down, creates a lovely snap to the chocolate as well as the shine.

You may also want to watch:

With a food thermometer, an initial melt to 45C is brought down to 28C by the addition of more chocolate, stirring briskly, and then it is brought up to, in this case, 30C, with... a hairdryer. (More fun... when you’ve not had need of one for more years than I care to recall). Thinner now, the chocolate is ready to fill the mould, in which I am making perhaps 32 little semi-spherical beauties.

I am instructed to spoon it over quickly. And it needs to be, with the excess tipped back in the bowl, otherwise the individual moulds retain too much of what will be the shell.

Ten minutes in the fridge allows the passion fruit ganache to be finalised, all void of preservatives, which is then piped into the waiting shells. Then, it’s back in the fridge.

The bases, at the top of the moulds, are then added. More tempered chocolate is thinly applied. Job done.

Hannah tells me that her most popular offering is Norfolk Gin and lemon in white chocolate although as I leave her, she is spending the rest of the day formulating other flavours to sit alongside Norfolk honey and whisky, hazelnut truffle and Aperol spritz, to name a few.

The best news is that Hannah is to start offering courses, both at basic and more technical levels. You may see me there!

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