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Truffles (Image: The Watergate Hotel)

Where to learn the art of chocolate making in the DMV

It’s reported that Americans consume 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year, that’s 11 pounds per person. And yes, February is a big month for chocolate. This year why not graduate from M&M and Hershey Kisses to finer chocolates. Even better, roll up your sleeves and create your own yummy treats. Come alone, bring a friend or bring your honey and take a chocolate-making hands-on class at one of the following:

The Watergate Hotel Truffle Making Class

This February, The Watergate Hotel invites singles and lovebirds to celebrate the month of love. For this chocolate extravaganza the hotel has partnered with Georgetown chocolatier SPAGnVOLA. The truffles will be crafted from fine cacao hand-picked at the chocolatiers’ farm in the Dominican Republic, then roasted and refined in Maryland. The head chocolatiers from SPAGnVOLA will guide you through the process. They will also share their knowledge of cacao growing and truffle making. When you are finished you will get to take home a box of completed truffles.

  • Classes are each Saturday and Sunday in February from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In addition, the hotel’s kingbird Terrace has been transformed into a Chocolate Chalet Winter Wonderland, complete with artificial snow covered picnic tables reminiscent of a true après-ski experience. It’s a sensory overload of chocolate offerings. The chocolate chalet will be home to a “Grab & Go Chocolate shop” (11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on weekend and Valentine’s Day) and then into an “Evening Chocolate Bar” (everyday from 5-10 p.m.)

Via Umbria Baci Making Class

Bill Menard aka “Billy Wonka” is turning his Georgetown Via Umbria into his own chocolate factory. The hands-on class will be making Baci, one of Italy’s most famous and popular candies. Meaning kisses, Baci is a chocolate ganache topped with a whole hazelnut and covered in chocolate. Billy studied Baci making at the Perugina Chocolate School where he honed his skills. The class is fun and a chocolate lover’s dream experience. And you’ll get to eat fresh Baci after it’s made and take some home.

  • The class is February 11 from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Lansdowne Truffle Making Class

Come to the decadent truffle making class taught by Lansdowne’s Pastry Chef Christjana. Learn the art from scratch, infusing flavors to make the perfect filling. It’s complimentary with dinner reservations and served as the final dessert course for you. But you can take the class without dinner reservations. You might even want to stay overnight and enjoy the spa and other amenities.

  • Classes are offered February 10, 14, and 17 at 4 p.m.

The Chocolate House Truffle Making Class

Come and learn the skills to work with chocolate as well as make classic hand-rolled chocolate truffles. You’ll work in groups of two or three, choose your desired flavorings from seasonal fresh herbs and fine extracts, and transform fine chocolate and fresh cream into hand rolled truffles. The class covers basic chocolate knowledge, infusing flavors into cream, and basic ganache making, and chocolate tempering.

  • Class is February 25 from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Sur la table

Sur la table asks “Is chocolate your favorite food group?” If your answer is yes, this menu is for you – chocolate hazelnut cake rolls, white chocolate Gelato with pistachio cream swirl and flour-less chocolate almond cake. In this hands-on class you will learn new ways to showcase cacao with a trio of chocolate desserts.

  • February 7th (11:00 a.m), 10th (10:00 p.m), 14th (11:00 p.m.) in North Bethesda
  • February 7th (11:00 a.m) 10th (10:00 a.m.) in Alexandria

Hershey Chocolate Lab

Bring your sweetheart or a friend to the Chocolate Lab at the Hershey Story Museum for an evening of chocolate truffle making fun. You’ll hand-roll and coat rich dark chocolate ganache in milk and white chocolate, then finish your truffles with a sweet array of toppings. Best of all, you’ll get to package your chocolate creations in a beautiful box and get to take it home. And you’ll learn about how chocolate is created and processed.

  • February 9th, 10th, 14th, 16th, and 17th; 6 to 7 p.m. and 8 to 9 p.m.

In addition, offered every day are 45 minute classes where you can make your own treat. Chocolate Lab tickets are available on a first-come-first served bases. Of course, with either of these classes you might want to stay at the Hershey Hotel and indulge in a chocolate spa treatment.

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