Jane Swayne is running a Chocolate Making Master Class on the 28th May as part of our New Friends of Jekka's Master Class Series. We took this opportunity to find out more about her passion and her delicious herb chocolates!
Describe your passion for your profession?
For me, the best thing about making chocolates and running my chocolate workshops isn't necessarily the end product but the joy it brings to others. My chocolate courses are open to everyone from absolute beginners to professional chefs and they all seem to love what they learn.This is hugely important to me. My focus is on making the learning fun and interesting for each participant. I find it so gratifying seeing people leave with big smiles on their faces and filled with a sense of achievement and the bagfuls of chocolates they’ve made themselves.
I trained as a chocolatier with Meneer Chocola in the Hague and completed my training with World Master Chocolatier Ruth Hinks, founder of Cocoa Black. Having spent so much of my career abroad I wanted to do something that allowed me to work from home, but that also gave me the scope to benefit others. For this reason I only work with Fairtrade or single origin organic chocolate that comes from plantations where I know the workers are paid and treated well. I also donate a percentage of the proceeds from every box of chocolates to charity and run courses for vulnerable children and those in care on a voluntary basis.
What can people learn from your masterclass?
Everyone who attends my class will learn about the origins of chocolate and its varying grades, how to temper & how to make moulded chocolates and ganaches incorporating a variety of fresh herbs, handpicked from Jekka’s incredible herbetum on her herb farm. Students can experiment with exciting new flavour combinations with Jekka's herbs, & learn different decoration techniques for a professional looking finish. At the end of the day everyone goes home with a minimum of 60 gift-wrapped chocolates they have made themselves, either to share with others or enjoy solo!
What are you growing at the moment, and why?
I live and work in Baltonsborough, Somerset where I have a patch dedicated to growing my own organic herbs. I like to use natural, locally sourced ingredients whenever possible to give the most authentic, aromatic and seasonal flavours, combining, herbs, spices & fresh friut purees. I am currently growing various varieties of mint, tarragon, thyme, rosemary, lemongrass, juniper and bay. Growing my own allows me to experiment with different taste pairings to create unusual ganaches for my chocolates.
What is your favourite herb?
Tarragon. It has a truly unique taste that contrasts bitter with sweet in one bite. It has notes of vanilla, liquorice, pepper and anise which I often pair with sea salt & chocolate. Tarragon’s complex taste makes it incredibly versatile as a culinary ingredient making it wonderful to work with.
Inspired to learn more about chocolate? To book a place on Jane's Chocolate Making Master Class, please buy a ticket here.