Planning your chocolate themed party

So, you’ve been asked to organise the bride-to-be’s Hen Party.

Congratulations. And the theme is, wait for it, chocolate! Well, virtually everyone loves chocolate, so how hard can it be?

Here at Cocoa & Heart we’ve successfully delivered a whole host of chocolate themed Hen Parties for several years now. The venues have ranged from beautiful country houses hired for the weekend, town hotels and west end exclusive member clubs, to more simple, but equally enjoyable chocolate parties in people’s living rooms or kitchens.

But whether the venue’s big or small, grand or modest, we always aim to provide a fun filled, action packed chocolate party where the bride and her friends actually get to make a range of chocolates – such as chocolate truffles, choose their own fillings and flavours, and learn/ pick up some industry tips and techniques along the way.

And, most importantly, of course, come away with a gorgeous selection of their very own handmade chocolates, beautifully presented and gift wrapped in a special celebration box.

Planning is the key ingredient– as well as, chocolates, of course. Anxious party planners, usually ask a stream of questions, chocolate related and otherwise, to make sure that the Hen Party goes as smoothly as the creamy filling of a luxury truffle.

So to get the best out of your Chocolate Hen Party, here’s a few Q&As on what to plan for and why.

I’m thinking of holding my Chocolate Hen Party in our living room. How much space will I need?

Obviously, that depends on the numbers of guests invited. Ideally, it helps if there’s one long table (or two or three put together) that people can all sit around comfortably. If it’s a bigger venue, such as a hall, several separate tables can work equally well. All guests get their own trays and set of chocolate making equipment, such as dipping forks and moulds, but other items, like chocolate bowls and samples are shared between smaller groups. Don’t forget also, that I do need some space to demonstrate chocolate making techniques, such as at the head of the table, but I always make a point of going to more than one place so that all the group can clearly see what I’m doing.

Will you be bringing any special bulky equipment with you that I need to plan for?

A microwave and a heat gun is all that’s usually required and we’ll bring our own. Don’t forget that as we’ll be melting and preparing fresh chocolate to suit your choice of flavours, it’s better to be able to demonstrate this all in the same room. So a separate table or nearby work surface works best. We bring our own cables and extension leads.​

Chocolate can be messy. I’ve hired a venue and I’m worried that it will get everywhere and I won’t be able to clean it all up afterwards.

We provide our own Cocoa & Heart aprons and disposable gloves so don’t worry about it getting on your clothes. It also provides a good background for any photos or selfies you might want to take. While you’re making the chocolates, we clean and tidy up around you. We’ll also clean up afterwards and are happy to clean floors, wipe tables, and hoover up as well. All rubbish collected is taken away, afterwards.

What else do I need to provide? 

A fridge! Once the first stage of chocolate making is completed, people’s individual trays will need to lie flat in the fridge to give time for the chocolate mix to cool and form. We are used to juggling around trays, but we find that at least three complete shelves are needed, at peak periods. Ideally, the fridge, or a cool kitchen space such as a larder, should be near to the demonstration area. But we once ran a Hen Party in an up market West London restaurant, where the walk in fridges were down two flights of stairs in the basement! Everyone’s chocolates still looked as fabulous as the exclusive venue.

We’ve never tried to make chocolates before. What’s the learning style?

Hands on. Literally! We take you through all/every stage in making delicious tasting chocolate truffles, layer by layer – every step of the ways, starting with professional covertures. And then we’re on hand to guide you as you have fun using piping bags and dipping forks to make your very own chocolate creations.

When do we get a chance to ask any questions?

Any time you like! We’re happy to answer questions such as the melting temperature of chocolate, what flavour combinations work best, chocolate transfer techniques, how to dip and use different types of cocao beans.

You said something about samples. Do we get to eat chocolate as well as make it?

Of course. Knowing how to taste chocolate is very important too! You’ll get to taste a good selection of single ‘Origins’ chocolate from around the world (think Whisky single malts) which are not commercially available. The subtle quality and rich aroma is very different from chocolate bars on the high street.

What will we take away from the Chocolate Hen Party?

Lots of chocolate for starters. It depends on the actual package booked, but everyone gets their own gift wrapped box of handmade chocolates truffles complete with coloured ribbons and bows. They make a perfect present in themselves and a wonderful gift for friends. Not to mention having a lot of fun with your friends along the way.​​