The Hippo


Jul 23, 2019








Herb-infused chocolate truffles. Courtesy of Maria Noel Groves.

Cordials and Chocolates 

When: Saturday, Oct. 29, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 
Where: Canterbury Shaker Village, 288 Shaker Road, Canterbury
Cost: $50 for Canterbury Shaker Village members, $60 for non-members. All materials and supplies are included. Purchase tickets online. Space is limited. 
Make your own spiced pear cordial
This recipe makes about one pint of cordial and will keep for at least one year in the liquor cabinet. You can easily double or triple the batch. Courtesy of Maria Noel Groves. 
2 small, ripe pears (or 1 large), sliced
4 ounces of local maple syrup (grade B recommended)
2 ounces of water
2 cinnamon sticks
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
6 whole cloves
½ vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
2 cardamom pods, crushed
8 ounces quality vodka (Flag Hill’s General Stark Vodka works well) 
Simmer the pears and spices in the maple syrup and water for approximately one hour. Remove from heat occasionally if it seems to be boiling too hard. 
Pour all the ingredients into a Mason jar. (Remove the cinnamon sticks if you want the cinnamon flavor to remain subtle.)
Cover with vodka, cap, and let sit on the counter for one to four weeks, shaking daily. Taste it every few days. The flavor will gradually change, becoming more spicy and less fruity nutmeg-flavored over time. 
When it tastes good to you, strain your cordial into bottles and enjoy. 

Playing with herbs
Learn the basics of herbal chocolates and cordials

By Angie Sykeny

 If you’re looking for a unique gift idea or something to spice up your holiday gatherings, you might find inspiration at the Cordials and Chocolates workshop at Canterbury Shaker Village on Saturday, Oct. 29. 

Clinical herbalist Maria Noel Groves of Allenstown will demonstrate how to make herb-infused chocolate truffles and cordials and guide participants through the process of making their own to taste and take home. 
“They’re really different techniques, but they’re both fun and yummy,” Groves said. “It gives people a chance to play around with herbs and food and make gifts and preparations for the holidays all at the same time.” 
Groves will begin the workshop with some facts about chocolate, its health benefits and why it’s a good backdrop for herbal flavors. Peppermint, vanilla, lavender, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and basil are just some of the herbs that work well with chocolate. To make the truffles, the herbs are infused into the cream, then melted down with the chocolate and chilled. 
“If you’ve never made them before, it’s not that complicated, but it’s really time-consuming, and making them in a group is fun and goes a lot faster,” Groves said. “It’s just meant to give people an idea of what’s involved. Then they can recruit friends and family members and make bigger batches at home for parties or gifts.” 
While the chocolates are being infused and chilled, the group will move on to making the cordials. There will be three seasonal fruits to choose from: apples, pears and cranberries. The process involves filling a jar with the chopped fresh fruit, chosen herbs, a sweetener and alcohol. Participants will complete all steps except for the alcohol, which they will have to add at home. Groves will suggest that they use a quality vodka, brandy or other spirit that provides a clean base for the fruit and herb flavors to come through. Most cordials are ready to drink within a day or two. 
Groves will be demonstrating with a maple pear spice cordial, but other popular combinations are apple cinnamon, spiced cider and cranberry rosemary. 
“They’re fun and so easy to make,” she said. “You just work off of what flavor profiles work nicely together. The alcohol on its own is already good at extracting [certain herbs], so they come out nice and flavorful and taste really good.” 
Participants will go home with some chocolate truffles, a 4-ounce cordial and some recipes for other chocolate treats and cordial combinations to try on their own. 

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