Christmas is one of the best times of the year for indulging in decadent sweets with loved ones. But before you go rushing to the nearest grocery store for candies, cookies and chocolate, we’ve rounded up a list of fun workshops across Canada where you can learn to make your own. Here are six stops for decorating gingerbread houses with the kids, making creamy caramels with your girlfriends, or switching up a dinner-and-a-movie for crafting artisanal chocolates with a master chocolatier:
Le Dolci – Toronto, Ontario
This is one bakery that lives up to its name. In a chic brick space tucked away in downtown Toronto, Le Dolci offers a variety of fun activities centred on the love of food and baking – from foodie trips abroad, to private baking parties and workshops. If you get a chance, check out their candy and caramels workshop – for $80, you’ll learn how to make these classic candies and take them home in adorable goodie bags.
Sweet Isabelle – Montreal, Quebec
If you’re looking for more family-oriented workshops, Sweet Isabelle offers monthly cookie decorating workshops at three locations across Montreal. Enjoy some quality time with your little ones in their parent-duo workshop, or have a girl’s night out with their sweet 16 and bachelorette-themed cookie decorating classes. This holiday season, they’re also offering a Christmas cookie decorating workshop for just $35 a person.
Papa Chocolat – Calgary, Alberta
Inspired by his father’s chocolate-making abilities while growing up in Belgium, Chocolatier Bernard Callebaut opened Papa Chocolat to share his family’s passion for chocolate. And this family tradition has paid off – last year, he received a Gold Award from The Chocolate Salon Awards in Los Angeles.
If you want to learn to make your own fine chocolate, he offers 2-night, 8-student beginner classes for $195 where you learn to make professional-grade chocolate using home appliances. Bonus: You’ll learn how to read chocolate labels at the grocery store like a chocolatier, so you’ll be able recognize quality chocolate.
Schokolade Café – Vancouver, British Columbia
Corporate groups and lifelong friends can sign up together for an evening of artisanal chocolate making goodness. For two hours, would-be chocolatiers learn how to make truffles, dip fresh fruit and write with chocolate on their pastries. And your belly won’t just be filled with chocolate: Schokolade Café offers appetizers during the class, which you can wash down with their signature Ancient Aztec hot chocolate. Group rates start at $60 a person.
Kim and Ashlee’s Sweet Ambrosia Bakeshoppe – Regina, Saskatchewan
Though they normally host different themed baking workshops every Saturday, they’re now offering Christmas-themed workshops twice weekly throughout December. Starting at $15 a person, you can finally get your cake pop dough to a perfect consistency, or learn how to package baked treats at home like you bought it from the store. For the owners, the workshops are meant to be a place to bond with family and friends, so their gingerbread house workshops are perfect for keeping up with this Christmas tradition, while practicing with royal icing under the watchful eyes of the pros.
Newfoundland Chocolate Company – St. John’s, NFLD
At their twice-monthly chocolate making classes, students learn how to make their own box of chocolate using milk or dark chocolate, and ingredients like fresh local strawberries and blueberries. They also add their own chocolate spin to wine pairings – teaching you what wines pair well with certain chocolates, including “rare origin chocolate tastings”. It features a collection of chocolate from plantations all over the world with their own unique flavours, from chocolates with notes of banana (from chocolate dried on banana leaves) to those with a nutty finish (from beans grown close to nut farms). Classes start at $90.