Summer is here and we often get asked if there is anything in particular you need to know about chocolate dipping strawberries, and yes there certainly is.

Chocolate dipped strawberries are (in our opinion) one of the best things about Summer, and here is what you need to know.  These tips and tricks are for using coverture chocolate (chocolate with cocoa butter, not vegetable fat).

1.  If you want your chocolate to look lovely rich and glossy, and you want to dip the strawberries in advance (like the day before), you are either going to need to temper your chocolate or in the process of melting it, not let it get over 32 degrees Celsius.  Now don't be frightened about tempering,  you can do this using your microwave at home, a digital thermometer will make it easier.  For instructions on tempering chocolate click here.

2.  Make sure your strawberries are washed and dried then left at room temperature (we recommend this for eating too, you get much more flavour from the strawberry).

3.  Prepare a baking tray (oven tray or cookie tray) with baking paper on it.

4.  Hold the strawberry by the green leafy part and dip in your tempered chocolate.  Gently shake the excess chocolate off and place on your baking tray.

5.  Once you have completed your tray of strawberries place in the fridge until the strawberry comes off the baking paper easily.

6.  Keep in cool dry conditions until serving (not your fridge as the strawberries will sweat), around 18-20 degrees is perfect, normally a pantry.

If tempering your chocolate is a bit too scary or you don't have time you can just melt down your chocolate and dip without tempering.  The chocolate won't look as glossy and the trick is you need to dip the strawberries as close to eating as possible, at least the same day, by the next day the chocolate will look very cloudy and dull. To melt chocolate you can put the chocolate in your microwave in a microwave proof bowl, power must be on medium (or the chocolate will burn), and heat up in one minute increments stirring well between each increment until melted.

Another trick if you are not to sure about tempering and you think your chocolate probably got above 32 degrees in the melting process is to dip them in freeze dried fruit pieces or chopped up nuts.  Have a bowl of your freeze dried fruit or chopped up nuts next to where your are dipping your strawberries and when you have shaken the excess chocolate off dip them in the nuts and put on the baking paper to set.

Here are some ideas for decorating:

Use white chocolate (still needs to be tempered) and divide into three bowls.  Colour it three different types of pink.  You need to use powdered colouring you can get from cake stores not liquid colouring.

Decorate with stripes.  Just place chocolate in a small piping bag and cut a tiny hole in the piping bag, no need for a nozzle.

Dip one half in white chocolate and the other in milk or dark chocolate.