Ten fabulous Easter eggs for all kinds of tastes

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

What do we recommend the Easter bunny should bring?

 

I may have mentioned before that I love Easter. It’s the combination of chocolate and Springtime, so longer daylight hours in which to enjoy the chocolate make it just perfect, even if it chucks it down with rain all through the Bank Holidays.

So, whilst I can’t do anything about the weather, then here are ten amazing Easter eggs for every kind of chocolate lover.

Melt Dark Chocolate Flower

 

Melt Dark Chocolate Flower Easter Egg

 

I love Melt, they’ve been an indulgence of mine on occasion when passing through Selfridges (well, until the Artisan Du Chocolat area opened!) This handmade dark chocolate egg is filled with milk and dark chocolate mini eggs, although is almost too pretty to break into. Almost.

 

Stroppy teenager egg from Rococo

 

Stroppy Teenager Egg from Rococo

I have featured this before, but make no apologies for doing so again, just because I think it’s genius. It’s not cutesy, just tasty, and I reckon both of the teenagers in my life would think this was pretty good egg.

 

Montezuma’s Milk Chocolate Egg with peanut butter mini eggs

 

Montezuma's Milk Chocolate Egg with Peanut Butter Mini Eggs

 

Well documented in my love for Montezuma’s, possibly less so for my love of peanut butter. I love all kinds of salty sweet combinations, and so this is ideal. Well presented, Montezuma’s were amongst the first to pioneer more sustainable packging for Easter eggs, without losing track of great tasting chocolate.

 

Hotel Chocolat White Chocolate Easter Egg

White Chocolate Scrambled Egg Collection from Hotel Chocolat

 

White chocolate is not everyone’s thing, but it’s theirs, then I like this gift from Hotel Chocolat. Pretty and artistic, with an egg and six delicious pralines alongside, it’s a real white chocolate fest.

 

Prestat Polka Dot Egg Hazelnut Chocolate Truffle in a Real Eggshell

 

Prestat Hazelnut Chocolate Easter Egg

 

For a bit of fun, and something different for the Easter egg hunt, then I love these eggs from Prestat. They really are within a real eggshell, so a bit of magic too, to peel off real egg shell and find delicious chocolate inside. There are lots of great patterns to choose from, so something for everyone.

 

Demarquette Chocolate Caramel Quail Eggs

 

Chocolate caramel quail's eggs from Demarquette

 

Again, for something fun but a little different, I love these little colourful quail’s eggs from Demarquette. Filled with different flavours of caramel like Raspberry and Passion Fruit, these are something for someone who perhaps is not the biggest chocolate lover but has a sweet tooth.

 

Large Chocolate Egg with Camouflage

 

Large Camo Egg - great gift for a food lover who is under cover on the chocolate front

 

This is one is perfect for someone who is not going to appreciate something frilly and pink. It’s also a bit different in that it is egg shaped but not in 3D. Probably easier for sending through the post if you’re not going to be actually see the recipient at Easter.

 

Dark Chocolate Egg Caramel Filled Humpty Dumpty from Fairy Tale Gourmet

 

Dark Chocolate Egg Caramel Humpty Dumpty Egg from Fairy Tale Gourmet

 

I really love Fairy Tale Gourmet, they are so clever and inventive, not to mention possibly just a little bit crazy but I love them for that. This little dinky Humpty Dumpty egg looks amazing, and I am sure tastes incredible too, given how good everything else I’ve tried from them has been.

 

Dark Chocolate Yorkshire Egg from Bettys

 

Dark chocolate Yorkshire rose egg from Bettys

 

Because you can take a girl out of Yorkshire…but you can never stop her love for the white rose, or for Bettys. It’s a beautiful looking piece, very tasteful. As I would expect from Bettys. Also worth looking at if you need to send gifts overseas, rates are reasonable and delivery reliable.

 

Artisan du Chocolat Kentish Creme de La Creme Egg coop

 

Artisan du Chocolat Kentish Egg Coop

 

If you’ve not forgiven Kraft for messing with the Creme Egg recipe, or just think they are too sweet, then try a proper chocolate company’s version. These versions contain fresh layered and infused ganaches: tonka white and passion fruit yolk under a milk shell, cardamon white and orange yolk under a dark shell. Definitely sound more my cup of tea and can guarantee the chocolate these are wrapped in is delicious.

 

So, ten fabulous eggs to cover all kinds of possible people on your Easter egg shopping list. Unless their favourite is a Smarties one, but hey, it’s Easter…if that’s what they like. I mean, you can never quite account for what the Easter bunny might bring!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

Easter Chocolate Lovers, your time is almost up!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

Easter Chocolate Lovers, your time is nigh! Great gifts for chocolate food lovers

The countdown is on to Easter, and you can’t have Easter without some good chocolate. So unless you want to be standing in Asda trying to choose between a Smarties or Jellytots Easter egg then you need to get a move on to ensure you have some of the good stuff come Sunday. Here’s the last ordering dates for some fabulous stuff from some of my favourite chocolate companies:

Melt Chocolates – one of my favourites, I normally find it hard to bypass their counter at Selfridges. There are some really cute offerings from them for Easter, but sadly it doesn’t say how long you’ve got to get an order in. Do it today!

Montezumas – go organic and eco with Montezumas, from single eggs in their eco packaging through to fabulous goodie boxes, for sharing or for eating in secret! Again, the website makes no mention of last order dates (when will they ever learn?) Order early, or head into one of their shops.

Rococo – tight, but they usually allow 4 working days, although they do say it gets a bit longer at this time of year. I’d be so happy to find a Praline City Farm waiting for me on Easter Sunday, that it would be worth taking a risk on and ordering today.

Demarquette – if you’re ordering this after 10am today, then I’m afraid you’ve missed the cutoff for First Class Recorded delivery, but you can still order through till 10am on Wednesday with Special Delivery. The chocolate quails eggs are very sweet, and just a mouthful.

Chocolate Trading Co – great source for a huge variety of chocolates, and ordering by 4pm means you can get chocolate the next day with special delivery. There’s chocolate here for everyone from the littlest kids through to the fussiest of adults.

The alternative is to get out and find your local chocolate makers, and support what they’re doing, as this will be such a key time for them. If I can get across there, then I’ll be doing some of my Easter shopping at Bittersweet in Derbyshire, well worth a trip. Or take your Easter bunny on a trip to the Lakes, like this great shot by tristanf on Flickr.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

Valentine’s chocolates with taste

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

How to do Valentine's chocolates with taste so that any food lover will fall for your perfect gift

I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, bit over commercial being the understatement. And I do rather loathe “themed” gifts. But I do love chocolate. So here’s my thoughts on who’s doing what well for the day:

Melt

One of my favourite chocolate companies, I’d be quite happy to give or receive the Love Bar with the Violet & Rose bar. Great chocolate, and great packaging, perfect for slipping in a love note or two!

 

Rococo Chocolates

Marylebone High Street is like food lovers nirvana, and no trip would be complete without popping into Rococo for one or two delicious morsels. For Valentine’s Day I would find it hard to choose: hand-painted chocolate heart, Hot Lips chilli truffles, Venus Nipples, violet creams…the list is endless. For something a little unusual though I would try the Popping Champagne Truffles, which apparently gently explode in the mouth. Enough said.

 

Prestat

I try not to buy Prestat just because the boxes are so beautiful, so thankfully the chocolate inside is pretty darn tasty too. The Jewel Box is pretty, but I think I would rather have a tub of the Prunes in Chocolate. Or maybe that’s not a very romantic choice, but just think how healthy it is!

 

Chococo

Again, more good packaging, and tasty chocolate. I rather like the giant personalised chocolate hearts that they do, and you can also find some dairy free options here as well.

 

Demarquette

Into the territory of true artisan production, I would be happy with most things that can be ordered from here. If you pushed me, then I’d really recommend the Salted Caramel Valentine Hearts. Dark chocolate, if you’re ordering for me, please.

 

William Curley

Again, fantastic choices to be made. If you wanted to choose something non hearts and flowers, then I would try the chocolate fruit and nut thins or the almond thins. I’d also be very happy to receive a tub of their hot chocolate, which would cheer up any dreary day.

 

Artisan du Chocolat

Another favourite (and yes, Santa did take note) and some great choices. This is probably one of the few places where I’d pick a Valentine’s specific gift, given that it’s been done with such wit and style. The Declaration of Romantic Feelings gift is fantastic, great chocolates, and a way to convey your unspoken feelings for your loved one. They may be too busy with chocolate to respond!

 

If you’re doing more than one gift, and want to add some other shopping to your basket, then John Lewis stock Hotel Chocolat, Chocolate on Chocolate, Ambassadors of London and Charbonnel et Walker; Selfridges have a list as long as your arm including Artisan du Chocolat, Chocolate by Trish, Damian Allsop and Pierre Marcolini; and Waitrose would be a good place to be stopping off on your way home if you’ve forgotten!

Great chocolate photo by Damaged Cupcake on Flickr.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

Quick pick – chocolate icicles perfect for melting in the mouth

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

I really like Melt, and have written before about being sustained on trips around Selfridges on one or two of their truffles. But for something festive, I’d choose these:

 

Beautiful looking chocolate icicles, with either candied orange on the milk ones and mint crystals on the dark ones. Sound like posh Matchmakers, but I’m all for that!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

Finally! A chocolate I will hate!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest
You can keep this one!

I love chocolate. Mainly good chocolate, with an occasional guilty lapse into a Mint Aero.

Or a Turkish Delight.

But usually I settle for a small amount of something good. But there is nothing, no amount of wrapping it up in good chocolate, that will convince me to try Marmite’s upcoming Very Peculiar Chocolate. I mean it’s milk chocolate, so not my fave. And it’s Marmite. Which I most definitely do not love.

I’m sure there will be heaps of Marmite lovers finding this in their stocking this Christmas time, which they are welcome to. I’m all up for unusual flavours, but there are other chocolates I’d rather experiment with.  And it’s not even original, as Paul A Young combined Marmite and chocolate some time ago. You can still buy the Marmite truffle, and if I wanted to try something unusual I’d try his Port and Stilton truffle.

I like Melt, and quite often survive shopping at Selfridges propped up by one or two of their truffles. Next time, if I’m feeling adventurous, then I’m going to try the Olive Caramel Bonbon. I can’t quite imagine the combination, but got to admit that black olive tapenade meeting slightly salty caramel wrapped in dark chocolate is a flavour combo to play with. I could skip out of Selfridges and head down Marylebone High Street to Rococo. And given that it’s coming up to  Christmas, then I’d see what the Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh bar had to offer.

Demarquette have beautiful looking chocolates as well, as great flavours. Whilst not in the umami realms of Marmite at all, the Tunisian Bharat is unusual sounding, with notes of Damask Rose and roasted cinnamon. You could even try it yourself at Montezuma’s, with their “Make a Kilo” option. You can combine a whole host of ingredients, but nothing that unusual. You can pep everything up with chilli as one of your options though.

So, happy to keep experimenting, but they can keep the Marmite! Look out for it from 4 October on the Marmite website and selected retailers.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

What do you get a foodie mum?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

I love being a mum, and I love my food. Which probably makes me easy to buy for on Mother’s Day. And it would mean it was easy with me to never fall into the trap of Olay and L’Oreal Mother’s Day advertising (trust me, she’s worth so much more, and no mum wants anti-wrinkle cream. Ever).

Here’s some ideas for gifts for the food and drink loving mum, to show her just how worth it she is!

* There’s got to be fizz, and make it interesting. TheDrinkShop has a great selection, in every shade and to suit every budget, and if you’re going to be super generous then check out Wine Hound. You have to buy a whole case, but could mix wine and champagne, and they have some from more unusual houses in Champagne. And even if mum doesn’t do alcohol, The Alcohol Free Shop offers some very good alternatives.

 

Fabulous chocolates from Rococo

 

* Of course chocolates are traditional, but they don’t have to be old-fashioned. I love the packaging and unusual flavour combinations from Rococo, like the dark chocolate and violet. I adore the fabulously vibrant packaging from Prestat, a long established house with anything but an old fashioned look and feel to it. Have a look at the Marc de Champagne Truffle Collection. Want to go swanky? Check out Melt, which I would say was perfect true foodie territory. How about salted feuillantines or olive caramel bon bons?

* Mum got a savoury tooth, not sweet? How about a cheese gift from Pong? There is a luxury gift box for her, which is the sort of thing I normally avoid, but this is a great collection. Mum can feast on St Eadburgha, Reblochon, organic Cotswold Blue Brie from Simon Weaver and Golden Cross. Add in some fabulous crackers and maybe even some good chutney, and that’s supper sorted out on Mother’s Day!

* For green fingered, grow your own mums, how about a fruit tree? Tree 2 My Door offer some great self-pollinating ones, from apples, to something more unusual like mulberry. Or maybe treat her to something to inspire her growing, like tickets to the Chelsea Flower Show.

So, break out a bit from the norm and make mum’s day!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

Choice chocolate for fabulous foodies this Valentine’s Day

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

Chocolate has had a reputation as an aphrodisiac all the way back to at least Montezuma, if not further, so it seems only appropriate that there is a lot of the stuff being given at Valentine’s Day. For those that a half pound box from Tesco is going to leave you very much out in the cold, here are some romantic and yet incredibly tasty choices.

  • I’ve written about Montezuma’s many times, and their chocolate tends to be somewhere in the house! If you need a good introduction, then order the Box of Love for your loved one, and hope they share. Rather keen on the sound of the Sweet Harmony Giant Truffle.
  •  

  • For a step up in terms of sophistication of presentation, and possibly taste, then the Chocolate Trading Co is a great source for chocolate by Michel Cluizel, one of the great chocolatiers. I love this Je t’aime Gift Box, which is definitely quality but not quantity, but they look fabulous and will no doubt be delicious.
  •  

  • Artisan du Chocolat have so many wonderful flavours to choose from, that it’s very hard to do so! Going to go with something a little bit different, and suggest you order their Love Potion N9. A cup of this hot chocolate could be incredibly bewitching, and perfect for if Valentine’s Day turns chilly. The weather that is, rather than the atmosphere.
  •  

  • Lips & Nipples

    Not new, but a saucy box of Rococo’s Venus Nipples & Lips will always induce a smile on Valentine’s Day, and they tend not to stick around for long! Maybe add a few bars of their delicious chocolate as well. I particularly love the Earl Grey one.

  • I know nothing about Curious Chocolate, other than the lovely people at Pedlars think it’s good enough for them to list. If I was going to try it, then I would buy a box of Caramel Sea Salt Chocolates. Perfect for foodies who love those amazing mixes of salty and sweet.
  •  

    If you leave it too late to order online, then certainly Waitrose have a great selection of good chocolate brands, and Hotel Chocolat have a growing number of standalone stores.  That may even be open on a Sunday. Just don’t leave it to the last minute. Don’t buy the reduced Christmas stock. And don’t give an Easter Egg instead!


    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
    Facebooktwitterpinterest

    Sweets for your sweets

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
    Facebooktwitterpinterest
    Retro sweets for your sweeties
    Retro sweets for your sweeties

    Last week got a bit healthy in places, so it’s back to the sweet stuff! I wish I didn’t have a sweet tooth, but I do. Generally it likes to be fed good quality chocolate, but just occasionally it will wander over the naff side. If you’ve got a sweet-toothed sweetie to buy for, here’s a few ideas for last minute shopping:

    1. I’ve sent big boxes of nostalgic sweets from A Quarter Of to two very different groups of people, but to very similar rave reviews. Both a duo of teenagers and an office group fell upon a box filled with retro sweeties and made short work of the contents. With everything from cola bottles to fruit salads, cola cubes to sherbet fountains, there is something in here that was someone’s childhood favourite. The decade boxes are a different spin, and will induce nostalgia as well as a sugar high!

    2. Whilst I am a little concerned at seeing the “Made in the EU” labelling on Green & Black’s chocolate, it is still good tasting chocolate. They make a great combo hamper: Beer & Bars. This could solve arguments, just share out the spoils in an appropriate way! These are nice looking hampers, particularly with St Peters Organic beers, which I think are very attractive looking, not to mention tasty!

    3. For the true dark chocolate lover, buy them a selection pack they’ll really appreciate. Try one containing 4 of Willie’s Dark Chocolate Bars, and that should keep them in chocolate rapture through till New Year.

    4. It takes a very strong will to resist a great cake, and it would probably make a great surprise on Christmas Day. If you want to stick with the chocolate theme, check out the Pralines Cakes by the Original Hat Box Cake Co or, for what looks like the ultimate indulgence in chocolate cake, then I would go for The Ultimate Christmas Cake from Montezuma’s. Chocolate enrobed, one Drambuie layer, one butterscotch layer, total chocolate heaven!

    5. For sweets with crunch, then how about biscuits? Of course you can pop to M&S for a tin, but for something with more foodie credentials, then I could go for the Dark Chocolate & Pistachio Cantucci on offer at Jamie Oliver. If they were out of stock, then could possibly make do with the Dark Chocolate, Ginger & Chilli instead!

    6. Never mind a bumper bar of Dairy Milk, I’d like a bag or slab from Melt. Dark, milk or white, there are some really unusual flavour combinations. The milk chocolate with gold and nutmeg both looks and sounds seasonal, and the dark chocolate with red berries and cocoa nibs also looks the part.

    So, count the taste, not the calories this Christmas, and treat your sweetie to some good tastes!

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
    Facebooktwitterpinterest

    Christmas Foodie Gifts for Tea Lovers

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
    Facebooktwitterpinterest

    Great tea gifts from Bellevue Tea - perfect gift for food lovers who love tea

     

    Tea. Best drink of the day. Well, certainly first drink of the day in my book, but gets equal pegging with coffee during the day. But if you’ve got a serious tea drinker on your hands, what could you give them that would upgrade their tea drinking experience? Here’s a few thoughts for you:

    1. I love the story behind Bellevue Tea, which shows real passion for, and knowledge about tea. Not to mention a great eye for good design, as the packs of tea are very attractive, and I love the tea towel too. Five different teas will tempt them to get the kettle on whatever the time of day. Attention to detail is amazing, everything is focused on delivering the best flavour possible. At £15 I think this is a really good value gift for a very high quality product, and something quite unique and unusual as well.

    2. Bring the scent of tea to wherever they are with a very unusual, but beautiful, candle from English Eccentrics, called Tea With the Queen. The smell of a vase of Devon violets blends with the scent of freshly brewed Darjeeling tea to give you something delicate and regal, with the tea taking away the sweetness of the violets. Great indulgent gift that is a little unusual.

    3. You could buy them something unusual and expensive, not your everyday cuppa. Try something like the White Tea from Hampstead Tea, which is fairtrade. Full of antioxidants that are renowned for their anti-ageing properties they could end up younger looking by New Year. Now, that is a gift!

    4. Mix the chocolate up a bit and try the Prestat Organic Milk Choc Wafers Infused with Earl Grey. Blimey, that must take up some room on the pack! Apparently these were amongst the late Queen Mother’s favourite chocolates, so obviously a woman of taste. As an alternative, try Sophie Conran’s truffle for Melt, which is an Earl Grey tea ganache with crystallised ginger and a sweet but tart cranberry.

    5. I am sure that unless they are very new to tea drinking then they will already have their favourite mug or cup, and teapot. Every good teapot though deserves a really good tea cosy, and I would check out the amazing designs available through Not On the High Street. I like the quirky kitschiness of Poppy Treffry’s and also the Union Jack design from Deborah Sparks.

    6. How about some time with a master tea blender? Red Letter Days offer a great experience for the tea lover with master tea blender Alex Probyn. Taking you through the history of tea, origins, styles and different tastes of tea, they’ll really get a more in depth view of what goes into a cuppa. They’ll get to taste up to 24 different teas, and master the art of slurping and spitting. This they can leave behind in the classroom, but they will get to create their own tea blend, which I think you can safely allow them to bring home! The experience is available for 1, you could go as a couple, or even as a group. After all, nice to have a cup of tea with friends!

    So, have a sit down, a nice cup of tea, and work out if there is a tea gift that’s right for the tea loving foodie in your life!

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
    Facebooktwitterpinterest

    British Chocolate Week – my favourite week

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
    Facebooktwitterpinterest

    If there was a week made for me, this is it! I adore chocolate, proper chocolate (although occasionally, on a bad day, can be tempted by a mint Aero or a Crunchie).

    As if an excuse was needed, I think there is more excuse to indulge in the good stuff this week. My top 5 to plunder this week are as follows:

    1. Rococo Chocolates, particularly the Earl Grey dark chocolate. Lovely unusual combination of flavours.

    2. Montezuma’s. Be a tough choice, as quite partial to a dollop or two, but I do love the plain chocolate coated oranges.

    3. Willie’s Delectable Cacao. If I can only have one, then I really like the Peruvian 70, but happy to have a bit of everything as well as some for experimenting in other courses.

    4. Melt. I can’t decide if I’m happy or not that they are now in Selfridges, as I am there much more often than Ledbury Road. Which means I am fighting the temptation, particularly of the hot chocolate blocks. Tomorrow I may just give in!

    5. Thorntons. Just for a bit of nostalgic indulgence really. Mine’s an Alpini please!

    So, not really needing any encouragement to indulge, I would encourage you to get out there and support British chocolate companies, this week and every week!

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
    Facebooktwitterpinterest