Ten fabulous Easter eggs for all kinds of tastes


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!


The Friday Five – Chocolate all round


I love chocolate, I may well have mentioned this more than once. So this week is one of my favourite weeks, although quite often every week is Chocolate Week here.

I don’t actually have any cookbooks devoted to chocolate, but I did, then I might pick one of these:


Chocolate at Home


Chocolate at Home – from master patissier Will Torrent, this really does show you how to start making your own chocolate wonders at home. I would suggest this was for someone who was semi serious about chocolate making, rather than just fancying knocking up some truffles on a Saturday afternoon.


Miss Hopes Chocolate Box


Miss Hope’s Chocolate Box – I think this is probably more my personal style, particularly after the recent TV series. I mean, any book with a recipe for a Walnut Whip is fine with me! Chocolate Ginger Creams wouldn’t be passed up either.


Totally chocolate


Totally Chocolate – I love Eric Lanlard, but then I always love people with passion and conviction, and he has those in large spoonfuls. This covers all kinds of things to do with chocolate, from quick bakes to very glamorous desserts and show stopping cakes. Truly something for everyone and every kind of occasion.


Adventures with Chocolate


Adventures with Chocolate – I’m very tempted by this one! I saw Paul A. Young do a great demo at the first Harvest a few years back, and it was fabulous. Best brownie recipe I’ve come across for when you wanted brownie with added attitude! But let’s face it, this one might win for having apparently the best Chocolate Martini recipe in there. I’m all for a bit of testing!


Montezumas Chocolate Book


Montezuma’s Chocolate Cookbook – I’m very fond of Montezuma’s, I remember when they just started out when I lived near Chichester. I love their big flavours, and that there’s nothing really delicate going on, which probably sums up much of my approach to cooking and baking. Orange and Geranium Chocolate Souffles have to be a dessert worth trying.

To be honest, I’d love all five of these. I’d order up a few bars of chocolate from Amelia Rope and settle down to some very tasty reading.


What chocolate are you hoping for this Easter?


I love Easter. I mean, what’s not to love, especially when it’s this late in the Spring? I’m hoping for lovely weather and my cherry tree to be in full bloom.

And for there to be chocolate. Good chocolate. Any of these really…


The Ultimate Egg from Fortnum & Mason - a fabulous Easter gift for a food lover


If you’re going to go big, then this has to be the one, the Ultimate Egg from Fortnum & Mason. It’s a bit of a cheat, as it’s actually five eggs. Five chocolate eggs. If you’re not sure what kind of chocolate you like best (or like them all) then this could be for you as each egg is a different type, from white through to dark. Sounds like bliss to me!


Stroppy Teenager Egg from Rococo


I love Rococo anyway, they can do no wrong in my eyes. But I really love this Stroppy Teenager Egg. There’s no pink, no cute bunnies, no bows, just great chocolate plus praline and also salted caramel ganache eggs. It’s almost too good to be wasted on stroppy teenagers!


Rococo Almost Like the Real Thing - real eggs filled with praline


And I’m sorry for featuring two things from Rococo (told you I loved them), but who could resist something that’s like the real thing but better? I just want to fill my fridge with boxes of these real eggs filled with praline. Though imagine bit hard to whip up a Victoria sponge with!


Montezuma Super Thick Half Dark Half Milk Egg


Can’t decide what sort of chocolate you like best? I’d go for the Super Thick Half Dark and Half Milk Truffle Egg. With truffles. Wow, Montezuma’s still know how to spoil us!


Moo Free Dairy Free Hunnycomb Easter Egg


Need a chocolate egg but need it to be tasty but free from? Well, it looks like Moo Free might be for you. I love the Bunnycomb Egg, ticks the boxes for taste and is gluten free, dairy free and vegan, so everyone can be happy.


Humpty Dumpty from the Fairy Tale Gourmet


For something lovely and a little different then I love the Humpty Dumpty from Fairy Tale Gourmet. How gorgeous are these? And that’s just the good looks, wait till you see the flavour choices! I want the Earl of Peanuttle, but any of them would be welcome. I think these are a bit different, as the shells are filled which you don’t see very often. I fancy a whole wall of these!

Go on, get the choccies in! With so much choice there is no excuse for dull Easter egg selection.


Valentine’s Day Chocolate to really make them smile


So, one of the worst nightmares of Valentine’s Day, after plastic red roses or those awful teddies clutching satin hearts or red silk underwear, has to be the last minute, quarter pound box of Roses bought at the garage. Possibly only topped by all four of those awful gifts combined. Given that you still have a little time to get organised, here are a few to replace the box of Roses with:


Amelia Rope Valentine's Day - chocolate with taste at every level


* I love Amelia Rope’s chocolate, both for the fabulous flavour combinations in beautifully smooth chocolate, and also for the design as well. I love what she is doing for Valentine’s Day, where you can choose from either a little additional crystal heart for the front, or a lovely handmade gift tag. Messages written for you, so chances to be anonymous are high. But when you are sending chocolate this good, why not tell? I love the Dark Hazelnut and Sea Salt, but wouldn’t turn any of them down!


William Curley Red Gift Box for Valentine's Day


* William Curley have some lovely looking heart shaped boxes, which is not imaginative but it’s all about the chocolate inside. You could send the couture collection or framboise truffles, or even champagne truffles. All of which are significantly more likely to be well received than any amounts of Roses.


Mini heart salted caramels from Artisan Du Chocolat


* One of my happiest days was being at an event where the team from Artisan du Chocolat came in to do a tasting, and very generous they were too, with a great many delicous favours being nibbled at. But for Valentine’s Day I think there would be many great recipients of these mini heart shaped versions of their original Salted Caramels. Delicious!


Montezuma's Valentine hamper


* I’ve always been a fan of Montezuma’s, ever since their early days, and a hamper from them is a great gift for those who like their chocolate with, well shall we say a little less finesse? Big dollops, big flavours, generous portions. For some, heaven in a hamper!

So, be organised, and step away from the garage quarter pound selections. Be generous, it will repay you!


Curling up with hot chocolate


The weather outside truly is frightful, and there can be nothing better than being curled up inside, preferably next to an open fire, with a mug of something really warm. And as it is so cold perhaps it’s a great time for an indulgent mug of hot chocolate, with or without all the marshmallow madness. Here’s a few to consider stocking up on, maybe even consider giving away to loved ones:


Rococo Hot Chocolate


I love Rococo, and any trip to Marylebone High Street, whilst sadly infrequent, always means a detour and an indulgence. So if I was going to send someone a gift that I really wished I could keep for myself, it would be their organic drinking chocolate. Made only from dark chocolate flakes and cocoa powder, this is for a serious chocolate lover. Like me.


Spiced Mandarin Hot Chocolate from Montezuma's


For something a little different, then I’d love to try the Spiced Mandarin Drinking Chocolate from Montezuma’s. Not only delicious sounding, but the pouch packaging makes it a great gift for posting, or if you’re travelling, either with a gift for want to have something delicious to drink with you. There are some other great flavours too, like Chilli or Mint, so bound to be something to suit.


Melt Hot Chocolates


Melt is another of those places that might see me stopping by for a quick chocolate stop, particularly the counter at Selfridges. They have new hot chocolates, in both milk and dark chocolate variants, which you could then also spice up with Vanilla or Cinnamon sugars. I would think these would make fantastic gifts with one of each, very attractive and not necessarily something you would buy yourself.


Fortnum's Hot Chocolate


Now these are ones I might really struggle to give away, as I love how these Fortnum & Mason hot chocolates are packaged. Not only do they look good but they sound amazing too. This one is the Madagascar, made from Malagasy cocoa for a smooth mild drink with subtle hints of red fruit. There are other single origin versions like Sao Tome, or flavoured versions like Rose & Violet or Marshmallow.


Jaz and Jule's


For something a little unusual from a smaller business, then try Jaz and Jul’s. Handmade and organic using real chocolate flakes and natural flavourings, there are some great flavours to choose from. Gingerbread, Man sounds right up my street, combining delicious chocolate with warming ginger. I like the subtle heat of ginger, but if you need more heat then there is a chilli version too.

So whether for gifts or just keeping great things on standby then hot chocolate has to be one of the benefits of cold weather!


Christmas without chocolate?


I don’t think so! Certainly not in our household.

Of course you can do a last minute sweep of the supermarket, but if you’re organised you’ve still got time to get some more interesting choices in. Here’s a few that I would be happy to make space for:


Montezuma's For fabulous chocolate for every kind of food lover


Montezuma’s – I’ve been with them from the start, when we lived near Chichester, and I’m still a big fan. I know you can now pick up the bars in better supermarkets, so for an online order I’d pick things like Dark Peppermint Snowballs, Christmas Drinking Chocolate or the Almond Marzipan Dark Chocolate Stollen. If you’re looking for a gift, but not just chocolate, then try the baking mixes, like the dark chocolate and salted peanut brownie.

Damian Allsop – never tried these, but am very intrigued by them, as they are apparently made with English spring water, giving the ganache a lighter taste. You can go for a fabulous subscription offer (8 deliveries, but not cheap) or try them out with something like the Chef’s Collection. At £18.50, it delivers some incredible sounding flavours like Rhubarb & Rose, Juniper & Lemon and Pear and Anise.


Fabulous chocolate from Artisan du Chocolat - great chocolate gift for a food lover


Artisan du Chocolat – have to mention these as they were on my wish list last year, but also they were incredibly generous with their chocolate tasting at the recent Bite’n’Write event I went to. From the tasting, I would highly recommend the espresso chocolate and masala chai chocolate bars, beautiful taste and gorgeous packaging. If you want to support British food and drink, then go for the Chapeldown Truffles, as an alternative to champagne. If you’re shopping for other stuff too, then you’ll find a good selection at Selfridges too.

Paul A. Young – for this one, you’ve got to get away from the screen and out to one of those things, you know, a shop. A real shop. But my word it would be worth it. I’ve a soft spot for Paul after his great demo at Harvest earlier in the year, and just know I could do some serious shopping if I made it into one of the stores. I’d have to have a go at the Port & Stilton truffles!


Fabulous chocolate from Amelia Rope - great gift for a food lover with a love of great chocolate


Amelia Rope – great looking and great tasting chocolate, I particularly like the chocolate bundles. The dark citrus and spice duo sounds like a sophisticated version of a Terry’s chocolate orange. I would never turn down any of Amelia’s bars, definite favourites here.


Duffy's chocolate - great chocolate gift for every kind of food lover


Red Star Chocolate – shameful that I didn’t know about this one as it’s a local company, but Paul A Young talked about it in his demo. All the manufacturing processes happen in house, here in the UK, then turned into single origin bars from around the world, under the Duffy name. One for true connoisseurs.

Chocolate seems to have had a real renaissance here in the UK, and so it is worth seeking out something a little different, something a little less mass produced. Make your Christmas chocolate choices as special as the chocolate itself.


Baking the easy way but with taste


Baking Made Easy from Montezuma's - great gift for a food lover who'd like to bake with ease


We were joking about Shake a Cakes the other day, which would most definitely not be something I would suggest sending anyone as a gift, not even as a joke. But very interested to see that Montezuma’s are now doing Baking Kits, which look like they could turn out very tasty results.

Building on their great chocolate credentials, these kits only need eggs, butter, a bowl and a whisk, and shortly afterwards you could be tucking into Dark Chocolate and Salted Peanut Butter Brownies or Chocolate Chunk and Hazelnut Cookies, or even White Chocolate and Butterscotch Blondies. Maybe they’d make a gift to pack someone off to uni with, as long as you give them all the equipment, as imagine the friends they’ll make if they whip up a batch of these and share them around!

Of course, you could pack them off with a huge amount of chocolate as well and it might well have the same effect!


UPDATE: Sadly these packs are no longer available.


Which parliamentary seat is a foodie gift?


Where would you be foodie MP for?


Of course I was delighted to get back from holiday to find an election had been called. How riveting the 4 weeks will be. I’m afraid I can’t quite see the attraction of being an MP. Unless there’s good food involved.

Which got me thinking. Which is the best seat to hold from a food perspective?

I mean, my local MP, god love him, is Alan Duncan, contesting the Rutland and Melton seat. Which is not a bad seat, if you love pork pies and Stilton cheese, which I’d consider a pretty good haul. So, if I had to stand as an MP, which other seats are worth looking at from a food perspective? Here’s where I’d be voting for:

* Cornwall North – not suggesting that the MP would get any special treatment, but this does cover Padstow. Which apparently has some quite good seafood restaurants. There’s Philip Warren & Son at Launceston, butchers to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Which does seem a slight oxymoron but never mind.

* Chichester – for a prospective MP with a sweet tooth, this could be a great seat, as it includes the home of Montezuma’s chocolate. All that chocolate to work through, that would stave off the nodding off during PMQT. Or during PMT. And for a meat treat, then it has to be O’Hagan’s Sausages out at Fishbourne. And if you needed a pint to wash down the sausages, then maybe Plucking Pheasant from Gribble Brewery. Or, if they were rubbish at their job, then a pint of Pig’s Ear.

* Gower- not only beautiful surroundings, but some good food producers too. Again, may suit an MP with a sweet tooth, to partake of Gower Cottage Brownies. If they’re ok for members of the Welsh Rugby team then…! If they wanted to get a few bottles in, then I would head for Mumbles Fine Wines. Fantastic range of wines from around the world, not to mention wines from Cwm Deri, whisky from Penderyn and beer and lager from The Hurns Brewery.

* Skipton & Ripton – again, gorgeous parts of the country, and some good food to be had. It would be possible to live very well on the products emerging from Bleikers smokehouse. Trout cured with gin is not an insult about an old soak, but a very good piece of fish to have. Need a pudding? Check out good old fashioned puds from Just Puds. And proving Alan Duncan isn’t the only one with access to pork pies, then you could head over to Appletons Pie Shop.Whether you get to queue jump when you’re MP, I’m not sure.

* Bradford West – may not immediately leap to mind, but if you love curry, where better? Well, maybe one of the Leicester constituencies…but this one covers Mumtaz, which covers a restaurant and food empire, so curry for all occasions. If they don’t just want to have a fridge full of curry, then they could pop over to Keelham Hall Farm Shop and stock up on fruit and veg, meat and poultry…pretty much anything with an emphasis on local sourcing.

I think in reality pretty much every seat would have some food credentials worth representing, which is testament to the growth in artisanal and local food production around the UK. It also makes it worthwhile to ask your candidates where they stand on food issues and fair deals for our farmers.

Polling station photo by secretlondon123 over on Flickr.


Quick roundup of foodie gift offers


Not how I want to do my bargain hunting! There are other ways to get great gifts for food lovers


Just a quick one to highlight some offers from good online retailers for foodie gifts, for someone else or yourself! There’s quite a lot of chocolate offers around, particularly useful to get organised ready for Easter. Here you go:

* Get 10% off at Chocolate Trading Co on Easter goodies with code Easter10, which is valid through till 30 April. Check out the skateboarding chocolate bunny and the chocolate filled hens eggs.

* One of my favourite (and there are a few) chocolate companies, Montezuma’s are offering free postage when you spend over £30 between now and midnight on Friday 19th March, with code CHEEKY688. It has to be Monster Bunnies and a Radical Stack, please!

* Definitely a case of one for them and one for you with Thorntons, as there is a free gift of a 400g box of Continental chocolates when you spend £15 or more. Build up your £15 spend, add the box of chocs (product code 3054) and then add code EST1 at checkout. Offer ends March 21st. Go on, make all the kids, big and small, happy and order them in their own personalised eggs. There’s everything from dark to white chocolate, so every taste should be covered.

* A quick one to act on, but there is free delivery from Urban Outfitters at the moment, until midnight Thursday, with orders over £50. Great for funky kitchens and unusual gifts, like the Soldier Egg Cup & Toast Cutter or the Wonder Woman apron. Come on, lets not take our food too seriously, all the time!

So, catch up quick on some bargains. Or at least some serious chocolate stockholding!

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Choice chocolate for fabulous foodies this Valentine’s Day


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!

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