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Category: The Chocolate Edit

  1. Raspberry Maltesers, Chocolate Hen Parties and Amazing Cakes

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    Chocolate He Party Photo

    - THE CHOCOLATE EDIT -

    Preparation is everything. That’s the oft quoted mantra. And it’s never truer than when it comes to preparing for one of Cocoa & Heart’s chocolate parties. It takes the same time to prepare for a shorter party as it does for a longer one. The most important thing to do is first print out the checklist. It’s in table form and divided into sections, such as equipment, ingredients, sundries and the like.

    I usually start with the tablecloths which need wiping and cleaning. Trays need to be sorted out and aprons ironed. Again, I take the clean in that area. I find that there’s something comforting about ironing aprons; although when you’re ironed up to twenty aprons, all with the same Cocoa & Heart logo, yes it can get a big repetitive.

    Oh yes, that assumes that they’re all clean in the first place. If not, the washing machine gets a spin. Washing – whether by hand or using the machine is a big part of preparing for a chocolate party. It goes without saying that everything needs to be spic and span. Not everything can go in the dishwasher so plastic bowls and spatulas and dipping forks and prongs are often washed by hand. My hand! And rinsed several times as chocolate and cocoa butter can leave tell tale smears and fat deposits if not carefully cleaned first. As Magdalena has reminded me more than once!

  2. The perfect job for chocoholics, Champagne Truffles and why KitKat can't be copyrighted

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    Chocolate Hug in a box detail

    - THE CHOCOLATE EDIT -

    Well, you don’t need me to tell you that the British heatwave continues virtually unabated. The newly acquired air conditioning unit is on full blast and paying for itself inside the first month. Our handmade chocolate production continues and there seems to be no let up either in the heat or the demand.

    So long as chocolate melts in people’s mouth and not before everyone seems happy. We’re preparing for a three day Festival at beautiful Hever Castle, in Kent,  starting on 31 August and before that there’s a Chocolate themed Hen party in Hailsham, East Sussex. Usually when I say that we’re in demand for Hen Parties – several of my male friends get envious and several of my female friends mention the word ‘stripper’ with what seems like a question mark at the end of the sentence. Either that or they ask what type of moulds we are using!

    As for me, I’ve stopped blushing by now. I can assure you (or disappoint some of you) that it’s all perfectly above board and tasteful – in every way. I’m always amazed at the sheer effort and creativity that goes into organising and arranging Hen Parties – whether it’s a relatively modest affair at home or a cottage specially booked for the week-end. The ladies are always keen to learn chocolate truffle techniques and experiment with different flavouring and combinations. Anything with Champagne or Baileys seems to be particularly popular. Sometimes they even say they might share one of their artistic creations with their menfolk! 

  3. Summer Heatwave, Melting Chocolate & Four Fingers Chocolate Bar

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    Large Chocolate Lego Men

    Well, you don’t need me to tell you that the British heatwave continues virtually unabated. The newly acquired air conditioning unit is on full blast and paying for itself inside the first month. Our handmade chocolate production continues and there seems to be no let up either in the heat or the demand.

    So long as chocolate melts in people’s mouth and not before everyone seems happy. We’re preparing for a three day Festival at beautiful Hever Castle, in Kent,  starting on 31 August and before that there’s a Chocolate themed Hen party in Hailsham, East Sussex. Usually when I say that we’re in demand for Hen Parties – several of my male friends get envious and several of my female friends mention the word ‘stripper’ with what seems like a question mark at the end of the sentence. Either that or they ask what type of moulds we are using!

  4. No sweet recipe for success?

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    Three Arty Chocolate Bars

    - THE CHOCOLATE EDIT -

    We’ve been busy making chocolates to order at Cocoa & Heart, but this week, we thought we’d take a more in depth look at what’s been happening in the wider world of chocolate. And one announcement in particular.

    Will less sugar be a sweet recipe for success?

    Would you change a sure-fire recipe for success? Probably not. Most of us might just play safe and stick with the old adage ‘if it aint broke don’t fix it.’

    In the dog eat dog world of big business, even a slight change in formula can have a major impact in how well the product is received by its customers.

    So, consider this.  A Dairy Milk chocolate bar with 30% less sugar will go on sale in 2019. First introduced in 1905, it’s one of the best-selling single chocolate bars nationwide and even globally and a flag ship line for manufacturers Cadburys.

  5. Dinosaurs and The Case of a Stolen Chocolate Bar

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    Dinosaurus Lollipops Detail

    - THE CHOCOLATE EDIT -

    There are dinosaurs in my kitchen!  Like many men (so we’re told) I pass in and out of my kitchen without really noticing what’s going on. I like to think I’m on a mission (seek, locate, retrieve) and don’t want to get distracted. Think shopping. However, every now and then, I do stop and stare if something succeeds in attracting my attention.

    This week two items caught my fleeting kitchen gaze. Dinosaurs! Magdalena and I saw Jurassic Park; Fallen Kingdom recently. For me, it was the first time back to the world of the terrible lizards since I watched the first Jurassic Park movie in 1993. It seems like an age away, so much has happened since, but the dinosaurs still seem timeless.

  6. World Chocolate Day, Weddings and Hazelnut Spread

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    Cocoa & Heart Chocolate Wedding Favours Ideas
    - THE CHOCOLATE EDIT -
     
    Summer is traditionally a time when many couples decide to get married. I'm sure that most brides and grooms wish for a sunny day to start of their married life today - if only for the sake of the wedding photos!
     
    So it comes as no real surprise to learn that Magdalena's been busy making chocolate wedding favours this week. The chocolate kitchen was full of hot chocolate spoons, pretty ribbons, packaging, labels and who knows that, because I'm actually not allowed to go there! This order, I was told, was commissioned by a certain London barrister, so I wasn't not surprised when I heard the 'Suits' theme tune coming out every 40 minutes or so!
  7. Chocolate Parties, Frogs and Summer Meltdown

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    Chocolate Lollipops & Party Bag

    - THE CHOCOLATE EDIT -

    And so the British heatwave continues. It must be a good three weeks since we had more than a drop of rain and in many areas the grass is parched and brown. It’s funny to be starting a chocolate blog with a comment about the weather but all this sun has an affect on more than just agriculture.

    One chocolatier announced recently that it was stopping deliveries because it couldn’t guarantee that deliveries would remain intact because of the heat. As temperature gauges shown little sign of falling, the fans have been on over drive in our kitchen during our chocolate making courses.

  8. Limited Edition Crunchy Caramel M&Ms & Hall Place Christmas Fair

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    Chocolate Shoe with modern design

    - THE CHOCOLATE EDIT -

    What's been happening this week at Cocoa & Heart?

    We are booked for our 2 biggest shows this year and you can see us at Hever Castle (Friday 31 August to Sunday 2 September) & Hall Place, Bexley, South East London (17 & 18 November). Entrance is free to the Hall Place fair, but you'd need to get a normal castle tickets to access the Hever Castle fair (there is no extra charge for the fair itself).

    We are very fond of Hall Place Fair, as it was our first ever fair we did about 18 years ago. Back then the fair was in the summer and was run by a local Bexley Art Council. Few years later the fair moved to autumn and become more Christmas orientated. Hall Place is a little gem, with beautiful gardens, butterfly house and regular exhibitions focused on local history and art. Inside there are number of rooms, some magnificently large, like the Great Hall or the White gallery upstairs and lovely snug rooms with medieval wooden panelling. Over the years our chocolate stall was in pretty much all the different rooms, which is fun as it always challenges us to create a different display depending on how our stall is possitioned. Boring stuff asside, the most important thing is that there will be over 60 stalls all offering amazing array of gifts, treats and festive decorations, which means you can do your Christmas shopping in one day - all local (and support an independent businesses at the same time). 

    So, planning is already under way for new products and chocolate treats. Watch this space for more details…