Welcome to Cocoa & Heart blog!

 RSS Feed

» Listings for 2018

  1. dreamstime_l_96019182

    When do you drink Hot Chocolate? As a warm, comforting cup on a cold winter’s evening or as an afternoon treat with marshmallows on top, with friends after shopping perhaps? Whenever you drink hot chocolate and for whatever reason, I sure you feel better just from enjoying the rich, hot taste and savouring the relaxing feeling it often brings.

    But do you ever think about who discovered hot chocolate? Or how the drink in your hands and taste in your mouth has changed a lot since it was first discovered?

    It was always thought hot chocolate was first discovered and drank by the Mayan peoples of what is now Central America over 500BC. But recent research in the last year or so now puts the discovery of hot chocolate making back to at least 2,500BC and the Olmecs civilisation in Mexico.

    What we now regard as a hot, smooth and sweet beverage, would then have been much more of a cold, spicy and rougher tasting concoction.

    But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Chocolate itself comes from the seeds or beans inside the pods of the cocoa plant. The beans themselves were often dried and so highly prized that they were stored and used as a form of currency.

  2. golden-69463_1280

    Giving Chocolate Coins for Christmas is a seasonal festive tradition. But what exactly is its origins and what form has it taken over the ages? As a child, I can remember receiving wrapped up shiny and glistening coins in my Christmas stocking. The temptation was always to bite them before unwrapping them. Big mistake!

    Unwrapping the giant coins was always harder than it seemed as well. Maybe, my eager hands were all festive fingers and thumbs. Or perhaps, I tried to heed my Mum’s instructions to look after the wrapper. I doubt Mum’s entreaties to keep the nice shiny paper, had much effort on my as I picked away furiously at the silver foil paper to get to the milk chocolate inside. Either way, the coin itself was probably a sticky mess long before I actually got round to eating it.

  3. Hot chocolate drink

    - THE CHOCOLATE EDIT -

    As the orange glow from pumpkins starts to fade and the crackle from fireworks fizzles into the autumnal night, we’re left with the long run up to Christmas. For some, particularly the young, it’s a magical time of amazement and excitement. For others, especially parents, the old tricks have all been seen before and it’ll take more than a sleight of Santa’s hand to convince us that there’s anything new to look forward to this year.

    Therein lies the perennial Christmas conundrum. So much of our memories hark back to a Victorian imagined past. One of stockings being hung by the fire, chestnuts roasting beneath while it’s snowing outside. Most of us don’t have fires, don’t eat chestnuts and how much money have the bookies made taking bets every year on a White Christmas?

  4. Various Whole Grain Flatbread Crackers and Chrispbreads

    Do you think that healthy food is boring? Not very interesting? Or even bland?

    That's what I thought and certainly back in the 80s when I was growing up, healthy food either wasn't available or when it was, it tasted like dry cardboard.

    A lot of things have changed since then, so when I recently had the opportunity to work on a Healthy Business Retreat with my friend Claire, I was very happy to be introduced to a whole range of tasty treats. And I'm glad to say that healthy food can indeed be very tasty!

  5. Chocolate Truffle Hearts

    - THE CHOCOLATE EDIT -

    We get booked to give demonstration to a wide range of clubs and associations. And it’s always nice to be invited back. Last year we travelled to Colchester to give a chocolate truffle demonstration to – a Koi Carp club. Of course, to enter into the spirt of things, Magdalena prepared some special fish chocolate moulds, coloured to resemble a carp. The fish moulds – and the demo went down well, as did the other samples and we enjoyed meeting the members. We all talked a lot about chocolate, particularly during the specialist taste testings of premium dark and milk chocolate from around the world.

  6. DSC_0640

    - THE CHOCOLATE EDIT -

    Giving talks, demonstrations, workshops and parties about how to make chocolate takes us all round the Home Counties. From the estuaries of Essex to the historic Kent and Sussex coastline, with the Weald and the Downs in between. We’ve pitched up in villages little more than a dot on the map. And other places without a direct sat nav reference at all.

    ‘Follow the path round to the left and by the second tree, next to the barn, open the gate and turn right downhill through the woods for half a mile’ pretty much sums up some instructions to get to our final destination.

    On one occasion, we met the bride for a hen party chocolate booking outside a rural village hall, only to find that the caretaker was nowhere to be seen and only he had the key to the building. We could have waited until the nearby cows had come home and he still wouldn’t have turned up. Fast forward to a rapid re-think and Plan B. Holding the party in one of the static holiday caravans that the guests were staying in.