Here at Cocoa & Heart we are a dog free house. In fact we don’t keep pets of any kind. But many of the students who come on our chocolate making courses have pets of their own. And many are proud dog lovers. Although the courses require a fair amount of concentration there’s always plenty of time for a bit of social chat and we enjoy getting to know people and what’s important to them.
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.
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!
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.
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…
Now that’s summer well and truly here and we’ve all been basking in more than two sunny days in a row, our thoughts at Cocoa & Heart turns to summer festivals.
Over the last few years, we’ve been busy at weekends with running chocolate truffle Hen Parties and chocolate children’s parties, not to mention courses and workshops. This hasn’t left much time to organise a stall at some of Kent’s best loved outdoor festivals.
But this year, we’ve been tempted back, after a few years break, to have a chocolate stall at Hever Castle’s lovely Handmade & Homegrown Festival 31 August – 2 September.