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Come October, most love to say that these last three months of the year are the best. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are some of the best times for celebrating. What better way to celebrate the upcoming holidays than with chocolate and who doesn’t love chocolate? Starting with Halloween, the sweet celebrations begin. As soon as October approaches, stores begin to not only sell Halloween candy but also Christmas decorations and a few sweets. You may say it’s too early but if you live in the UK and are a fan of chocolate, then it is tradition. This is because chocolate boxes and tins go on sale, and they are some of the most anticipated sweets of the holidays.
Now these are no ordinary chocolates. These beautiful sweets are colorfully wrapped and in random shapes and sizes. Much like a box of standard chocolates, each package will tell you what to expect in each chocolate, except you can pick whichever ones you like!
Quality Street is made by Nestle, identifiable by the purple box or tub. Quality Street was created after a man named Harold Mackintosh inherited his father John’s toffee factory after his death in 1936 and Harold revolutionized Christmas chocolates. In the early days, only the wealthy could originally afford Christmas chocolates since they were made with imported ingredients but with Mackintosh’s plan to use local ingredients, it lowered the prices of his chocolate and made Christmas chocolate affordable to everyone. His invention, Quality Street, is made in the original factory from 1936. In 1988, Nestle purchased the brand and has owned it ever since. In previous holiday seasons, Nestle has released entire single serve chocolate bars devoted to favorite flavors of Quality Street (like honeycomb crunch and even chocolate green triangle). There has even been a giant strawberry! Quality Street was named after a play written by Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie, who was mostly known for writing Peter Pan.
Cadbury Roses are the Cadbury equivalent of Quality Street, launched in 1938 to compete with the main brand of Christmas chocolate. The Roses name apparently comes from “Rose Brothers”. Cadbury Roses have only 10 varieties of chocolates.
Finally, another hit among chocolate lovers is the Cadbury Heroes. This is a mixture of Cadbury favorites like Dairy Milk, Fudge, Wispa, Dairy Milk Caramel, Twirl, Eclair, and Creme Egg Twisted. The best part of this is that they are all miniatures! These “fun sized” treats come in a range of sizes from small bags, to boxes, to large tubs.
All of these wonderful sweets are delicious and are enjoyed throughout generations. Their popularity is growing throughout the world so it’s no wonder it’s gaining attention here in the States. The tradition of Christmas chocolates have been well-established with British families and now American families can create new traditions with them. Try some today. You will wonder how your holidays ever did without!
With the year nearly half over, it’s already time to think about our mothers. We owe our lives to her, so it’s a must that she deserves a lot of spoiling! Mother’s Day is celebrated in both the United States and the United Kingdom, only the UK celebrates Mother’s Day on the fourth Sunday during Lent and the US celebrates on the second Sunday in May. For more information on the history of Mother’s Day, take a peek at my post from last May.
But what to get for mum? My own mother was a fan of the Cadbury chocolate. She loved the Cadbury Dairy Milk with the Fruit and Nut. She loved it so much that she would NEVER share it with us! She had every right not to. There were six of us children who put her through so much! So every mother deserves some of her favorite things on her day. Here are a few things that are sure to please your mom (or mum).
If your mother is from the UK, some Union Jack gifts are sure to please her. If you frequently visit her at home, a Union Jack doormat is one of the best ways of expressing yourself just outside your house. Perhaps a lovely tea cosy for her best teapot when stopping by for tea? And if she loves to go shopping, a shopping bag adorned with Union Jacks to show the world that she is a Brit and proud! Another good idea is to also fill the bag with a few goodies, as well!
As always, there are many varieties of gift baskets. Nowadays, there’s a gift basket for just about anything! Ranging from relaxing spa to even tea! Pick one full of goodies out and your mom will be delighted!
However you express your love and appreciation for your mother, always do so! She’s the most important person in your life and you only get one! Spend the day with her or if you can’t, give her a call!
The temperatures are dropping and the weather will certainly begin to get frightful. Winter’s coming and it’s usually not the favorite season for most people, but if you enjoy a hot cup of tea, it’s the right time! Or if you enjoy any of the common winter food and drink, winter should be a breeze.
While the British stick to their traditional hot cuppa tea, many Americans prefer to a cup of hot chocolate (or hot cocoa), mostly because of sweet chocolate taste that we are adapted to. It’s usually made with milk or water (the instant made with water), and enjoyed with a few marshmallows or some whipped cream. Recently, some flavors have become popular along with plain hot chocolate, like cherry, mint, or even white chocolate, making it even more indulgent. Nestle and Swiss Miss are popular brands in the US but Cadbury makes their own drinking chocolate which you make with milk and is pure heaven in a cup! (Did you know that chocolate was first enjoyed in hot, liquid form?)
Not a fan of hot chocolate? Are you more of a fruit fan? Why not try a hot apple cider? It’s easy to make and it’s delicious all through Autumn and Winter and very fruity! It can be confused with hard cider which is alcoholic, but apple cider is non-alcoholic. Sometimes the hot version can be flavored with mulling spices. Traditionally, apple cider with mulled spices are enjoyed during both Autumn and Winter and are made with cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, anise, or however you fancy it. I will write more information later on mulling spices.
Along with tea, the British drink a hot malted drink called Horlick’s, which was invented by two brothers. Although they were British, Horlick’s Malted drink was actually invented in the United States in the 1800s! It was originally called “Diastoid” but was later changed to reflect the last name of the brothers, which was Horlick. Now how to make this drink is a little different. The package says to mix 3-4 teaspoons with just a bit of water and make a paste. Pour in 200ml of hot milk and enjoy! You can also make this in the microwave but pour the same amount of cold milk, microwave for 1 minute, stir, microwave for 30 more seconds, stir and enjoy!
Next time: Surviving Winter with Food!
Less than a month to go before those egg hunts and chocolate candies in egg, squirrel, bunny, and other shapes are unwrapped and gobbled. Better be sure to stock up now so there’s no shortage when that time comes!
Some of the most popular British candies for Easter are Cadbury crème eggs and their Mini Eggs, both of which are only produced around Easter. They’re so delicious, though, that they could be enjoyed all year round. The Cadbury’s Mini Eggs have a crisp sugar-coated shell and their famous Cadbury chocolate centers, and the Cadbury Crème Eggs have a thick chocolate shell with a gooey fondant crème center that looks like a real egg with a yellow “yolk” and bright “white” part. The crème eggs are now the biggest selling confectionery in the UK between New Year and Easter, selling around 200 million, and the Mini Eggs, originating in 1967, are usually sold around Christmas and Easter, but available in Canada year round.
Gift baskets with cute stuffed bunnies in them are always pleasing, too! The Bunny Fun Easter Gift Basket is a great example and includes a 12-inch Plush Bunny, a Whoppers Milk Carton, 2 Toasted chocolate covered marshmallows, Sugar coated sour patch gummy worms, Marshmallow Peeps, a cotton candy tub, edible fruit Easter grass, milk chocolate foil wrapped Easter bunny, all in a white Easter basket.
Chocolate bunnies seem as popular on both sides of “the pond” (aka the Atlantic Ocean). My siblings and I would share a large one and get into quite a row over who would get the head, which we all considered the best part. My mom wised up in subsequent years and got each of us smaller ones so we could each nibble on those ears!
Whatever your preference, keep your indulgences to a sensible level – only a dozen or so of those crème eggs at a time – hee!
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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