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Christmas is a magical time for everyone but for the children, it’s especially magical. School is out, snow is falling, and presents are unwrapped under a beautifully decorated tree with loved ones. The most important memories are developed during childhood, so it is key to make the holidays special for them. Tradition is taught early on and it sticks with children for years to come. They learn of old family traditions, like bringing out an old family heirloom to hang on the Christmas tree, baking Christmas cookies, or decorating the house, especially hanging Christmas stockings.teatssc1000021391_-00_mars-and-friends-medium-selection-box-181g

teatssc1000015115_-00_cadbury-selection-pack-medium-81g_1Now, about those stockings: they’re usually left empty right up until Christmas, when they’re filled to the brim with goodies and toys! For children, sweets are a big deal, so when shopping for their stockings this holiday season, why not try a candy tube like Maltesers, Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles, Pink Smarties, or Cadbury Buttons? They’re narrow enough to fit in the stocking and no one will ever see them! Candy tubes are popular during the holidays in the UK and nearly every confection company makes them!

Another popular candy creation in the UK are selection boxes. They range from small to large and they come with all sorts of chocolate. Milkybar and Galaxy also make variously sized selection boxes if you or your loved one fancies these more. Each box comes with a preselected mix of candy bars loved by fans. The hardest part is which one to eat first!

Now I know candy is not entirely good for children, but it’s the holidays and they only come once a year! Let them enjoy themselves before they go back to school and homework!

-CD

 

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Thanksgiving is here and you probably have a lot on your plate already. Who is coming to dinner? Should I bring out the good china? What kind of snacks should I serve? Fear not, here are just a few ideas on how to spruce up your Thanksgiving!

Snacks: Before the big meal of turkey and stuffing, everyone is always looking for something to nibble on. If you have guests, it’s sometimes best to have a small spread for everyone to munch on,teatssc1000025103_-00_jacobs-mini-twiglets-caddy-7-05oz-200g_1 just to tide them over until dinner. That’s when you break out the cheese and crackers. Most people love cheese and it can go very fast, especially with some Jacob’s Biscuits for cheese. The best cheeses to try these savory biscuits with would be brie, English cheddar, or even your own special cheese dip. These go with just about anything and they’re well worth it! Another savory snack that is a hit among snackers are the Twiglets. These crunchy little sticks are Marmite flavored, so some may love them, and some may not but they do cause some conversation at the snack table.

teatssc1000015134_-00_mcvities-biscuits-victoria-carton-10-58oz-300g_1Cookies: If your guests fancy cookies as much as crackers, then cookie varieties are a must! McVitie’s makes a variety box called Family Circle which features some of their best cookies (like digestives, bourbon creams, and jammy cookies) all in one box so there’s something for everyone! Or more in the mood for chocolate? Try the Victoria selection box. There’s lots of chocolatey cookies in this beautiful box but be careful, this could be gone very quickly!

Tea: If you plan to serve tea at your Thanksgiving feast, it may be a bit hard sometimes as you may not know what type of tea to serve since there are guests who have different preferences. Luckily, there are English Tea Store Samplers, which provide everyone a type and flavor for everyone. Not sure which sampler? There’s the Tea for Any Occasion. Perfect for parties, dinners, or desserts, it’s literally perfect for any time! This loose leaf sampler includes Pumpkin Spice, Godiva Roche, English Breakfast 2, and along with 5 other teas.

What are some of your favorite things to serve at a Thanksgiving dinner? Any ideas of your own? Let us know!

-CD

 

 

Don’t know what to get for your tea lover or sweet-eating sweetheart? With Valentine’s Day already here, I have a few picks here that will surprise and wow your sweetheart.

For Valentine’s this year, I gave my sweetie some English Tea Store matcha powder. Since he works at a coffee shop, one of his favorite things is matcha green tea. Very smooth and fine, this powder is very versatile. He admitted that he didn’t think he made it right the first time, so researched it for him and saw that there are directions and various ways to use it right on the ETS page. My fiance wanted to make a green tea matcha latte, so I found these directions:

Use 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) per 8 ounce (225 milliliter) serving. Add 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) to base of cup and add 2 ounces of hot water & mix vigorously to make a smooth paste-like liquid. Top with freshly steamed milk (or substitute like soy) and sweeten to taste. Maple syrup or honey are good sweetener suggestions.

There are also the traditional green tea ceremony style method and to make an iced green tea latte.

Wonka Randoms

Wonka Randoms

British Randoms 2

Roundtree Randoms

Along with the matcha powder, I also gave the fiance some Rowntree’s Randoms. One of my favorite things from English Tea Store, I knew I HAD to send him some of these! Now, these sweets are very different. It is an endless gummy variety. Each pack is different, so you never know what you will get. You may get a smiley face or even a tractor! The first item I ever got when I had my first pack was, ironically, a teapot! There is an American version made by Wonka but it does not have blackcurrant flavor (boo!) nor the foamy sweets! I love the Rowntree’s version because the foamy sweets! British RandomsThey are incredibly different from what I’m used to. It’s like a marshmallow but much sturdier. These are pastel colored and they come in shapes like a padlock or an ice cream cone. You will have lots of fun eating these!

Wonka RandomsI was lucky to receive a box of Cadbury Roses from my sweetheart, and these are the kind of Roses I prefer! Like Cadbury Heroes, it’s a variety box but unlike Heroes, Roses has a very unique variety of sweets. I was surprised to find not ALL the sweets in this box are Rose shaped. Instead, there are various shapes and sizes, not to mention flavors, ranging from the standard Rose truffle, Hazelnut Whirl, and even a surprise favorite, Strawberry Dream! Each sweet is individually wrapped in brightly colored paper. The next time someone asks you what kind of Roses you want for Valentine’s Day (or whenever, really), ask for Cadbury Roses.

~CD

Editor’s Note – I also prefer the Rowntrees for the same reasons. Foamy, blackcurrent.

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by English Tea Store.

With St. Valentine’s day approaching I thought you might like to try some sweets.  These are so easy to make but look good especially if given as a present in a nice box.  You will need:

2 medium eggs (whites only)
1 lb icing sugar
a few drops of peppermint oil
green food colouring (optional)

This is a basic fondant mixture and you can leave them as they are or cover some with chocolate, in which case you will also need a bar of chocolate!

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

Beat the egg whites with a hand or electric mixer then add the sieved icing sugar gradually; when the paste becomes too stiff to use a mixer, change to a wooden spoon.  Add about three drops of peppermint oil and knead well in with your hands.  I decided to make some green ones too so I divided the mixture and added a few drops of green colouring into about one third of the paste.  Taste your paste and if necessary add more peppermint oil. Roll out on an icing-sugar-sprinkled table to about a quarter inch thick, and cut rounds with a very small cutter (heart shaped one if you have one!). Dip the cutter into some icing sugar  between each cutting. Leave somewhere cool to harden. When crisp on the outside cover some with chocolate and leave them to set on an oiled tray. It is a messy job to coat with chocolate but when it is done you can lick your fingers! These go very well with champagne but equally well with a light fruit  or mint tea. They keep quite a long time in an airtight tin and this should make about 24.

The egg yolks can be used to make an egg custard, recipe for that coming this spring!

~JB

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

When my dentist was pregnant she craved sweet things and I made her a Mars Bar cake which she loved but banned me from making it unless she was pregnant.  To say this is fattening is a bit of an under-statement.

You will need 3 Mars bars

150 g (1 1/2 stick) butter

150 g (6 cups) Rice Crispies or corn flakes if you cannot buy rice crispies.

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(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

250 g (9 oz) Cadbury’s milk chocolate.
Melt the three Mars bars with the butter either over heat or in a microwave then add the rice crispies and combine well.  Spread the mixture into a shallow tin and refrigerate until set ( a few hours will suffice)  Melt the chocolate and use it to cover the whole cake, cut into pieces whilst still warm and allow to cool before trying to eat it!

~JB

This time of year a confectionary staple appears magically by the ton on store shelves: candy corn. It’s been around since the 1880’s and for some people is a treat not to be missed. For others, though, the very mention of those two little words “candy” and “corn” said together as a single entity sends chills down their spines and a wave of queasiness through their insides. It also tends to spark the Great Candy Corn Debate.

Nothing says Autumn like candy corn — or does it? (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Nothing says Autumn like candy corn — or does it? (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

As with many debates, a lot of emotions are stirred, with each side declaring the other to be scallywags, blackguards, and downright knaves for holding their views in such complete opposition.

Those who hate candy corn seem to do so with such gusto and a great passionate revulsion, just as many would react to something truly horrid such as an oversteeped Chun Mee green tea or milk in their cup of hot Silver Needle tea. They say things like this (actual comments made by real anti-candy cornists):

  • “Dentists have made a lot of money off candy corn cavities.”
  • “candy corn is awful. i have always hated it. i would rather eat chalk.”
  • “As children, my older sister loved candy corn and I could never figure out the appeal.”
  • “I don’t like candy corn either. I never thought there was much to it just sugary wax.”
  • “It makes an excellent projectile…”
  • “I question the origin of people who eat it. I feel like they might just be from outer space. Seriously.”

Those who love candy corn often got hooked on it as kids and say that they eagerly look forward to this treat reappearing in stores when October rolls around once more. They also say things like this (actual comments made by real pro-candy cornists):

  • “Well, its a tradition. I only feel like eating candy corn in the month of October… it just makes me feel in place.”
  • “…candy corn is a Halloween tradition or I should say institution!”
  • “I admit, I do like candy corn, but only this time of year. Yes, it is sickly sweet, but for me it is like a comforting, return-to-my-childhood Halloween custom.”
  • “I like candy corn but, like anything, in moderation.”

The moderation thing was a common theme, as was the claim that, like fruit cakes, all candy corn was made decades ago and keeps getting passed around, growing increasingly stale. Not true for either item, as those of us who like fruit cakes and/or candy corn can attest. Of course, such stories make great fodder for stand-up comedians like Lewis Black.

Being in the “like” camp, I just had to buy a bag, but went for the mix that includes candy pumpkins in addition to the corn. Time to steep up some tea, grab a cuppa and that bag of sweet treats, and find a nice quiet corner with plenty of solitude.

Oh, to those of you who don’t like candy corn I say, “Thanks! More for me!”

See also:
Tea and Candy Corn

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

There are few things that I enjoy more than hunting for Easter treats, particularly when the treats include a little (or a lot) of chocolate. Even better is when the treats are something that I can’t get at my corner grocery store, but are best classified as a “special delivery”. Fortunately for those of us in the United States, Easter Bunny doesn’t have to hop too far to get his paws on some Cadbury candies, imported from the United Kingdom by the English Tea Store.

Now many of you are probably thinking that I’m being silly: Most grocery stores in the United States have plenty of Cadbury products (including those marvelous Cadbury cream eggs with the yellow yolks). This is true, you can get Cadbury candies in the United States.

But they aren’t the same as those you get in Great Britain.

Most of the Cadbury chocolates sold in the United States are actually manufactured here by Hershey’s. If you want the same Cadbury chocolates that folks in the UK get, you have to either visit the UK or source them from a store that specializes in British imports. Many people, including myself, notice a real difference between Cadbury chocolates made in the UK and those made over here. While everyone’s tastes are different, I personally prefer the UK versions.

So what does the English Tea Store have for you to try? Well, in addition to the classic Cadbury egg, you can also try the wonderful and buttery Cadbury caramel-filled egg. Another great option is the Cadbury Flake egg set, which includes a large hollow egg, and three “Flake” bars, which are crumbly textured little chocolate logs, unlike anything sold here in the United States, strangely addictive, and great on ice cream. If you like a bit of crunch with your chocolate, try the Cadbury Mini Eggs, which are small chocolate eggs covered in a hard shell.

Now if you are thinking about what tea you want to drink in order to wash down your Cadbury candy, here are a few suggestions:  Keemun Panda is a strong, smokey blend that is a good foil to sweet chocolate. Another option would be a stout Assam, which can usually stand up to just about anything. On the other hand, if you get some warm weather at Eastertime, try Nonsuch Estate Nilgiri as an iced tea: Rich, clean tasting and resistant to getting cloudy, Nonsuch Estate produces one of the best “iced-tea teas” around.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Store shelves are burgeoning with enough candy to keep an army of trick-or-treaters well-sated until next Spring. Even so, I’ve decided to take a different approach this year. The key item in this plan, and its inspiration, is a handy product called T-sacs!

Tearooms across the country and indeed around the world use T-sacs to serve up their fine loose leaf teas in a manner that avoids needing to strain the liquid. They fill the sacs with the tea and then steep it. However, these cleverly made little sacks have other possibilities. One is perfect for satisfying those bell-ringers in their “frightful” costumes on Halloween Eve.

Go ahead and buy those bags of candy from the stores. Then, line up rows of T-sacs (they come in four sizes, so you can choose how generous you want to be). Next, dump the contents of all the candy bags into a big bowl and then divvy up the items between the T-sacs. Try to make them pretty even between the candies with chocolate and those without chocolate. As a kid, I always preferred the chocolate candies, like Three Musketeers, Hershey’s kisses, and anything from Nestlé, and would be very disappointed by those gummy things that stuck in my teeth if I chewed instead of just sucking on them like a lozenge for hours and hours. Peanut butter kisses weren’t quite as bad. Still, chocolate…  Anyway, be good to those trick-or-treaters by making sure each sack has at least one chocolate item in it.

Once they’re full, be sure to close each bag securely. You could use tape, staples, or paperclips. However, if you’re like me with my “pioneer spirit” of saving such things as twist ties (among many other things) for times like this, you’ll have plenty on hand to use to close up those goodie bags.

There are other options for filling those T-sacs. You could include a few “surprises” like little plastic spiders, rubber eyeballs, or…hm…maybe not. Some of the younger kids might be too frightened or not understand that they’re not supposed to eat rubber eyeballs.

If you are going to have an adults only Halloween party, you could use these T-sacs to make party favors for your guests. The sky is the limit here. Fill them with kitschy little items like the fake spiders and eyeballs. Load ’em up with M&M’s, gumballs, or similar items. Of course, you could always fill them with — here’s a novel idea — TEA! If you’re like Madam Potts and like to blend your own, this is a great opportunity for your party guests to try out the latest “mad mixture”! If you opt for something like potpourri instead, you might want to label the T-sacs as such, just in case they try to infuse the contents and drink the resulting liquid. Ew!

So, now you know. The “T” in T-sacs really stands for “treats.” Hope this has started your imagination working on the many possibilities not only of these little paper sacks but of how to present treats to this year’s round of doorbell ringers. Enjoy!

For more wonderful tea ideas, stop by Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!

As noted previously in these pages, there’s some evidence to show that tea might an aid to better dental health, as well as oral health in general. It’s even come to the point now that green tea extract is a key ingredient in a line of mouthwash, toothpaste and other dental care products.

At the other extreme are products which employ tea blended with your teeth’s nemesis – sugar – to make various concoctions. One of the most popular of these is sweet tea, a sugary iced variety that is pretty much an institution in the southern United States. But those who prefer their sweet tea in solid form can turn to a variety of tea-based candies and confections.

It probably makes good sense to combine tea with chocolate, as some candy makers have already discovered. For more on this notion refer to this six-part series of reviews at The Tea Pages blog. An assortment of lucky reviewers took a look at tea-flavored chocolates from six companies – Charles Chocolates, Chocolate Springs, Dolfin Chocolat, Smile Chocolatiers, Starbucks and The Tea Room.

If Green Tea Truffles pique your interest, you can whip up a batch using this recipe from RecipeZaar. Or you can simply order some from Torn Ranch, a gourmet specialty foods merchant who offer an interesting assortment of tea-infused chocolates, truffles and cookies. For more on the tasty connection between tea and chocolate, take a look at this article.

If you guessed that chocolate is not the only sweet treat that can be improved by the addition of tea, give yourself a gold star. If you like hard candies you could sample Ten Ren’s black, green, jasmine and oolong tea-flavored varieties, as well as an assortment of other tea-infused treats. There’s also Bali’s Best Tea Candy, which is available in Classic Iced Tea and Green Tea Latte flavors. Read a review of it here.

Or you could try Verithe’s fancy Tea Candy Lollipops. As the manufacturer notes, they are “made from the finest tea from an Asian garden and paired with a organic rosemary stick grown on a specialty farm in Northern California.”

By Ashley Horne

We’ve all heard of the Cadbury bunny – an adorable little rabbit that delivers decadent sweets – but what’s the story behind our furry little friend and the company that created him?

Cabdury Dairy Milk Bars

The Cadbury Candy Company was founded in 1824 in Birmingham, England, by John Cadbury, a Quaker. Surprisingly, the company did not originally sell candy. In fact, Mr. Cadbury sold coffee and tea based products. Over the years, his sales began to include other products such as hops, mustard, cocoa and drinking chocolate.

By 1842, the company was selling nearly 30 cocoa and chocolate based drinks. Despite this, it was not until the 1860’s that the company began to manufacture cocoa essence in a manner in which eating chocolate could be more easily made. In 1899, the company produced its first milk chocolate.

With great success, the company expanded operations to other countries including Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa between 1900 and 1940. In addition, the company acquired JS Fry & Sons of Bristol in 1919. This acquisition brought with it a wide range of chocolate products. Chocolate products were considered essential for soldiers and civilians and were rationed through the war years and until 1952. Even during these difficult times Cadbury continued its growth and even opened a facility in India in 1949.

The same success has continued for Cadbury. Growth has been seen over the past several decades. The company has continued to acquire smaller confectioners and has also merged with others. The company has been publicly exchanged on the London Stock Exchange since 1969 and the Melbourne Stock Exchange in Australia since 1989.

Today, the company is in pursuit of the title of biggest and best confectionery in the world. To help earn that reputation, Cadbury is going to be the official treat provider for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games which will be held in London.

And what about our furry friend? The first  ad campaign was launched in 1982 in North America. These ads used the slogan, “No bunny knows Easter better than him,” and featured mainly Flemish Giant rabbits. In Crème Egg ads viewers were shown a small white rabbit who clucks like a chicken. Caramel egg ads used a larger, gold-colored rabbit which also clucked. Finally, a large brown rabbit was used for chocolate egg ads. This rabbit clucks, but in a deep a voice. These ever popular ads worked wonders for brand recognition!

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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