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Last week, SpouseMouse went to London and, on the way back, stopped by Leonidas for a box of chocolates and received a free 250g bag of their Easter eggs, given to customers who spend £20 or more.

These are so good, that it’s worth mentioning to my European readers. Even if you cannot get a free bag this year, make a note to buy a box for next Easter. In 2018, a 250g box cost £6.15 or €6.95, which, given the incredibly high quality of Leonidas chocolate and fillings, is remarkable value for money.

This page shows how many different Easter eggs they have (scroll to the bottom).

Hands down, Leonidas is the best luxury chocolate on the market — and the best value for money — in the world.

We have been fans of Leonidas for many years. Their chocolate is sublime and the fillings are uniquely unctuous. A box goes a long way, because the quality of the product is so satisfying.

I would recommend that those who enjoy chocolates from the major Belgian luxury chocolatier buy a box of Leonidas and taste for themselves. In store, the staff are accustomed to putting together customised boxes. They are also very courteous.

Leonidas is a great hostess present and all-occasion gift. Be sure to buy some for yourselves, too.

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Britons were disappointed to find out on October 27, 2014, that Cadbury (parent company Mondelēz International) are discontinuing their chocolate gold coin manufacture for Christmas.

A spokesman told The Telegraph that the coin manufacture was too

fiddly.

The Guardian reports that the man from Cadbury says ‘a separate contractor’ made them.

Hmm.

Cadbury managed to make these coins for years. They appeared like clockwork in the run-up to Christmas. They brought joy to children of all ages.

The spokesman recommended that people buy chocolate coins from other manufacturers!

He also said that the company did not think the gold coins would sell very well since they could not be made in Cadbury purple. Yet, they were always wrapped in gold, to mimic St Nicholas’s charitable gifts of coins in a bag.

I’ve written about the reformulated Cadbury chocolate before. Worryingly, you can’t even melt Dairy Milk these days.

Gold coins, stockings, secret visits and St Nicholas (Dutch diminutive being Santa Claus, or St ‘Claus) are inextricably linked to Christmas. Wikipedia gives us a few of the legends which surround this bishop and saint who attended the first Council of Nicea (emphases mine):

In his most famous exploit,[32] a poor man had three daughters but could not afford a proper dowry for them. This meant that they would remain unmarried and probably, in absence of any other possible employment, would have to become prostitutes. Hearing of the girls’ plight, Nicholas decided to help them, but being too modest to help the family in public (or to save them the humiliation of accepting charity), he went to the house under the cover of night and threw three purses (one for each daughter) filled with gold coins through the window opening into the house.

One version has him throwing one purse for three consecutive nights. Another has him throwing the purses over a period of three years, each time the night before one of the daughters comes of age. Invariably, the third time the father lies in wait, trying to discover the identity of their benefactor. In one version the father confronts the saint, only to have Saint Nicholas say it is not him he should thank, but God alone. In another version, Nicholas learns of the poor man’s plan and drops the third bag down the chimney instead; a variant holds that the daughter had washed her stockings that evening and hung them over the embers to dry, and that the bag of gold fell into the stocking.

It seems this is yet another reason, along with all the new and bizarre Dairy Milk products, to stop buying Cadbury products. They’re Cadbury only by name now. The chocolate’s no longer the same. Mondelēz (formerly Kraft) has ruined a fine English brand.

That said, chocolate coin fans have been mounting their own social media campaigns in an effort to encourage Cadbury to reconsider. It worked with the Wispa bar, they say, so why not try with the coins? If there is an update, I’ll be sure to post on it.

Churchmouse Altarmousefinal copyAs Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, here is a quick and elegant dessert to serve your loved one.

It’s a pot au chocolat but with a mocha twist.

(Photo credit: Dr Gregory Jackson of Ichabod)

These pots should chill for three to four hours before serving on the day you make them. On the second day — if there are any leftovers! — bring them to room temperature for 20 – 25 minutes, depending on how warm your kitchen is.

Top with coffee-flavoured café-crème Chantilly (recipe below) for extra indulgence. This is one to remember!

Have a happy — and memorable — Valentine’s Day!

You will need four individual portion sized ramekins (size 00) and, if making the café-crème Chantilly, an electric mixer.

Churchmouse’s Mocha Memory

(prep time: 10 – 15 minutes; chill time: 3 – 4 hours; serves 4)

Ingredients:

For the Mocha Memory —

125 ml (4 oz) heavy cream (double cream, for my UK readers)

75 ml (2 1/2 oz) whole milk

2 egg yolks (save the whites in a covered jar and refrigerate for another use)

2 – 3 tbsp caster sugar (granulated will do)

90 g (3 oz) dark chocolate (70% – 82%), roughly broken (dark chocolate chips will do); keep 10g (approx. one square) of this behind to chop more finely and divide amongst the ramekins

50 ml (1 1/2 oz) brandy (not the most expensive but must be drinkable)

1 – 1 1/2 tbsp Camp coffee syrup (or similar)

a tiny pinch of salt

For the café-crème Chantilly —

125 ml (4 oz) heavy or whipping cream (double cream, for my UK readers)

2 level tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp Camp coffee syrup (or similar)

Method:

1/ Measure the milk in a measuring jug. Add the brandy and Camp syrup to it, mixing well.

2/ Pour the milk mixture into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the cream and a tiny pinch of salt (to accentuate the chocolate). Stir well and bring to a near boil over medium heat.

3/ Whilst the milk and cream are heating, take a medium-sized bowl and place the egg yolks and sugar in it. Whisk until just blended. This does not have to be pale and creamy, just combined.

4/ Roughly chop up the reserve square of chocolate and divide the pieces evenly among the ramekins for extra texture and a pleasant surprise. If you are using chocolate chips, three per ramekin will do. You can also use one or two chocolate covered coffee beans per ramekin instead, if you like.

5/ When the milk and cream are just coming to the boil (a skin should be starting to form on top and steam should be rising from the saucepan), slowly pour the liquid onto the egg and sugar mixture, whisking all the time. Constant whisking is necessary so that the egg does not start to cook.

6/ Once the milk and cream are thoroughly mixed into the egg and sugar, pour the mix back into the saucepan to make a simple custard. This will not be a thick custard, by the way.

7/ Return the saucepan to the heat, whisking constantly to keep the egg from cooking. This should take from three to five minutes — ten minutes at most. Test the doneness of the custard by dipping a metal or wooden spoon into it. Then run a clean finger lengthwise along the back of the spoon. If your finger has left a clear line, the custard is ready. Remove it from the heat.

8/ Quickly put the chocolate pieces into the bowl that you used for the egg and sugar and slowly pour the custard over them, stirring constantly. Once they are completely combined, divide the Mocha Memory mix evenly amongst the ramekins containing the chocolate pieces (or chocolate covered coffee beans).

9/ Leave the ramekins to cool between 20 and 30 minutes on a trivet or bread board before putting them in the refrigerator. Allow them to set for three to four hours.

10/ Whilst the ramekins are setting, make the café-crème Chantilly by putting the double (or whipping) cream, sugar and Camp into a bowl. Using an electric mixer, start on a low setting until the ingredients are incorporated. Once they are, switch to a medium-high speed until the cream is nice and thick, just short of whipped butter consistency. The thicker the whipped cream is, the longer it lasts sealed in the refrigerator. The sugar also helps it keep longer.

11/ If the ramekins are very cold later on the day you filled them, take them out for 15 minutes to bring them closer to room temperature in order to accentuate the flavours. Top with the whipped cream and serve.

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2018. 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 Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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