Tag: hot chocolate

Catering, Fun Story

Hot Chocolate, Our Two Challengers

20 April 2021

One of our most popular options, especially in the winter months, is hot chocolate. Drinking chocolate, cocoa, call it what you will. That lovely dark smooth chocolate drink. We offer two options for the type of chocolate we use so we are going to look at the choices. First thought lets take a quick look at the history of the drink.

History

Evidence suggests that the Mayan civilisation was consuming chocolate as far back as 500B.C., and may well have predated that. The drink of that time was served cold, by grounding cocoa seeds into a paste and mixing it with water, cornmeal, chilli peppers and other ingredients. It would be poured back and forwards between containers to develop a thick foam.

At that time, sugar wasn’t present in the Americas, so the drink would have been rather bitter. Vanilla and other spices were added to offset this.

Europeans didn’t come into contact with the drink until 1502, on the fourth voyage of columbus. When Cortes defeated the Aztecs he demanded their valuables. These included cocoa beans and the equipment to make drinking chocolate, bringing them back to Spain in 1528. The drink gained popularity, with cocoa even being given as part of the cowry when members of the Spanish Royal family married other European royals.

Beans From A Cacao Plant
Beans From A Cacao Plant

Sweet Chocolate

When sugar was eventually added it created the drink we know today. It became a luxury item with the first chocolate houses (like a modern day coffee shop) charging upto 75 pence in 1657. The equivalent of upto £65 a cup nowadays. The great Samuel Pepys wrote about consuming drinking chocolate after the coronation of Charles II in 1661. Ostensibly to settle his stomach.

Coenraad Johannes van Houten

This Dutch gentleman developed a cocoa powder producing machine in the Netherlands. It separated the greasy cocoa butter from the seeds, leaving a pure chocolate powder behind. This was much easier to stir into hot milk or water. It also led to the discovery of solid chocolate.

Nowadays it is widely consumed throughout the world. The Americans drinking a rather thin instant version compared to the thicker European brew. Spain and Italy are noteworthy in adding cornstarch to produce an extremely thick drink. It is a traditional accompaniment to the SPanish dessert of Churros.

So what hot chocolate’s do we use?

Cadbury’s Hot Chocolate

Easily the U.K.’s most popular drinking chocolate, and for good reason, it just tastes so good. John Cadbury opened a grocers store in Birmingham in 1824. A Quaker, he felt that tea, coffee and drinking chocolate’s were a healthy alternative to alcohol.

By 1824, he was producing 16 different varieties of hot chocolate, available as both a powder or a pressed cake.

1906 saw the creation of Bournville Cocoa, made from adding carbonate of potash to the cocoa mix, it created a slightly less bitter drink.

Today we use the classic Cadburys drinking chocolate, made with hot milk (the water version just doesn’t do it for us), and it is easily our most booked service. For weddings and other special events we add Baileys Cream, creating a delightful alcoholic concoction that is oh so smooth.

Early Cadbury's Advert For Hot Chocolate
Early Cadbury’s Advert For Hot Chocolate

Charbonnel Et Walker

A certain Mme Virginie Eugenie Charbonnel, from the esteemed Maison Boissier chocolate house in Paris. Set up shop with Mrs Minnie Walker to open a shop in Bond Street Mayfair in 1875 with the encouragement of Edward VII. Their original shop was branded Parisian Confectioners and Bon Bon Manufacturers.

Their drinking chocolate is sold as chocolate flakes rather than powder. It doesn’t mix into milk as well as the Cadbury’s offering, so we tend to use hot water to create a thick chocolate sludge then mix this into the hot milk.

It is a fabulous chocolate, but more of an acquired taste containing a darker chocolate than others. Almost everyone has drunk and enjoyed Cadburys hot chocolate, and the different taste can throw their taste buds a little. Truth be told most of the people who book this option are doing so to add a touch of perceived luxury to their event.

Charbonnel Et Walker Drinking Chocolate Flakes
Charbonnel Et Walker Drinking Chocolate Flakes

So what would we recommend ?

Smoothness

Cadburys *****5

Charbonnel *****5

They are both smooth, top class options with nothing to choose between them.

Taste

Cadburys *****5

Charbonnel ****4

There isn’t anything wrong with the CHarbonnel, and no doubt some will prefer it, but Cadbury’s is the classic taste that most people recognise as THE hot chocolate.

Ease Of Use

Cadburys *****5

Charbonnel ****4

Cadburys mixes into the hot milk with ease. Charbonnel flakes need to be mixed with hot water to create a paste that is mixed into the milk.

Overall

Cadburys 15/15

Charbonnel 13/15

They are both great drinking chocolate. Rich, creamy and smooth. But honestly, if we had to choose one it would be the classic Cadburys offering. It tastes easily as good as any other chocolate out there, and it is still what most people expect hot chocolate to taste like.

Sources;

Cadburys https://www.cadbury.co.uk/products/cadbury-drinking-chocolate-11360

Charbonnel Et Walker https://charbonnel.co.uk/

The Spruce Eats https://www.thespruceeats.com/the-history-of-hot-chocolate-764463

Catering, Event Planning, Fun Story

Street Food Carts For Your Event

20 January 2021

We have had the same range of carts for quite a period now for everything from street food carts to weddings. Heck, we average over 500 events a year, so obviously they are popular. Why change when it works?

Thing is during the lockdown, we have had that rare luxury, time. We began looking at many of our competitors, and realised that they are doing things we are not. What is more galling is the knowledge that at one time, we would have been doing them first.

Because of this we have designed and produced a range of removable panels that totally alter the styling of many of our ranges of carts and bar sections.

No1 daughter has also been pestering for us to add a more quirky street food type of catering unit.

To this end we eventually did just that, it was for a series of outdoor events, where we were serving 450 jacket potatoes a day, and we felt that the extra room this design allowed us would make it easier to operate.

street food style jacket potato stall for hire
Basic Street Food Stall

Basic Street Food Option

Our first design is a bare bones, patterned plywood unit, meant to look slightly third worldy for a quirky feel.

It was used successfully for a number of the aforementioned jacket potato jobs, as well as doughnuts and hot dogs.

Sticking with the theme, the menu boards and clip art was all held on with mini cloths pegs, and the top sign stencilled with our favourite Sex Pistols font.

Rustic Style street food stall available for events.
Red Ribbed Street Food Stall

Red Ribbed Stall

Our next version was made using deep red corrugated panels, this gave a more industrial feel and was used for a number of Hot Chocolate/Hot Dog days at local schools.

Either unit can be used for any of our range of catering options. Indeed it is plenty roomy to add two or three offerings in the same stall.

Over the coming year we intend adding a number of additional options to our street food carts. So keep checking back. Or keep checking our website for more details of street food units.

Catering, Fun Story

10 Facts About Chocolate

26 October 2020

With a scientific name translating as ‘Food Of The Gods’, having been eaten for centuries and a taste loved by most people, chocolate is actually a fascinating substance.

1 Its First Shipment Was Mistaken For Sheep Poo

We might well have enjoyed the delights of chocolate earlier in this country, if it wasn’t for a case of mistaken identity. A Spanish shipment of goods was seized off the coast in the 16th century. But when they opened the sacks of cocoa beans they were mistaken for sheep poo and destroyed.

2 Chocolate, Along With Coffee, Was Once Associated With Rebellion

King Charles felt threatened by the coffee and chocolate shops in 1660’s England. It had became a drink of the intellectuals and radicals, and he felt they would be meeting to plan subversion. Spain and France didn’t have this problem as there it was reserved as a drink for the privileged.

The insurance house Lloyd’s of London, actually started in a coffee shop.

Lloyd's Of London Started In A Coffee Shop
Lloyd’s Of London Started In A Coffee Shop

3 Many Of Our Favourite Chocolate Bars Are 100 Years Old

Cadbury’s Flake, Fruit and Nut, and the crunchy bar date from the 1920’s. Mars Bar, Milky Way, KitKat, Maltesers, Aero and Smarties from the 1930’s. This was the golden era of chocolate creativity.

An interesting fact, is that the much loved Cadbury’s Cream egg, was actually a J.S. Fry’s product. It wasn’t branded Cadbury until much later.

Did You Know These Were Actually A J.S. Fry Confectionery.
Did You Know These Were Actually A J.S. Fry Confectionery.

4 Chocolate Consumption Dates Back 5000 Years

Archaeological evidence suggests that people from the Mayo-Chinchipe civilisation were ingestion cacao based products some 3000 years B.C. The Maya poeple were evidently consuming it as a drink between 250 and 850A.D. And it was very popular with the legendary Aztecs.

I suppose it was their version of quaffing champagne whilst on a day out at the races. A good cup of cocoa and a few human hearts being cut out.

Like A Day Out At The Races For The Aztecs
Like A Day Out At The Races For The Aztecs

5 White Chocolate Was Actually A Children’s Medicine

In Switzerland in the 1930’s, doctors tried to improve the health of young patients by giving them vitamin enriched milk. But the older kids thought milk babyish. The addition of cocoa butter resulted in the accidental invention of white chocolate.

6 The Claim That Chocolate Is An Aphrodisiac Is False

Damn, I always liked this one.

The Aztecs may have been the first on record to draw a link between the cocoa bean and an increase in sexual desire. Montezuma was reputed to have consumed the bean in large amounts to fuel his romantic trysts.

There are actually two chemicals in chocolate that do have an effect on sexual desire, tryptophan and phenylethylamine. The first is a building block of serotonin that sexual arousal chemical. The second a stimulant released when people fall in love.

Sadly scientists reckon that the amount in chocolate is so low as to have no discernible impact.

Chocolate As An Aphrodisiac. Or Not As It Turns Out
Chocolate As An Aphrodisiac. Or Not As It Turns Out

7 The Largest Cup Of Hot Chocolate Ever Made Was 1059.4 Gallons

It was produced to celebrate Three Kings Day and was achieved by the Municipio de Uruapan (Mexico), in Uruapan, Michoacán, Mexico. It contained 600kg of locally grown chocolate.

I bet that had enough tryptophan in to gets things rising.

8 The Most Expensive Chocolate Dessert

The Frrrozen Haute Chocolate, which costs an eye watering £12,000, was added to the menu New Yorks Serendipity 3 restaurant. Made in partnership with a luxury jeweller, the sundae uses a fine blend of 28 cocoas. Including 14 of the world’s most expensive. It is then decorated with 5 g of edible 23-carat gold, served in a goblet lined with edible gold. The base of the goblet is an 18-carat gold bracelet with 1 carat of white diamonds.

The dessert is eaten with a gold and diamond spoon, which they graciously allow you to take home.

I should bloody well think they do at the price of a small car. I would want to be spoon fed it by Heidi Klum for that price.

The Frrrozen Haute Chocolate, costing £12,000
The Frrrozen Haute Chocolate, costing £12,000

9 Melts In The Mouth

Chocolate is the only edible substance to melt around 32°C , just below normal human body temperature. That’s the reason chocolate melts in your mouth.

The scientific name given to the tree that chocolate comes from is Theobroma cacao, means “food of the gods.”

The smell of chocolate supposedly increases theta brain waves, which triggers relaxation.

Chocolate has over 600 flavor compounds, while red wine has 200, it is actually quite a complex substance.

It takes approximately 400 beans to make a single pound of chocolate.

Chocolate Melts In The Mouth. And Evidently In The Hands.
Chocolate Melts In The Mouth. And Evidently In The Hands.

10 We Offer A Range Of Hot Chocolate Carts For Your Event

From our Victorian themed wedding carts, to a horse box for those outdoor events, you can have a range of themed offerings. All with our range of delicious drinking chocolate. Choose from everyone’s favourite Cadbury’s to the upmarket Charbonnel Et Walker.

All served with cream, marshmallows, sprinkles and a range of syrups to add extra flavour.

Hot Chocolate Bar For Hire
Hot Chocolate Bar For Hire