Chocolate, Cocktails and Christmas

Christmas seems to have crept up on me this year – but it’s a little like the Tesco Christmas advert…what starts off as a panic soon turns into excitement. I think we can all agree we need a little Christmas magic more than ever this year!

So, the Christmas lights switch on in Winchester came at just the right time. Winchester is always a beautiful sight but the high street really does look extra special in the build up to Christmas with the lights twinkling away.

After taking in the lights, my sister and I were lucky enough to have tickets to the perfect event to keep the festive feeling alive. We came in out of the cold to Winchester’s cosy little chocolate shop, Chococo, for an evening of special cocktails and sweet treats.

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Chococo-Late was a joint adventure from the Cabinet Rooms and Chococo and what a collaboration it was! Cocktail expertise and chocolate flavours were combined, with just a hint of Christmas thrown too.

menu

A warm mulled pear & ginger cocktail made with Gosling’s rum was my first tipple of the evening and it truly was Christmas in a cup! I also enjoyed the Chococo Russian and the Sublime Moment – both were beautifully presented and absolutely delicious.

buttons

We tucked into Chococo’s milk, dark and white chocolate buttons as well as a warm chocolate brownie with cappuccino ice cream.  A decadent deluxe hot chocolate featuring cream, marshmallows and chocolate malt balls, also went down well on our table. We didn’t quite have room for the chocolate fondue on the menu but saw another table enjoying this and thought it looked amazing.

We left feeling warm, cosy and full of chocolate…but best of all, brimming with festive cheer. The countdown to Christmas has begun!

Thank you to the Cabinet Rooms and Chococo Winchester for a lovely evening. You can find out more about the brilliant foodie events from the Cabinet Rooms on their website.

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Anticipating Alpine Adventures

It’s that time of year again when I’m looking forward to heading off to The Alps for some skiing and some good eating and drinking too! This year I’m excited to be visiting to Switzerland, here’s what I’m looking forward too the most…

Cheese for Breakfast!

Why is this only a thing in Europe? We just don’t do cheese for breakfast over here do we? So I’m looking forward to hotel breakfasts featuring cheese and croissants.

Fondue

fondue

There I go with the cheese again (although more often than not I’m out voted and end up with a meat fondue). This year, I’m insistent that a delicious pot of molten cheese is happening!

Rösti

rosti

A traditional Swiss Rösti is top of my list for lunch. It’s carb-a-licious, being made mostly from potatoes, it’s hearty and delicious too though and I can’t wait for my first plateful this year.

Gluhwein

fluhwein

Christmas may be over, but the hot spiced wine drinking doesn’t have to be. I actually feel like I didn’t drink enough mulled wine this Christmas (very poor effort!) – so I’ll be making up for lost time and enjoying a traditional Guhwein or two when I can.

Hot Chocolate

It just tastes better out in the cold, surrounded by snowy mountains. Comforting sweetness, the smell of cocoa and breathtaking views…a hot chocolate on the slopes is high on the list of simple pleasures on a ski holiday.

Tartiflette

tartiflette

Possibly more French than Swiss, I’m not 100% sure on its origins but am sure it’s 100% divine. This cheesy, potato filled dish is pure heaven and I hope to tuck into some soon.

Have I made you hungry? The cold conditions in England right now make all of the above dishes totally appropriate to enjoy at home too I think…

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Festive Foodie Highlights

Well, Christmas is over but we’re still in that cosy in-between bit where it’s perfectly acceptable to eat above average levels of chocolate and/or cheese each day until New Year. I love it really, it’s like a final chance to consume all the Christmas goodies as well as enjoy any foodie gifts.

I was blessed with some beautiful gifts…many of them centred on food and tea of course! From beautiful flowering green tea to cheese accessories, gorgeous glassware, a soup set, a huge panettone and a super stocking full of all my favourite foods, I was one lucky girl this Christmas!

A few of my food themed gifts this year!

A few of my food themed gifts this year!

I did something a little different this year and spent Christmas day at the lovely Lainston House Hotel in Sparsholt, which was a lot of fun and saw plenty of food and wine consumed! Here are some of the highlights…

Lainstone House looking beautiful on Christmas Day

The driveway of Lainston House looking beautiful on Christmas Day

Potted Turbot Terrine with Caviar Dressing

A starter of Potted Turbot Terrine with Caviar Dressing

Roast turkey with chestnut and apricot stuffing and all the traditional trimmings

Roast turkey with chestnut and apricot stuffing and all the traditional trimmings

Christmas Pudding with rum custard and brandy butter

Christmas Pudding with rum custard and brandy butter

A few festive tipples later

A few festive tipples later

There were five courses of festive food in total, and whilst nothing will ever quite compare to my dad’s good old roast dinner, I have to say that Lainston House did a pretty great job of everything! We were even lucky enough to get a visit from Santa Clause himself, who gave us all a little present…

My gift from Father Christmas! Nice to see Santa giving locally sourced gifts

My gift of Hampshire Chutneys from Father Christmas! Nice to see Santa giving locally sourced gifts

After a quick cocktail in the beautiful wood-panelled cocktail lounge at Lainston House we were off to join family and friends for more food and drink! Laughter, festive viewing, turkey sandwiches and bubbles filled the rest of the day.

Boxing Day saw me heading to my family home for our traditional post Christmas meal of cold meats, pickles and homemade chips. You can’t beat it! I indulged in my usual ‘everything sandwich’ – consisting of chips, cold meat, stuffing and other leftovers, accompanied by various chutneys and pickles.

Later that day there were more bubbles and a traditional boxing day get together to attend. We were certainly all a little slow to start but as usual we soon got into the festive spirit of things with peach bellinis, champagne and lots of nibbles!

Festive fun!

Festive fun!

Now I’m looking forward to New Year’s Eve (and fitting into my clothes again!).

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, wishing you all the best for the New Year! xXx

The Rocky Road to Becoming a Chocolate Fan…

I’ve always maintained that I’m a savoury kind of girl…I’m far more likely to be tempted by slab of cheese than a slab of cake, and way more interested that crisps than chocolate – but just recently a little bit of chocolate love has entered my life…

It’s rocky road!

In particular I’ve been enjoying the bite-sized, cake-style pieces made by Cando Cakes that I picked up at my local village stores.  They’re simply delicious and dangerously moreish! In truth they’re a little bigger than bite-sized, guaranteeing that a bit of a mess is created when enjoying them – this only adds to the naughty indulgence I feel. I looked them up and it seems the reason they’re so good is the magical blend of Cadbury Dairy Milk, Mars Bars, Curly Wurly, Maltesers, Marshmallows, Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut and Raisins & Sultanas! What a combination!

All I can say is YUM and look you can buy them here.

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Happy Eating!