The ‘C’ Word

Yes, unfortunately, I have to mention Christmas. It seems that fifty percent of a chocolatier’s year is focused on the festive season. This week we’ve begun preparing our Christmas stock and producing volumes of our products with the longest shelf life. Weekends really count at the moment, as the closer we get to Christmas, the less opportunity there is to get away from the business over the weekend. We’ll either be at a show, or packing collections, so we’re making the most of all our free time. Today we’re heading out to look at motorhomes. It’s a notion we’ve had for a while, as we’re getting a little tired of tenting and want a few more home comforts when we go to motorsport events. We’re in no hurry, so we’re waiting for the right one to come along before we take the plunge, but our plan is to have one in time to go to Le Mans next year. So here goes!!

Festival of Speed

We’re just back from a fanstatic trip to Goodwood. The weather has been fabulous, and we were privileged enough to be invited onto the Williams stand to get up close and personal with some of the historic Williams cars there. Of course, we had to bribe the mechanics in order to do so, so Choctails were exchanged. We also spent some time in Midhurst to avoid getting up at silly o’clock this morning, and had a great time exploring the historic market town during Saturday. Well worth a visit. This week we’ve been working on some product development and cleaning out the stock room, ready to start preparations for Christmas. Over the next few months we’ll be stocking up on all our collections ready for shows and web orders. Every year gets busier, and so every year we start sooner. Let’s get ready to rumble.

Absolut Citron

Well this week has involved a lot of catching up. Mainly on sleep and washing, but also on web orders and product development. Over the weekend we threw our doors open to Simon’s karting boys as they were at Ellough Park yesterday, and we’re mid way between the circuit and most of their home. We fed them plenty of burgers and sausages until sundown, and then brought out the party games. Well, okay, the drinking games …. We started with the home made Elderberry Schnapps and Chilli Vodka, and then introduced the Absolut Citron (at least there wasn’t much of this left as I’d been using it as part of the development of a Vodka collection). This was only going to go one way …. a full-on singalong of 70s and 80s classics. Apologies to the neighbours …. …. And all that sleep deprivation I’d caught up on …. Gone ….

24 Hours in Le Mans

Wow what a weekend!! I’ve just experienced my first live Le Mans and I will definitely be back. I’ve loved every second. We’ve been lucky to have been blessed with scorching hot weather for the duration, but I don’t think rain would have dampened our spirits in the slightest. It’s a strange thing to go to sleep listening to the sound of the cars going around the circuit, and then waking up to the same cars, still going round the circuit with over a third of the race still to run. Strangely, as we decided to head to bed, the noise on the circuit changed and we immediately realised the cars were running behind the safety car. That meant we had to switch the radio back on to find out what drama was unfolding. If you’re at all into motorsport and haven’t yet been to Le Mans, then stick it on your bucket list. It’s a must visit. So tomorrow we head home and Tuesday it’s business as usual in the Choctails kitchen.

Anniversaries and Reunions

We were lucky enough to get tickets for the 40 Years of Williams F1 celebrations last week, so spent a fantastic day at Silverstone seeing some of the classic Williams cars being driven around the circuit, including the 6-wheeler and the FW14B. Karun Chandhok was like a kid in a sweetshop when he got the opportunity to drive the latter. This weekend has been our school’s annual reunion lunch, and since it’s 30 years since we left school, we decided to get a table of us together. Somehow, we managed to be the most badly behaved group there and the celebrations continued well into the evening. We even managed to drink one of the local pubs out of both white and pink Prosecco in the space of 5 hours …. oops! We now have a rapid turnaround before we head to Le Mans on Wednesday. I’m really not sure my liver will be recovered in time ….

A Fond Farewell

This weekend we are spending the weekend in Filey. We set the date aside a while ago to scatter Dad’s ashes on Filey Brigg, which is where we scattered Mum six years ago. We’ve had a lot of run reminiscing over family holidays and enjoyed some fabulous weather, and on Saturday we managed to walk the section of the Cleveland Way from Scarborough to Filey. Last night we indulged in some Pornstar Martinis, which set my creative juices going. Watch out for a Pornstar Martini Choctail in the not too distant future.

Sniffles and Germs

Pah! Struck down with a stinky cold all week has meant that production had to be halted for the most part. Luckily the order book has been manageable, allowing me the chance to recover reasonably quickly. Frustrating that I haven’t been able to get out for a run all week – I did attempt a slow, short run, which wasn’t one of my best. Fingers crossed the germs will be gone next week so that I can get back to the kitchen.