London plans for Fairtrade Fortnight

14 January 2010

posted by Sophi

Despite the inclement weather, people from all across London met last night in City Hall to share their plans for Fairtrade Fortnight 2010, themed The Big Swap. Lots of lovely resources, posters , leaflets and cute stickers are available from the Fairtrade Foundation . The focus this year is on trying to get the big tea companies to swap to Fairtrade . Traidcraft has got together with the Women’s Institute to create a natty campaign pack called ‘The Big Brew’

Everything stops for Fairtrade tea - and Sam Stern's Divine chocolate fridge cake!

Cafédirect and Divine both have sampling packs you can request if you want to run your own event, and delicious recipes you can download, for the perfect Fairtrade tea party. 

A wonderful range of events are being organised, from Mad Hatter’s Tea parties to Strictly Fairtrade Dances, events in shops, libraries, cafes and churches , and an impressive range of events for children, schools and teachers, something for everyone. We also had a session on our fabulous new website so that everyone can now confidently blog about what is going on in their area.

If you want to know more about what is happening in your borough , or you want to set up an event go to www.fairtradelondon.org.uk

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Sam Stern’s Chocolate Orange Recipe

19 October 2009

posted by Sam Stern

Sam Stern, the Teenage ChefMy self-catering flat at Uni is pretty small and basic. But every Tuesday, 12 or so mates come round for a slap-up dinner. Everyone chips in a couple of quid and we cook together. So far, we’ve had a couple of big roasts with all the trimmings, chicken curry, homemade burgers.  We’re usually eating late so pudding’s not the priority but there’s always chocolate.  To celebrate Chocolate Week, we’ll be making Chocolate Satsumas this week. They’re easy to shop for – take your choice of Divine 70% dark or milk chocolate bars and get hold of some lovely sharp tasting new season satsumas.

Here’s what to do.

Sam Sterns Chocolate Orange

  1. Buy one good Satsuma (or seedless Clementine) for each person expected.
  2. Peel.  Try to get as much of the bitter white pith off as you can but don’t go mad.
  3. Put a saucepan of water on to boil then reduce to a very gentle simmer ie the water is just about moving.
  4. Sit a bowl into the top of the pan. Don’t let it touch the water.
  5. Break up a load of Divine 70% Dark Chocolate and drop it into the bowl.  Judge how much you’ll need by making one for yourself ahead of the event.
  6. Let it melt very slowly without stirring.  Once it looks soft and malleable, take it off the bowl. Stir till creamy.
  7. Dunk one fruit at a time into the melted chocolate and turn to it’s coated. Maybe use a couple of large spoons.
  8. Sit the fruit on greaseproof paper/non-stick baking tray/foil, to set in a cool place.  Special occasion? Melt a bit of white chocolate as above to decorate/write messages.

Awesome.


Divine flies high with Virgin Atlantic

20 July 2009
Divine stand at Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse

Divine stand at Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse

Hotshot Sir Richard Branson has long appreciated giving Virgin clients classy, memorable experiences, whether they’re staying on his ultra-lux Carribean island in the British Virgin Isles or closer to home: as Virgin Atlantic flyers in Heathrow’s Terminal 3 to be precise.

David and I spent the day in the upperclass lounge, aka the Clubhouse, of Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow airport, hosting a Divine chocolate masterclass, wowing and wooing the taste buds of passengers and staff alike making knockout white chocolate & tequila truffles and plenty more Divine-style treats besides.

Virgin Atlantic planes from the outside terrace

Planes from the outside terrace

Virgin Atlantic and Divine have worked together for a number of years now.  Today our National Account Manager and trained chocolatier David and I were to host a series of Divine cookery demos throughout the day.  So we set up our stand at the end of the bar and spent the day chatting to interested passengers and staff about the company and cooking with Divine.  And of course there were plenty of samples to go round.  At various intervals during the day we demonstrated how to make truffles.  David’s very own creation, Divine White Chocolate Tequila Truffles, was a unanimous hit.  They combined melted white chocolate, cream, tequila, lime zest and juice.  After cooling in the fridge the mixture was then moulded into balls which were then dipped into a vat of melted pure 70% chocolate.  After a second dipping in the melted chocolate, the truffles were left to set.  Finally they were sprinkled with a few grains of sea salt and a little lime zest.  A Divine take on a tequila shot!!  See the full recipe here.

Tequila Truffles

Tequila Truffles

We also demonstrated how to make dark chocolate truffles – nothing more technical than making a ganache by melting Divine 70% Dark Chocolate with some double cream, using a melon scooper and your hands to roll into truffle balls and coating in Divine Cocoa Powder.

Later in the day the Virgin Atlantic kitchen gave us some strawberries so that passengers could dip them in our cauldron of melted dark chocolate (actually a rather clever tempering machine which keeps the chocolate at a steady temperature so that it remains in melted form).  David got some passengers to sample a square of the 70% bar with a few granules of sea salt – he said it really brings out the flavour of the chocolate and both myself and the passengers were really excited to learn this.  I remember now the most incredible pudding I ate at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze once – a chocolate fondant with sea salt ice cream – makes sense now!

Tempering

Tempering

A number of passengers we spoke to were returning home to the US and were delighted to learn that Divine is available to buy there as well as in the UK.  After sampling the hand-made truffles, along with some of the Divine chocolate bar and gift range, they took with them a bar of their favourite flavour and some recipe cards from David.  One passenger said “this chocolate is magical!”, another was so taken with the chocolate he asked to have a bar of each of our nine flavours there and then, and then proceeded to tap away at his iphone to find his nearest Wholefoods store in the US so that he could keep stocked up on his new favourite chocolate brand.  Passengers and staff alike were incredibly interested in the chocolatey goings-on and grateful from some Divine pre-flight action.  They were disappointed to learn that we wouldn’t be returning until October in celebration of Chocolate Week.  But we’ll be providing the Clubhouse with a regular supply of Divine Mini Bars from now onwards so they won’t be missing out altogether!

Thanks to Nikki and the team for a grand day out airside and we hope you enjoyed the demos & chocolate!  I’m looking forward to returning as David’s sous-chef for Chocolate Week in October.