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February 4, 2013 / demarquettechoc

Valentine’s Day Traditions–How Will You Celebrate?

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’ve been doing a little research on the history and traditions surrounding the centuries-old holiday of love. Cupid, cards, candies, and hearts might be some of the images that come to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day today, but how exactly did 14th February come to be associated with romance and gift-giving?

Pure Champagne Truffles made with Dom Perignon

Pure Champagne Truffles made with Dom Perignon

Valentine’s Day is named after the Christian Saint Valentinus, or Valentine, although little is definitively known about him as a historical figure. There is more than one Saint Valentine recognized by the early church, therefore various legends about him exist. Perhaps the most well-known story claims that he was a priest imprisoned and martyred in third century Rome. Legend has it that Valentine continued to secretly marry young lovers despite a decree that outlawed marriage for soldiers. During his imprisonment, he fell in love with the jailor’s daughter and allegedly wrote a farewell letter to her before his execution signed, “From your Valentine.” This expression continues to be used in cards today.

Valentine’s Day wasn’t officially associated with love and romance until the Middle Ages when themes of unrequited love began to arise. It eventually became an occasion for lovers to express their passionate feelings, which is why it was originally celebrated with love letters, poems, and small gifts. In the 19th century, the holiday became more commercialized when hand-written notes were replaced with mass-produced printed cards. Now, according to the Greeting Card Association, Valentine’s Day is the second largest card-sending holiday (behind Christmas), with an estimated 1 billion cards sent each year. In addition to cards, exchanging gifts of chocolates and flowers is a favourite tradition in the U.K. Other countries that celebrate Valentine’s Day in a similar fashion include the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and France, however it is also celebrated a little differently in many parts of the world. Here are few unique ways other cultures celebrate the 14th of February.

  • On Valentine’s Day in South Korea, the women give chocolate to the men. Then on 14th March (White Day) the men give the women non-chocolate candies. On 14th April, those who didn’t receive a gift on Valentine’s Day or White Day go to a restaurant to eat black noodles and “mourn” their love lives (Black Day).

    Salted Caramel Valentine Hearts

    Salted Caramel Valentine Hearts

  • Valentine’s Day traditions may vary in different parts of the U.K. For example in Norfolk, a mystical character called “Jack Valentine” is known to knock on doors and leave presents and sweets for children before disappearing. Seems like a nice thing to do—but this tradition has left some children quite frightened!
  • In Slovenia, a proverb states that “Saint Valentine brings the keys of roots.” It is thought that in the middle of February the plants begin to grow, so the 14th marks the first day of work in the fields. It is also believed that this is the day when birds propose to one another and get married. This connection between love birds and Valentine’s Day is prevalent in many European cultures.

No matter if you’re celebrating with your sweetheart, your friends, or a bowl of black noodles, we wish you all a very Happy Valentine’s Day!

November 12, 2012 / demarquettechoc

Marc Demarquette awarded honorary title of ‘2012 Ambassadeur du Salon du Chocolat’ as the international chocolate show announces its London Premiere for 2013

Demarquette awarded Ambassador title for Salon du ChocolatMarc was invited to the internationally acclaimed Salon du Chocolat in Paris at the beginning of the month and enjoyed a fantastic show full of inspiration, interesting talks and a fabulous chocolate fashion show (follow this link for a great video of the fashion show by Implausible Blog). While he was there he was also awarded the honorary title of ‘2012 Ambassadeur du Salon du Chocolat’, joining a select group of only 12 renowned Chocolatiers from around the world who were given the title for their dedication to the chocolate industry and their influence and advice in shaping the world’s largest event dedicated to chocolate.

Marc Demarquette awarded prestigious Salon du Chocolat title

Chocolatier Marc Demarquette receives honorary title of 2012 Ambassadeur du Salon du Chocolat

Sylvie Douce and François Jeantet, the founders of the show presented each of the winning chocolatiers with a certifacate and thanked them in a small ceremony on the main stage of the show.

The 2012 Line up of the ‘AMBASSADEURS du Salon du Chocolat 2012’ is:
Philippe BERNARCHON (Lyon, France),
Sébastien BOUILLET (Lyon, France),
Vincent GUERLAIS (Nantes, France),
Philippe GUILBERT (Lille, France),
Thierry LALET (Bordeaux, France),
Sadaharu AOKI (Japan), 
Cédric LACROIX (Zurich, Switzerland),
Daniel BLOCH (Zurich, Switzerland),
Tomas PRENOSIL (Zurich, Switzerland),
Marc DEMARQUETTE (London, UK),
Martin HOWARD (New-York, USA), and
Denis HOUPHOUËT-BOIGNY (cocoa producing countries).

As the Salon announces its UK Premiere for Autumn 2013, we look forward to acting as a key UK spokesperson for the Salon du Chocolat in the run up to the show.

Marc said ‘I feel truly honoured that I have been recognised by the Salon du Chocolat for my passion, dedication and commitment to the chocolate industry. I look forward to working closely with the organisers of the show and my UK chocolate colleagues and friends in promoting the UK Salon du Chocolat as the premiere event for those who share my passion for this exceptional product.’

About the Salon du Chocolat
The Salon du Chocolat is the brainchild of Sylvie Douce and François Jeantet, who founded Paris’ Le Salon du Chocolat in 1994. Today, the Salon is a successful international brand with events worldwide, from New York to Bahia and Seoul to Shanghai.

With a record number of 135.141 visitors, the Salon du Chocolat Paris achieved another record year in November 2012. The Salon du Chocolat takes place in more than seven countries and has recently announced further shows in Shanghai, Moscow and its UK premiere in Autumn 2013. www.salon-du-chocolat.com

July 27, 2012 / demarquettechoc

Demarquette luxury chocolates included in Great Taste Top 50 Foods in Britain

We are very proud that our Imperial China chocolate has been named as one of the Top 50 Foods within the UK. The list was drawn up as part of the Guild of Fine Food’s annual Great Taste accreditation scheme, which saw 8,807 food and drink products blind-tasted and whittled down over the course of 45 days by 350 experts.Demarquette included in Top 50 Foods in Britain

The top 50 food and drink products were chosen from the 123 entries that had gained a coveted 3-star gold and each one has now been nominated for a Golden Fork Award, the highest accolade in fine food and drink which will be announced at the Awards’ dinner at London’s Royal Garden Hotel this September.

Judges this year included Masterchef winner and restaurateur Mat Follas, restaurant critic and Masterchef judge Charles Campion, food writers Lucas Hollweg and Xanthe Clay and over 300 food buyers from leading food halls, delicatessens and farm shops, including Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason.

Guild of Fine Food chairman Bob Farrand said that each of the food and drink products entered into Great Taste undergoes the most rigorous scrutiny.

“To achieve a 3-star grading involves at least 25 experts unanimously agreeing that the product tastes divine,” he said. “But to be included in the Top 50 Foods in Britain meant each one had to satisfy the discerning palates of a further 25 dedicated foodies. These products all deliver the most extraordinary taste.”Imperial China Luxury Chocolates by Demarquette

June 1, 2012 / demarquettechoc

The Making of the Harrods Diamond Jubilee Chocolate Crown

This June week-end marks The Queen’s 60th year on the throne. To celebrate, Harrods have invited Chocolatier Marc Demarquette to design a majestic chocolate crown that is currenlty being showcased in Harrods’ world-famous windows.

Until 10th June Harrods’ world famous windows are featuring a custom-built display of crowns, each of which is based on a replica of the St Edward’s coronation crown. British Luxury curator of chocolate and Harrods Chocolatier Marc Demarquette, along with 31 of the most prestigious maisons available at Harrods, including Paul Smith, De Beers, Tiffany & Co, Boucheron, Roja Dove, Prada, Mulberry, Faberge and Lanvin, has been exclusively selected to create bespoke a crown in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.

Marc’s theme and inspiration for his chocolate crown is the Commonwealth – creating a near replica of the Coronation Crown using the Harrods House Couverture Chocolate and ingredients found in Commonwealth countries for the distinctive Demarquette-styled decorations.

Taking a week to complete, the crown is coated with a fine layer of white chocolate and edible gold. Cocoa beans and Harrods coffee beans that represent the producers in the Commonwealth act as diamonds and each of the 46 large chocolate jewels has been individually hand painted and glossed to create a precious stone sparkle. The fur has been replicated in coconut, dried tea and coffee beans grown in Commonwealth countries and delicate chocolate Lily Flowers have been added to represent the Pacific member states.

We are honoured and proud to have been invited by Harrods to create a chocolate crown for such an important and unique historical occasion. Back in ancient time’s chocolate was exclusive to royalty, so once again I set out to create a Royal Jubilee Chocolate Crown fit for a Queen.

To taste the crown jewels, we have also created a special edition Royal Jubilee collection of Kentish Cobnut Chocolate Pralines – a 2011 Guild of Fine Food Triple Gold Award Winner. Gently roasted Kentish grown cobnuts from Hurstwood Farm are skilfully combined with the Demarquette house blend of single origin chocolates and Cornish cream. The cobnut praline filling is then encased in milk and dark jewel-shaped chocolate shells.

The hand painted assortment is made up of four golden milk chocolate and four silver dark chocolate jewels, all displayed in an exclusive box devoted to the Diamond Jubilee.

We suggest this unique commemorative chocolate collection for all types of Diamond Jubilee celebrations, as we wish Her Majesty continued good health and a long reign.

Wishing all a great celebratory week-end and Jubilee year.

June 1, 2012 / demarquettechoc

The Walpole 2012 British luxury ‘Brands of Tomorrow’

Demarquette selected by the Walpole as a British luxury ‘Brand of Tomorrow’ 2012

In this year of the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics, we are excited to have been selected from over 100 premium British brands as one of only eight “2012 Brands of Tomorrow” by The Walpole. Each year this trade body that represents the British luxury industry and whose members include Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Fortnum & Mason and Harrods, select up-and-coming brands that have the potential to be tomorrow’s luxury leaders. We are honoured and proud to have been named as one of them for 2012.

The recognition comes with the privilege of being mentored by some of Britain’s leading business entrepreneurs including Maurice Helfgott  Founding Director of Amery Capital, Jonathon Heilbron President and Chief Executive of Thomas Pink, Michael Ward Managing Director of Harrods, Sarah Elton Former Chief Executive of Smythson and Demetra Pinsent CEO of Islestarr Holdings.

We are absolutely delighted that our work has been recognised by such a prestigious organisation as The Walpole and it is a great honour for us to be mentored by some of the leading figures in British luxury business. This achievement is a culmination of all the hard work carried out by the entire Demarquette Team since our launch in 2006. It’s a reflection of our dedication to applying only the highest quality demands that enable us to offer the finest quality chocolates, luxury service and unique innovation.

The other great brands to have been selected are Aravore, Elvis & Kresse, Lily and Lionel, Lucas Hugh, Field Candy, Patterson Boatworks and Vivien Sheriff.

About Walpole 

Walpole is a non-profit-making organisation that furthers the interests of the British luxury industry by harnessing and sharing the collective knowledge, experience and resources of the membership – over 170 British Luxury Brands, committed to combining the best aspects of innovation, design, quality, tradition and service.

Formed in 1990 by top tier British companies, including Burberry, Harrods, Jimmy Choo, Alfred Dunhill, Thomas Pink and Fortnum and Mason, the membership provides a community for the exchange of best practice ideas to drive business development in both the UK and export markets.

The membership provides a community for the exchange of best practice, cross-industry networking and marketing, drives business development and lobbies Government.  Members are showcased to an increasingly wide audience through a programme of events and initiatives in the UK, Europe, US and Asia.

www.thewalpole.co.uk

April 24, 2012 / demarquettechoc

We’ve Gone NUTS for the Jubilee!

In order to give Saint George a proper celebration and to start our Diamond Jubilee celebrations, we hosted an event evening to show off a truly British pair. We partnered with Hurstwood Farm in Kent to prove to chocolate-lovers everywhere that you can make delicious chocolates using ingredients found in our own backyard (…or the southern coast).

We warmed up the night with a Chocolate Slammer – a hot chocolate cocktail made with nut-infused vodka and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Then, we returned to our British roots by welcoming Hurstwood Farm, whose cobnuts have helped to create our winner of three stars at the Great Taste Awards, the Kentish Cobnut Chocolate Pralines. Catherine Robinson and her team were kind enough to make the trip up from Kent to explain to us the fabulous role that the cobnut has played in English history. They also took the opportunity to share their oil that’s pressed from the nuts – who would have thought such an indulgent product could come from such a delicate nut? Following their award as the Supreme Champions of the Great Taste Awards in 2010, it was our only choice for our own award-winning chocolates.

Marc also prepared a tasting of the different stages used when creating the praline filling for the chocolates. Rather than buying pre-made praline paste like so many others, he makes it entirely on his own by creating a paste from the cobnuts and blending it with a careful mixture of chocolate and sugar to form the perfect match-up of chocolate nuttiness. He also premiered his Chocolate Cobnut Nougat made with both the Kentish nut itself as well as the award winning Cobnut Oil which will be available for purchase from next week at Fortnum and Mason.

We were eager to share the new Diamond Jubilee Collection that is available for purchase in the shop on Fulham Road and on our website. We can’t think of a better way to honour the Jubilee than with chocolates fit for the Queen – can you?

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March 6, 2012 / demarquettechoc

71.1% Chocolate Brownie Recipe – A Fool-Proof Mothering Sunday Gift

Save your kids the guessing this Mothering Sunday, and get something you really want. We’re providing a step-by-step guide for decadent brownies made using Demarquette’s very own 71.1% Dark Chocolate bars. Simply print out the recipe, leave it strategically laying around on your husbands’, sons’ or daughters’ desks and drop copious amount of hints about how you crave the greatest home made chocolate brownies. Sit back and relax on your day this year, and leave the cooking to the children!
 
Mothering Sunday 71.1% Chocolate Brownie Recipe
  1. (Requires adult supervision) Break up the chocolate into small pieces and gently melt it with the butter in a glass bowl over steaming water – make sure the bowl does not touch the water. Gently stir the mixture to a smooth and glossy texture. Remove from heat and cover with film until cooled to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 175 C. Line a square tin approximately 20 cm.
  3. Sieve the flour into a bowl.
  4. In a seperate large bowl, blend the eggs and all sugar until the volume increases and the colour lightens a bit (it’s best do this with an electric whisk to get a thick custard texture but a spoon and lots of elbow grease is good too – plus licking the spoon afterwards is such a great reward!).
  5. Add the chocolate mix to the egg and sugar blend and fold. Then add the flour.
  6. Lastly, add the chopped nuts and pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
  7. Place the tin in the middle of the oven for approximately 25 mins or until you get a firm wobble when shaken.
  8. After cooling, cut in squares and serve with whipped vanilla cream, ice cream or simply enjoy on their own.
  9. Finally, make sure your kids also do the washing up!

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