CHOCOLATE QUOTE OF THE DAY…

Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies. John Q. Tulliuss

THE HISTORY OF THE CHRISTMAS CRACKER…

According to WHY CHRISTMAS Christmas crackers are a traditional Christmas favorite in the UK. They were first made in 1847 by a London sweet maker called Tom Smith. He had seen the French ‘bon bon’ sweets (almonds wrapped in pretty paper) on a visit to Paris in 1840. He came back to London and tried selling sweets like that in England and also included a small motto or riddle in with the sweet. But they didn’t sell very well.

Legend says that, one night, while he was sitting in front of his log fire, he became very interested by the sparks and cracks coming from the fire. Suddenly, he thought what a fun idea it would be, if his sweets and toys could be opened with a crack when their fancy wrappers were pulled in half.

In 1861 Tom Smith launched his new range of what he called ‘Bangs of Expectation’! It’s thought that he bought the recipe for the small cracks and bangs in crackers from a fireworks company called Brock’s Fireworks.

Crackers were also nicknamed called ‘cosaques’ and were thought to be named after the ‘Cossack’ soldiers who had a reputation for riding on their horses and firing guns into the air.

When Tom died, his expanding cracker business was taken over by his three sons, Tom, Walter and Henry. Walter introduced the hats into crackers and he also traveled around the world looking for new ideas for gifts to put in the crackers.

The company built up a big range of ‘themed’ crackers. There were ones for bachelors and spinsters (single men and women), where the gifts were things like false teeth and wedding rings! There were also crackers for Suffragettes (women who campaigned to get women the vote), war heroes and even Charlie Chaplain! Crackers were also made for special occasions like Coronations. The British Royal Family still has special crackers made for them today!

For 150 years, Christmas crackers have been a traditional part of Christmas festivities; Tom Smith created the wonderful invention of the Christmas cracker in 1847. Tom Smith Crackers were granted their first Royal Warrant in 1906, and today the Tom Smith brand owned by IG Design Group UK Ltd is still the official supplier of Christmas crackers to the Royal Household, which is held in high regard. Design Group are extremely honoured and proud to design the handmade bespoke crackers that are selected by the Royal Household.

Tom Smith Crackers have a historic spirit and a breath of heritage which is represented in the designs.

Every year they research the current trends and markets to ensure our crackers are the market leaders, `demonstrating new innovative designs and concepts that are created every year to keep the interest, air of Christmas and the tradition alive, as well as refreshing the content and jokes, we ensure that they remain classic and traditional in how they look and feel.

THE HISTORY OF THE MINCE PIE…

According to Why Christmas, mince pies, like Christmas Puddings, were originally filled with meat, such as lamb, rather than the dried fruits and spices mix as they are today. They were also first made in an oval shape to represent the manger that Jesus slept in as a baby, with the top representing his swaddling clothes. Sometimes they even had a ‘pastry baby Jesus’ on the top!

During the Stuart and Georgian times, in the UK, mince pies were a status symbol at Christmas. Very rich people liked to show off at their Christmas parties by having pies made is different shapes (like stars, crescents, hearts, tears, & flowers); they fancy shaped pies could often fit together a bit like a jigsaw! They also looked like the ‘knot gardens’ that were popular during those periods. Having pies like this meant you were rich and could afford to employ the best, and most expensive, pastry cooks.

Now they are normally made in a round shape and are eaten hot or cold.

A custom from the middle ages says that if you eat a mince pie on every day from Christmas to Twelfth Night (evening of the 5th January) you will have happiness for the next 12 months!

On Christmas Eve, children in the UK often leave out mince pies with brandy or some similar drink for Father Christmas, and a carrot for the reindeer.

BUY THE RIGHT TEA TO PAIR WITH CHRISTMAS FOOD…

To enjoy your cuppa at Christmas, make sure you have the right flavour to pair with your Christmas food.

When drinking Lapsang have it with turkey or smoked salmon sandwiches or walnut cake or Stilton cheese, to enhance the flavour of the tea and/or food. Try Twinings Lapsang Souchong, smoked pine flavour.

Of course, Christmas isn’t Christmas without chocolate but with different strengths of chocolate, this does mean there is a choice of pairings. With dark chocolate, try Assam, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Gyokuro, or Oolong. Try this Whittards Loose Leaf Darjeeling Black Tea. A distinctly delicate loose leaf black tea, picked by hand in the Himalayan foothills. Fresh and fruity, with a muscatel sweetness.

With milk or white chocolate try Darjeeling, Dragonwell, or Oolong. This Gingersnap Oolong from Whittards will go perfectly with white chocolate. A speciality of China’s Fujian and Guangdong provinces and Taiwan, oolong tea is semi-oxidised for an astonishing spectrum of flavours, ranging from “green” floral high-grown varieties to distinctive dark oolongs with nutty, chocolatey tones. A Whittard twist on a traditional chai, we’ve opted for a delicate, creamy loose leaf oolong base and layered it with sugar and spice, and all things gingery nice.

When drinking Earl Grey try The Tea Makers Earl Grey have it with fine pate or ham and mustard sandwich’s or Crème Brulee or Leicester cheese, to enhance the flavour of the tea and/or food. This stunning version of classic Supreme Earl Grey has been conveniently packed into our biodegradable tea bags. This tea offers a blend of exquisite Ceylon teas scented with flavours of bergamot oil and blue cornflowers. 

Fortnum and Mason have some amazing goodies paired with specific teas like their Christmas Green Tea created especially for Christmas, their gently warming blend of green tea, star anise, liquorice, coconut and a hint of vanilla is a festive treat that can be enjoyed by a crackling fire at any time of day.

If you don’t want to buy lots of different flavoured tea blends then you could always go for this Twinings Christmas Loose Tea Caddy A Black Tea with Spice Flavour.

A wonderful tea for the Christmas season. A Christmas Tea spiced malty black tea that has been expertly blended with warming, spicy, Christmas flavours off safflowers and orange peel. Enjoy with or without milk for a delicious festive treat.

The caddy depicts a wintery scene in the heart of London where Twinings was founded in 1706. When Thomas Twining opened his Golden Lyon shop at 216 Strand, it was the first of its kind and London’s love affair with tea started to blossom. The Twinings flagship store recently celebrated its 300 year anniversary and now offers Tea Experience masterclasses.

With so many black friday offers I decided to not add prices to the teas as they are on offer at the moment but may not be when you try the link. Enjoy…

TWININGS TEA BLACK FRIDAY OFFERS 26th November – 2nd December…

TWININGS Tea have Black Friday offers starting 26th November – 2nd December…Offer: 20% off sitewide plus free delivery when you spend over £20 at Twinings. No code required.

Make your list early. Here are some great gifts from Twinings Tea…

Winter Hot Chocolate Gift Bag Snuggle up with a luxury hot chocolate in your new favourite mug. Create your ideal winter warmer by adding Monin Vanilla or Caramel Syrup. Dreamy nature-inspired crockery completes this lovely gift set. £15

This gift bag includes:

Individual products worth £18.78 –


Twinings Deluxe Compartment Wooden Tea Box filled with 24 individually wrapped teas.

Made from fine dark wood and finished with “Twinings” and solid brass hinges and openings. £26

Supplied filled with 24 mixed enveloped tea bags worth £6.00

Superblends Advent Calendar –

Tis the season to be merry with 24 days of wondrous winter warmers.

A selection of green teas and infusions with botanical ingredients or an added vitamin or mineral.

HOW DO I DRINK IT?

Simple use fresh boiled water and infuse the bag far at least 3 minutes. Give the teabag a few little stirs and gentle squeeze to release the flavour before removing it from the cup. £7.49

WHAT’S INCLUDED?

3 x Vitality Single Envelopes
3 x Defence Single Envelopes
2 x Heartea Single Envelopes
3 x Detox Single Envelopes
3 x Glow Single Envelopes
3 x Digest Single Envelopes
2 x Moment of Calm Single Envelopes
3 x Sleep Single Envelopes
2 x Boost Single Envelopes

TWININGS Glow – Strawberry and Cucumber Flavoured Herbal Infusion with Green Tea, Aloe Vera and added Biotin.

Biotin contributes to the maintenance of normal skin and normal hair. Enjoy at least 1 cup a day as part of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

When your skin and hair glows, you radiate confidence and feel great. This is the inspiration behind this carefully crafted Glow blend. This blend is a delicious mix of refreshing Green tea, Aloe Vera and Cucumber flavouring. A touch of gorgeously sweet, strawberry flavouring ensures this is the tastiest part of your beauty regime. £2.69

What does it taste like?
This delicious green tea is sweet, refreshing and easy to drink at any time of the day.

Seasons Greeting Christmas Tea – Loose Leaf Caddy – £6.37

Black Tea with Spice Flavour

A wonderful tea for the Christmas season. Our Christmas Tea is a spiced malty black tea that has been expertly blended with warming, spicy, Christmas flavours off safflowers and orange peel. Enjoy with or without milk for a delicious festive treat.

The caddy depicts a wintery scene in the heart of London where Twinings was founded in 1706. When Thomas Twining opened his Golden Lyon shop at 216 Strand, it was the first of its kind and London’s love affair with tea started to blossom. The Twinings flagship store recently celebrated its 300 year anniversary and now offers Tea Experience masterclasses.

You might also like our Spiced Chai Christmas Caddy.

Rise & Shine Breakfast Hamper – £40 –

You won’t want to rush the most important meal of the day with this Twinings deluxe morning hamper. Sip our fine English Breakfast pyramid tea bag blends from handmade artisan mugs, and enjoy Cartwright & Butler’s delicious fruit jam and buttery biscuits at your leisure. Some things are worth savouring!

This hamper includes:

Individual products worth £56.23