Hotel Chocolat Valentine’s giveaway!

There are two schools of thought when it comes to Valentine’s Day. One group of people firmly believe that Valentine’s is the day to shower love/flowers/cards/etc on your loved ones; whilst the other group firmly believe that Valentine’s Day is a overcommercialised holiday that simply doesn’t mean very much. I have to admit that I actually fall somewhere between the two: I don’t go all all and celebrate it (we usually eat a nice home-cooked meal at home), but I do admit to buying Valentine’s Day cards. Mind you, I am someone who enjoys walking into Paperchase to randomly buy cards to give to people, so I suspect a lot of it is simply a ‘oooh this card is pretty’ thing rather than a ‘must get a Valentine’s card’ thing.

But no matter what your thoughts are about Valentine’s Day, it’s always hard to resist chocolates. Especially when they’re packed beautifully and look pretty. I mean, one doesn’t always need red roses in the house… but who doesn’t need chocolate? I certainly know that chocolate is always welcome in my house. 😉

Hotel Chocolat have, as always, come up with a fantastic range of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. I especially like their chocolate ‘hearts’, because hey, I’m a girl and I like most things that come in this shape. That’s a good enough reason… right? I also really like their chocolate slabs (in fact I recently bought some to bring home to give to friends), and I think this ‘Passion Pop’ slab is almost too pretty to eat.

I had a chance to sample Hotel Chocolat’s Sleekster Love Collection, which I also tried last year. What I was pleased about was that there are some new flavours in this years selection, i.e. they don’t just recycle the same flavours and ideas year after year. My favourites from the selection are the: Strawberry & black pepper (light strawberry truffle and a pinch of black pepper), Soft chilli caramel (soft caramel giving way to a mouth-warming chilli kick), and Praline oyster (smooth milk hazelnut praline).

The other chocolates in the selection that I also enjoyed were: Champagne truffle (milk chocolate and a splash of champagne), Buck’s fizz (white chocolate truffle with a splash of champagne and dash of orange juice), Bison grass vodka (Polish vodka in mellow milk chocolate) and Chilli sweetheart (dark chocolate with chilli and cocoa crispies).

Thanks to Hotel Chocolat, one lucky reader will get the chance to WIN themselves a Sleekster Love Collection box! To enter, just answer the following question:

  • Do you believe in/celebrate Valentine’s Day? Why?

For extra chances to win: (Each will get you ONE entry) – remember you need to answer the above question in order to qualify for extra entries!

  • Like Hotel Chocolat on Facebook, and leave me a comment below telling me you’ve done this.
  • Tweet about the giveaway: You can use the “tweet button” below or copy this: I just entered the @breadetbutter and @HotelChocolat giveaway to win some chocolates for Valentine’s Day! #giveaway http://wp.me/pAcXx-EW
  • Stumble this post, and leave me a comment telling me you’ve done this.

This giveaway is open to all residents of UK, Europe and USA. Giveaway ends Thursday 9th February 2012 at 23:59 BST. A winner will be chosen at random, and once he/she confirms their address, the Sleekster Love Collection will be sent out to them. If the winner fails to confirm their address within 24 hours, another winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

*Review chocolates and giveaway prize sponsored by Hotel Chocolat, but all views expressed are my own.
*Non-watermarked photos courtesy of Hotel Chocolat.

Spreading Christmas cheer with a chocolate giveaway!

**Giveaway has now ENDED***

I can’t believe it’s December! Time seems to have flown by, as it does every year. (And I’ve also just turned a year older, which I am always in denial about).

I never really celebrated Christmas back home in Malaysia (Chinese New Year in January/February is usually where our focus is!), but since living in London.. you can’t really *not* celebrate it. There’s just something about a roast turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce…

Christmas is also a time for exchanging gifts. Being a total foodie, I naturally am a huge believer of food-themed gifts, and chocolate is definitely way up there on the list. And as always, Hotel Chocolat have come up with a fantastic selection of (beautifully packaged) chocolates. They’re not only offering Christmas gift boxes, but also stocking fillers! I’ve previously spoken about the quality of their chocolates, so I won’t go into it again – but I’m pretty certain you won’t be disappointed.

When looking through their Christmas catalogue, there were a few things that caught my eye. The first of these was the Mulled wine cherries. Succulent cherries soaked in fortified wine spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, then enrobed in thick dark chocolate. Now, who wouldn’t be drawn it by that? Plus, since it contains fruit it can pass as health food. Sort of, anyway. 😉

I really enjoyed these little cherries, as they’re just the right size for snacking. A word of warning though, these babies are extremely boozy! I suspect that I would become fairly tipsy if I had too much in one sitting… But it IS the season of festive cheer, so some booziness is totally justifiable.

Next up are these Alternative mince pies, which are essentially milk chocolate cups filled with praline and salted caramel. I loved the idea of these, as I unfortunately am not a huge mince pie fan. I can eat two or three, tops. So it was a total no brainer that I’d want to try these – and I was not dissapointed. The salty sweet caramel complements the milk chocolate well, and the crunch of the praline rounds it all off. Like.

I also had a chance to sample The Classic Christmas H box selection, which features a selection of pralines, soft caramels and creamy truffles. All the chocolates are very Christmassy, with the flavours of warming mulled wine, chilli and rum, cherry florentines, gingerbread, and cinnamon. My personal favourites were the Sea salt and caramel bauble (milk chocolate with crushed caramel pieces and a hint of sea salt) and the Ginger cheesecake (sour cream notes of cheesecake on top of a layer of spicy ginger).

And because I love you, I’m delighted to announce that thanks to Hotel Chocolat, 3 lucky readers will get a chance to try one of the three items above! I personally picked out these items after much consideration, so I do hope that you will enjoy them too.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Chocolat

There are a few ways you can enter:
1. Leave a comment below, answering the following question – What will be you be doing on Christmas Day?
2. Follow Hotel Chocolat on Facebook, then leave a comment below telling me you have done this.
3. Tweet about this giveaway: Like chocolate? Win some to brighten your Christmas from @HotelChocolat and @breadetbutter! http://wp.me/pAcXx-DO #giveaway
4. Subscribe to this blog, then leave a comment below telling me you have done this.

Three winners will be chosen at random (the first will win the mulled wine cherries, the second: alternative mince pies, the third: Christmas H box selection). If winners do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is open to all residents of UK, Europe and USA, and closes on Monday 12th December 2011, 23:59 BST.

***Giveaway has now ENDED. Congratulations to Nicole, Meryl and Azra – I hope you enjoy your chocolates! 😦

Good luck! 

Disclaimer: Hotel Chocolat kindly provided the review chocolates (and the prizes), but all views expressed here are my own.

The Fairy Hobmother: making wishes come true!

I’m quite the OCD-esque person, and have this need to know what is going on around me at all times. So one would think that I would not enjoy surprises – but somehow, I do. Especially when it’s a nice surprise – sometimes even receiving an unexpected little gift from someone puts a smile on my face.

So you can imagine how huge the grin on my face was when I received an ice cream maker from the Fairy Hobmother! The Fairy Hobmother is someone who works with Appliances Online, an online store which sells all sorts of home appliances from cookers to washing machines. In his free time, he visits blogs and gives out gifts to lucky individuals. I know of some people who have won hand mixers, Amazon vouchers, and even a washing machine!

I’m utterly delighted that I’ve got a new ice cream maker to play with – if you remember, I said in my semifreddo post that an ice cream maker was the next kitchen gadget I was likely to purchase… and now I have one! I can’t wait to start experimenting with flavours, so stay tuned for lots of ice cream posts over the warmer summer months.

The Fairy Hobmother does regular blog rounds, so if you would like a chance to receive an unexpected gift (and you live in the UK), just leave a comment below making a wish about what you would like to receive. You never know, the Fairy Hobmother might see it and grant you your wish! (And it doesn’t have to be something that is sold on their online store – anything goes really.)

Go on then – make a wish!

Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg giveaway!

***Giveaway has ENDED***

It’s been a while since I last blogged – but work (and play) got in the way. My current job is ridiculously busy, and I usually come home and end up falling asleep on the sofa due to pure exhaustion. There is one good thing about the busy work rota though… the random weeks off we have. And last week, I took advantage of one of these breaks and visited New York for the first time! We had an amazing time, and I ate so much food that I’m sure I gained a fair amount of weight when I was there. But hey, that’s what holidays are for.

I’ll definitely be writing about my New York trip, so stay tuned for those posts. But in the meantime, it’s time for a giveaway! Consider it an apology for the long silence on the blog. 🙂

Easter eggs have always been something of a fascination for me. I suspect it’s because Easter is not a big thing in Malaysia, and you don’t see the abundance of chocolate Easter eggs that you see here in England. There’s just something about biting into a steroid-supersized chocolate egg that appeals to me. Especially when they’re filled with even MORE chocolates. Ahem.

If you’re an Easter egg enthusiast like myself, you’ll love the Hotel Chocolat range of Easter chocolates. From chocolate chicks to egg “sandwiches” – they’ve got it. But of course, they also have the more traditional Easter eggs… with their own twist. A few of their eggs are “extra thick“, which means you get MORE chocolate per bite of egg. How perfect is that?

The Eggsibitionist is one of these extra thick eggs, which is beautifully presented in a white/gold/black box that is simply a treat for the eyes. I’m a complete sucker for well presented food (and rarely buy cookbooks that don’t have pretty accompanying photos to go with the recipes), so Hotel Chocolat appeals to this side of me very well indeed.

But of course, it’s the actual egg itself that counts. Made from 40% chocolate, The Eggsibitionist is not too sweet, yet not too bitter. (I enjoy both milk and dark chocolate, and find that a 40%-70% cocoa content is my happy medium.) The extra thickness of the egg means that you need to employ a little more force when breaking up the egg into bite size pieces, but to be honest, that’s not going to stop anyone from scoffing this down.

The large egg is filled with chocolate mini eggs filled with ultra smooth pralines and meltingly soft centres, all with it’s own individual design. You can take your pick from the Chocolate Brownie Egg (milk chocolate with hazelnut praline and cocoa crispies), the Mousse au Chocolat Egg (silky soft dark chocolate ganache with a 70% dark shell), the Milk Praline Egg (hazelnut praline in a 40% milk chocolate shell), the Vanilla Custard Egg (soft and custardy vanilla ganache in a milk chocolate shell), the Strawberry Egg (refreshing and tangy strawberry ganache in a creamy white shell) or my favourite – the Caramel Egg (soft liquid caramel in a 50% milk chcocolate shell). Nothing like some liquid caramel and chocolate to make my day. 😉

To win yourself a Hotel Chocolat Eggsibitionist, just answer this very simple question:

Are you a milk, dark or white chocolate fan? Or do you just like them all? I want to know!

For bonus entries:

  • Tweet about this giveaway, and leave a comment below so I know you have done this: I just entered the @breadetbutter giveaway to win a Hotel Chocolat Eggsibitionist Easter Egg! http://wp.me/pAcXx-tW #giveaway
  • Like Hotel Chocolat on Facebook, and leave a comment below telling me you have done this. If you already “like” them, let me know and you will still get an extra entry.

And for a little something extra – some of you may be interested in the Hotel Chocolat Easter Competition, where they are giving away a “Be Pampered Chocolate Hamper” to the person who comes up with the best name for their newest Easter Egg. There are also runner up goody bags for grabs.

This giveaway is open to all residents of UK, Europe and USA. Giveaway ends Wednesday 6th April 2011 at 23:59 BST. A winner will be chosen at random, and once he/she confirms their address, the Eggsibitionist will be sent out to them. If the winner fails to confirm their address within 24 hours, another winner will be chosen.

***Giveaway has now ENDED! Congratulations to Romana, the winner of the Eggsibitionist Easter Egg!***

Good luck!

*non-watermarked photo courtesy of Hotel Chocolat

Hotel Chocolat’s Sleekster Love Selection… and a giveaway!

I’ve always been a fan of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka books. I think I was 10 when I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and I still remember how was in complete awe of the astounding range of chocolate deliciousness Mr Wonka managed to create in his little old chocolate factory. In fact, I had many dreams about the day I’d visit a similar Wonka-esque chocolate factory to sample such a varied range of chocolate goodies. I mean, don’t tell me you didn’t read the book and yearn to sail in a chocolate boat down a chocolate river!

Anyway, this so-called chocolate fantasy of mine has (unfortunately) yet to become a reality. Nevertheless, I have come across lots of amazing chocolate in the last few years, and although they aren’t as wacky as Wonka’s mad creations, they suit me very well indeed. One of these brands is Hotel Chocolat, who I’ve blogged about before. One of the things I like about them is how much effort they put into the packaging of their chocolates, which is exactly why their chocolates make such perfect gifts.

This Valentine’s Day, Hotel Chocolat have again outdone themselves and come up with an amazing range of Valentine’s chocolate gifts. From pink champagne truffles to sexy hot lips to their signature chocolate slabs – they’ve got it covered. Yes, you heard me right. Chocolate lips!

Their Sleekster Love Selection features an impressive spread of chocolates, which they claim has “something for everyone to adore”. It offers a huge variety of flavours, and some of my personal favourites are the Pistachio Praline (masses of finely ground pistachios for a melt-in-the-mouth experience), the Caramel Sweetheart (caramel milk chocolate with a hint of morello cherry, salt, and masses and cocoa crispies and chopped hazelnuts for lots of texture) and the Champagne Truffle (milk chocolate cream ganache with generous splashes of Marc de Champagne).

But my favourite one of the lot has to be the AMAZING Liquid Caramel (liquid salted caramel encased in 40% milk chocolate) – one bite into this and the liquid salted caramel just bursts out into your mouth, sending you into all sorts of heaven. So, so good. In fact I would happily buy an entire box of them…

I’ve always loved the way Hotel Chocolat presents their chocolates, and this Sleekster selection is no different. I mean, the photo speaks for itself. The splashes of bright red and hot pink coupled with the various shades of brown make it look incredibly attractive, and not in a “oh my god how much food colouring is in that” way.

And at the end of the day, even if you’re not someone who believes in Valentine’s Day, I’m sure you believe in chocolate… and that in itself is a good enough reason to indulge in these delectable chocolates.

****Giveaway has now CLOSED – congratulations to Bill, who has won himself a Sleekster Love Selection from Hotel Chocolat! Please check your email!****

Because I love you all, I’ve teamed up with Hotel Chocolat to give one lucky reader a chance to WIN a Sleekster Love Selection! To enter, simply answer this question:

What will you be doing this Valentine’s Day?
Perhaps you be having a romantic candlelight dinner? Or maybe you’ll having a quiet night in. Or maybe you’ll be watching Top Chef and MasterChef New Zeland (and yes, that’s what R and I will be doing – we’re so boring aren’t we?). Whatever it is, I want to know! 🙂

For extra chances to win: (Each will get you ONE entry) – remember you need to answer the above question in order to qualify for extra entries!

  • Visit the Hotel Chocolat Valentine’s online gift catalogue, and leave a comment below telling me what your favourite chocolate gift is.
  • Tweet about the giveaway: You can use the “tweet button” below or copy this: I just entered the @breadetbutter and @HotelChocolat giveaway to win some chocolates for Valentine’s Day! #giveaway
  • Stumble this post, and leave me a comment telling me you’ve done this.

This giveaway is open to all residents of UK, Europe and USA. Giveaway ends Wednesday 9th February 2011 at 23:59 BST. A winner will be chosen at random, and once he/she confirms their address, the Sleekster Love Collection will be sent out to them. If the winner fails to confirm their address within 24 hours, another winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

****Giveaway has now CLOSED****

*non-watermarked photos are courtesy of Hotel Chocolat

A Magical Christmas with Hotel Chocolat

Chocolate is one of those comfort foods that I’ve always had a soft spot for. My earliest memory of chocolate is probably Cadbury’s Dairy Milk bars, which I used to eat almost religiously. And then there was Kit Kat, which still remains one of my favourite chocolate bars up till today.

Through the years, I’ve tried lots of chocolate – some good, some not so good, and some absolutely amazing ones. Hotel Chocolat is one of those amazing chocolate brands that I’ve come across. I still remember my first ever experience of the Hotel Chocolat range of chocolate gifts – one of my best friends bought me one of their chocolate slabs for my birthday, and I was so in awe of its beauty that I simply admired it for a whole month before actually eating it. Yes, I am strange.

This Christmas, Hotel Chocolat have as usual outdone themselves and come up with a fantastic selection of chocolate goodies. From dark chocolate truffle trees to advent calendars to gingerbread liquid chocolat (hot chocolate), they have it all. Now, who wouldn’t want to receive such lovely treats for Christmas?

Definitely not me. Which is why I jumped at the chance to try out some of the chocolates from Hotel Chocolat’s Christmas present range.

The Ultimate Advent Calendar for two is one of the most beautifully packaged advent calendars I’ve ever seen. Boasting a selection of luscious luxury truffles behind each window, this advent calendar is a guarantee of a very happy and fulfilling run up to Christmas.

One of the most enjoyable things about advent calendars is the mystery of what is concealed behind each numbered window. I was swiftly transformed back to my childhood when I was opening up the windows to reveal the simple yet classy looking truffles. We don’t really do advent calendars back in Malaysia, so I got *slightly* over excited and opened every single window… I blame my inner child.

What I like most about this advent calendar is how there are TWO mini truffles behind each window – i.e. no need to fight your other half/siblings for the chocolate… which is what I know both my sister and I would have done if we had one of these growing up. We’re both slightly obsessive about chocolate, you see.

The truffles consist of six different flavours: liquid caramel (brown line – you can’t see this as it’s been halved in the photo above), gingerbread truffle (green topped), orange liquer caramel (orange topped), rum liquid caramel (light brown topped), mousse au chocolat (red line) and house milk praline. My personal favourites were the rum liquid caramel and the gingerbread truffle – nothing like a bit of rum and ginger to bring a bit of festive cheer.

And then there was Mr. Best Dressed Reindeer, who was made from 70% dark chocolate. This was another one of those “I can’t bear to eat this, it’s too cute/pretty” moments. After some oohing and aahing, I finally nibbled at his ear – and my, it was good. If dark chocolate is not your thing, you could always go for the milk chocolate Santa, or the white chocolate Snowman. All “Best Dressed”, naturally.

And then there were the Tiddly Snowmen. These adorable white chocolate mini snowmen would be a perfect stocking filler – and trust me when I say no child (or even adult!) would not want to find this in their stockings come Christmas morning.

Now on to the exciting part! Thanks to Hotel Chocolat, one lucky winner will win an Ultimate Advent Calendar to accompany his/her countdown to Christmas! Just imagine how much more pleasant December will be with the knowledge that you’ve got chocolates to look forward to every single day… 😀

To enter, do any (or all) of the following: (Each will get you ONE entry)

  • Visit the Hotel Chocolat Christmas site, and leave a comment below telling me what your favourite chocolate gift is.
  • Tweet about the giveaway: I just entered the @breadetbutter giveaway for a @HotelChocolat Ultimate Advent Calendar! http://wp.me/pAcXx-oI #giveaway
  • Like Hotel Chocolat on Facebook, and leave me a comment below telling me you’ve done this.
  • Stumble this post, and leave me a comment telling me you’ve done this.

This giveaway is open to all residents of UK, Europe and USA. Giveaway ends Friday 19th November 2010 at 23:59 BST. A winner will be chosen at random, and once he/she confirms their address, the Ultimate Advent Calendar will be sent out to them. If the winner fails to confirm their address within 24 hours, another winner will be chosen.

Good luck! 🙂

***Giveaway has now ENDED***
Congratulations to Alison, who has won herself a Hotel Chocolat Ultimate Advent Calendar!

* non-watermarked photos courtesy of Hotel Chocolat

Giveaway: Tickets to The Wine Show/Masterchef Live 2010!

Ahhh the sweet joy of being connected to the world again. I’ve been rather absent on the blog/twitter front for the last couple of weeks, and that’s because I’ve been back home in Malaysia. It’s not any normal trip, mind you. We’re moving after being in the same place for longer than I can even remember, so as you can imagine, there is a LOT of stuff. I kid you not. And of course, there was no internet access at the new place (and all of us who have moved know what a pain it is to get it sorted). It’s sometimes rather scary to think how dependent I am on the internet.

But no matter, the internet people (I don’t know what else to address them as) came by today – and YAY there is internet again! 😀 And don’t worry, this isn’t a post about how happy I am to be able to check my email compulsively again… it’s about a GIVEAWAY!

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, The Wine Show is a dedicated consumer wine show that gives visitors a chance to learn about, discuss, and buy a whole range of established wines from around the world. There will be hundreds of wines to choose from on the Show floor from a selection of Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference wines to wines from countries spanning Chile, New Zealand, France, Spain and also local varieties. And for those of you wine buying enthusiasts, do not worry about carrying bottles of wine on the tube journey home, as there will be a home delivery service on offer.

And this year, wine experts including Oz Clarke, Tim Atkin, Susy Atkins and Rob Buckhaven will be hosting tutored wine tastings in The Drinks Tasting Theatre. They will also be offering advice on how to pick out the perfect wine. This means that visitors to the Show will have the opportunity to not only taste and buy new and existing wines, but will also be educated on how to match food to wine at home and in a restaurant. Now for a wine dummy like me (I know absolutely squat about wine), this is perfect as my knowledge about wine truly leaves much to be desired.

And to make the day out even better, The Wine Show will be running alongside MasterChef Live, giving you the chance to combine two great passions – wine and food! MasterChef Live is a food extravaganza with celebrity chef demonstrations (including previous MasterChef contestants Mat Follas and Andy Oliver), expert advice, as well as the chance to master new skills and techniques. Fans of the show will also be delighted to hear that there will be a chance to see MasterChef judges John Torode, Gregg Wallace, Michel Roux Jr and Monica Galetti! (I love Michel Roux, he’s such a classic French cook. Plus I hear the food at Le Gavroche is to die for.)

And of course, that’s not all – there has to be some shopping as well (naturally). There will be a whole host of exceptional producers, delicious and unusual ingredients as well as the latest gadgets for sale at the show. I personally love shopping at food festivals/events/markets, and am really looking forward to buying some things during the show.

But enough of me rambling on about how fantastic these two shows are going to be. It’s not going to be much use if you don’t get a chance to go now is it? So, thanks to the lovely people at BBC, I’m delighted to be able to offer TEN pairs of tickets to The Wine Show & Masterchef Live 2010 at Olympia London!

So, how do you enter? Just leave a comment below and telling me why you want to win a pair of tickets.

  • Tickets are for general admission only.
  • Tickets exclude entry on Saturdays, are non-transferable, and cannot be exchanged for cash.
  • Giveaway ends on Thursday 4th November 2010 at 23:59 (BST). Ten winners will be chosen at random, and tickets will be sent to the winners once they confirm their addresses.

Good luck!

**COMPETITION HAS NOW ENDED**

Congratulations to Sarah, Michelle, Lyn, Rod, Ms Odumosu, Kay, Alvin, Karin, David and JY, who have each won a pair of tickets to The Wine Show & Masterchef Live 2010! Have a wonderful time at the show! 🙂

Photos are courtesy of The Wine Show and MasterChef Live.