Holiday makers are constantly on the hunt for a reason to munch on chocolate, so the calendar offers plenty of excuses to buy a bar. July 7 is also Chocolate Day, a nod to the historical tradition that the day marks when chocolate was first brought to Europe on July 7, 1550, though a number of sources argue that it might have hit the continent’s shores as far back as 1504, thanks to Christopher Columbus. Official day or not, we do know that chocolate first arrived in Europe some time in the 16th century. There’s also National Milk Chocolate Day on July 28, International Chocolate Day on September 13, and, of course, National Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day on November 7.
Our first awareness falling through time through blood-rain, pure white snow, green vegetation down into deep earth warm sunshine cool wind soaking rain Energy flowing-up through our pod each day we grew bigger snug together with brothers and sisters bursting our little cozy shell then one day a father and daughter plucked us from the vine stripped – we lay bare upon a tray disorientated and tender but alive a life force deep inside us our skin soft but hardening then sleep . . . waiting for the one Daddy!! Come see the beans They changed colors I see brown ones with white specks Yellow with black dots Orange with blue stripes But wait . . . there are three larger beans that seem to glow and vibrate one is blood-red another . . . brilliant white the last . . . forest green What does this mean daddy? Is it evil? No my sweet darling These are special beans Descended from an ancient garden long ago . . . no longer of this world It was a place of love and light No death but a deep communion between mother earth and us The three beans are: Peace, Purity, Prosperity These beans will feed a starving world Bring healing to the hurting Laughter to the downtrodden Hope to the desolate Love to the unloved Life to the dead These beans hold deep magic How do they work Daddy? a worthy woman is chosen who is humble of heart strong in spirit wise in love Who is this lady? the magic beans choose they only appear to the one female you, my darling . . . you are the one Me? I am only a girl I have none of these things . . . the beans see deep within a soul they never lie they have chosen you together you will change the world! Daddy, I am scared . . . I am shaking I am not worthy breathe deeply, close your eyes put the beans in your mouth Daddy, I taste sweetness Molasses, ginger, caramel . . . now chocolate I see visions upon the wind Blood, wars, rage, yelling . . . unbearable things yes, darling the evil is strong here let the blood from the red bean flow let it mingle with your love it will defeat this evil and bring healing and forgiveness . . . peace The white bean is singing with my voice – Daddy! Sweet is her song I see merriment, laugher, dancing . . . People hugging and holding hands My tears are falling Filling rivers with waters of light, love and purity Joy reverberates from mountains peaks From my open lips runs rich green sap Deep does the earth drink Big drafts of life and love I see fields flowing with Cream, honey, and wine Trees waving to the sun The earth is rejoicing I see beans being planted In a garden A man and a little girl yes, my Little One, soar now fill the world with your love fill the wind with your song love generously Such is the magic of these colored beans Written by David Meade Shared from PoetrySoup
Now Indulge yourself. Call or stop by Ashley’s for hand-dipped chocolates, creamy ice cream and delectable candies. Order Online! For yourself or for gifts to people around the US!
4. Dipped Chocolates
6. Caramel Apples
Salted caramel sauce – simple, delicious. Not as salty as I expected, but in a good way. Perfect for just about anything.
7. Jelly Belly
Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. In Catholic Europe, it has been celebrated on March 19 (St. Joseph’s Day) since the Middle Ages. This celebration was brought by the Spanish and Portuguese to Latin America, where March 19 is often still used for it, though many countries in Europe and the Americas have adopted the U.S. date, which is the third Sunday of June. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May. It complements similar celebrations honoring family members, such as Mother’s Day, Siblings Day and Grandparents Day. Father’s Day is a time to recognize fathers and father figures who have influenced a person’s life. It is celebrated through cards, gifts, dining out, gifts such as chocolates, box of candies, electronic gadgets, sports attire, household tools or time spent together.
Today is Mother’s Day, and we reckon you should make your mum feel special, because she’s probably the person that loves you the most in the entire world.It’s a bit unfair that mums only get one day of the year where we really celebrate all the great things that they’ve done for us, and still continue to do. Being a mum is a life long job. Right from the moment you are born, to when you move out and start your own life, your mum never really stops caring about you and wondering if you’re okay. She is the best person in the world for a cuddle, a chat, and a good dose of honesty on why your latest Tinder date isn’t worthy of you.So take this day as an opportunity to make her feel really special.
1. She does EVERYTHINGShe definitely must have a time machine because she does everything. From working, to cooking, cleaning and even making sure that she’s up to date on current affairs and a bit of Corrie. There is nothing that this woman cannot do within a 24 hour period.
2. The reason you’re hereYep, if it weren’t for her carrying you around for 9 months, and then looking after you for your whole life you wouldn’t be here today.
3. Her pearls of wisdomYou learnt important stuff in school but the most useful life lessons all came from your mum. Lessons such as never going to sleep with wet hair, and how to handle bullies. Cheers mum
4. And her protective natureThere is no-one else who would do anything to keep you safe and out of harms way. Like the time she texted your slimy ex and told him to bugger off because you deserve so much better.
5. Always there for youWhether it is answering questions on what to with your hair, or giving you a hug when you get fired for the first time, mum’s always got your back.
6. Great role modelAll of your greatest attributes and skills such as never giving up, knowing self-defence and how to not ruin your life have all come from watching the way your mum has manoeuvred through life. She taught you the importance of power dressing, and for that you will always be grateful.
7. Sassy AFEveryone else may be fooled by her sweet nature, but you know that she has a sharp tongue.Like the time she made her hairdresser cry when they didn’t give her the right shade of brunette.
8. And really toughDon’t be fooled by her frame, because this woman has the strength of Rambo. After all she dealt with you during your rebellious teenage phase, when every week you would be discovered drunk on cheap cider, and quite possibly with a new piercing.
9. Judgement freeThe whole world may have judged you that time you decided to channel your inner emo and wear nothing but wide flared jeans, a dog chain, your dad’s skinny ties and colour your hair green. But not mum. Sure she may have not liked it, but she understood that it made you happy and that’s all that matters.
10. Super proudRemember all those rubbish ‘art works’ you made in nursery consisting of ice lolly sticks, pipe cleaners and a lot of glitter? Well your mum has still kept them safe and sound. Even though they’re really crap, she still thinks she has a budding Van Gogh on her hands.
11. Confidence for daysHave you ever seen this woman turn into a shrinking violet? No. Because she is brimming with more confidence that Beyoncé.
12. Always honestIf you look really nice she’ll tell you. If you look like a dogs dinner, she’ll also give you a little pat and tell you. Can’t get fairer than that.
13. Puts up with youWe’re all a bit annoying here and there, but only mums never seem to mind and love us just the same.
14. Has your best interests at heartThere is something extraordinary in knowing that there is always one person who will always give you the best possible advice, and want nothing but greatness for you.
15. Always makes you feel specialHave you ever spoken to your mum when you’re feeling down and left not feeling better? No. Because there is something about a mother’s advice and cuddles that will make you feel like you’re the most special person in the entire world. Information shared from METRO NEWS
Buy Chocolate Basket For Your Lovely Mother From Ashley’s Chocolate
Fudge is a type of confectionery which is made by mixing sugar, butter and milk, heating it to the soft-ball stage at 240 °F (116 °C), and then beating the mixture while it cools so that it acquires a smooth, creamy consistency. Fruits, nuts, caramel, candies, and other flavors are sometimes added either inside or on top. It is often bought as a gift from a gift shop in tourist areas and attractions.
The origin of fudge is unclear, but the history of fudge can be traced back to at least 1886 CE. The exact origin and the inventor of fudge remain disputed, but some experts believe that the word “fudge” was first applied to a botched batch of caramels, prompting the exclamation, “Oh fudge!” Most food historians believe that fudge, as it exists today, is an American invention. Fudge is a crystalline confectionery. Unlike many other types of candy, such as taffy and caramels, which forgo crystallization, crystal formation is necessary for the creation of fudge. This process creates a candy that is firm yet smooth as the crystals are so small that they do not taste or feel grainy. The fudge mixture, which must contain sugar, butter, and milk, must be properly prepared and cooled in order to create sugar crystals that are just the right size. If the process is not carried out correctly, the crystals will either form too early and become too large or never form at all, resulting in a candy similar to caramel. The history of fudge may predate the foundation of the U.S., and experts are quick to point out the similarities between fudge and tablet, a Scottish confection. Tablet is first mentioned in The Household Book of Lady Grisell Baillie, which was written between 1692 and 1733 CE.
Emelyn Battersby Hartridge documents the first sale of fudge, writing a letter in 1886 stating that a schoolmate’s cousin had sold fudge for 40 cents per pound in Baltimore. In 1888, Ms. Hartridge, still attending Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, wrote that she made as much as 30 pounds of fudge for the Senior auction. Fudge caught on quickly at Vassar and, before long, recipes for the confection began popping up at other women’s colleges. Smith and Wellesley colleges adapted the so-called original recipe into their own versions.
Vassar’s recipe called for white sugar, cream, unsweetened chocolate, and butter. The Wellesley College creation altered the original recipe only slightly by adding marshmallows, which keeps the fudge from collapsing during cooling. The Smith College recipe was the first to deviate from the original, adding extra butter along with brown and white sugar, molasses, and vanilla. Each of these recipes is notoriously delicate. The history of fudge was forever changed when corn syrup, which delays crystal formation, was first used for foolproof recipes. Information shared from wiseGEEK Ashley’s Confectionery creates the finest hand-dipped chocolates, creamy homemade fudge and carries the largest variety of licorice, gummies and old-fashioned candies. Ashley’s homemade fudge is soft, creamy, and the prefect amount of sweet. The highest quality ingredients are used to produce the ideal blend in our copper kettle resulting in 10 irresistible flavors that are sure to satisfy anyone’s craving.
Do you like beans? You’re probably saying, “That depends upon what kind of beans you’re talking about!” Green beans? Black beans? Pinto beans? Lima beans? There are many kinds of beans out there.We bet there’s one kind of bean that almost all of you like, though. It’s hard on the outside and soft on the inside. And they’re usually really sweet and tasty. What are we talking about? Jelly beans, of course! Jelly beans are a popular type of candy. They’re shaped like a bean with a solid outer shell and a soft interior. They also come in a rainbow of colors and a wide variety of flavors. Their main ingredient is sugar, but there are other ingredients that give them their unique shape and texture. To make jelly beans, manufacturers heat liquid sugar to about 350 °F. They then mix in starch and glucose. The combined mixture is then poured into starch molds shaped like beans. They let the mixture dry in the molds for a day to give them their unique chewy texture. After they’re removed from the molds, the jelly beans are steamed and coated with more liquid sugar and then placed into a spinning machine. As the jelly beans are spun constantly, artificial colors and flavors are added to give them their final coloring and taste. Toward the end of the process, grains of sugar are added to the spinning machine about four times. It is this granularsugar that gives the jelly beans their hard outer shell. Finally, hot syrup and wax are added to the spinning machine at the very end to give the jelly beans their final polished, glossy look. Once they’re finished, the jelly beans are dried and packaged. Sometimes jelly beans are packaged and sold in individual flavors. Much of the time, though, they are sold in packages of mixed flavors to give jelly bean fans a wide variety of flavors. The history of jelly beans is a bit unclear. Some people believe their chewy insides were inspired by TurkishDelight, a Middle Eastern treat made of jelly and covered in powdered sugar. Jelly beans may have made their first appearance in the United States in 1861, when Boston confectioner William Schrafft encouraged customers to send his jelly beans to soldiers during the Civil War. Historians believe jelly beans first became linked with the Christian holiday of Easter in the 1930s. Some of the most common jelly bean flavors include cherry, orange, lemon, lime, grape, licorice, lemonade and strawberry. Many gourmet flavors are available from specialty manufacturers, too. Examples of gourmet flavors include raspberry, coconut and popcorn. Information shared from wonderopolis Indulge yourself. Call or stop by Ashley’s for hand-dipped chocolates, creamy ice cream and delectable candies. Order Online! For yourself or for gifts to people around the US!
1. Europeans first came into contact with chocolate in 1519 when conquistadors of the Aztec Empirebrought it back to the Spanish court of King Phillip II. At this time, it was served as a luxurious beverage to only the highest social classes: royalty, military, long-distance traders, and Catholic clergy.
2. Along with chocolate, in the form of the cacao bean, the Spanish conquistadors brought back potatoes and tomatoes from their excursions in the New World.
3. The Spanish were quick to adopt cacao as an exotic alternative to the familiar coffee bean. Chocolate drinks were especially popular during fast days in the Catholic country, when the high levels of fat provided more sustenance than tea or coffee, and did not break the rules of the fast.
4. During the 1600s, an increased presence of coffeehouses and cafes created an opportunity for the lower classes to indulge in the chocolate drink.
5. It was not until the nineteenth century that the right technology made it possible for chocolate to be made into other products, like bars and sweets. At the turn of the twentieth century, chocolate was accessible and affordable to everyone. However, this increase in production tended to yield a decrease in quality as manufacturers decided to use cheaper ingredients like Forastero cacao beans.
6. Cacao is one of the few crops that has benefitted from a highly mechanized process, without which we would not have smooth melted chocolate. (This comes from a refining technique called “conching,” developed by Mr. Rodolphe Lindt.)
7. The distinction between luxury chocolate and ordinary chocolate that we have today began in the twentieth century when chocolate started being mass produced. Before then, it was always considered a luxury good. In fact, the differences between the two have much more to do with the marketing strategy, packaging, and price than with the quality of the chocolate itself.
8. The continued exchange of chocolate between the New World and Europe led to experimentation and new recipes that were quite different from the original, but better suited to a European taste. Cinnamon and nutmeg, among other more familiar spices, replaced chilli peppers and achiote. When the Europeans introduced cows to the New World, a hot chocolate recipe with milk was soon developed.
9. During the Enlightenment, chocolate drinks became popular in London for their taste, nutritional value, and ability to maintain clear thinking. People could remain productive and focused while drinking chocolate all day long, which is not the case when consuming alcoholic beverages.
10. Countries that grow cacao like Grenada, Ecuador, and Madagascar have recently started producing chocolate within their own borders, completely revolutionizing the traditional process of chocolate production. This is a way to maximize profits for their own cacao farmers, who are historically some of the most impoverished workers worldwide.
11. The term ‘single origin’ chocolate indicates that the cacao beans used to produce that product are not a haphazard combination but were sourced from one particular location. This term is seen as a marker of quality, but can in fact be used to describe anything from beans that were sourced within the same country to beans that came from the same plantation.
12. Today, countries like Thailand, India, and Australia that have no previous experience with the cacao bean are planting trees so that they too might have a stake in the globalized chocolate market.
Featured image credit: Chocolate desserts on sticks, CC0 via Public Domain Pictures.
Why Do We Eat Chocolate Bunnies at Easter?
IMAGE CREDIT: ISTOCK
As far as holidays go, Easter is second only to Halloween in American candy sales—that’s a lot of chocolate bunnies. Easter—the most spiritually significant holiday of the Christian calendar—has always been heavily associated with symbolic foods, from lambs to egg-rich celebratory breads. Rabbits, however, are not mentioned in the scriptures that recount Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. And chocolate, a New World food, was not even accessible to the masses until the mid-1800s. So how did chocolate bunnies come to dominate the Easter basket scene? It’s a thoroughly modern mash-up of commerce, confectionery, and immigration.Ostara, the Germanic pre-Christian fertility goddess, apparently kept a hare as a sidekick. The word for “Easter” (Ostern, in German) is derived from her name, and her namesake festival was held around the month we now call April. Germans came to embrace the fictional character Oschter Haws (or osterhause), a rabbit who delivered eggs to children at Easter. Supposedly, the first recorded mention of osterhause was in the medical notes of a Heidelberg physician in 1684 (he discusses the drawbacks of overeating Easter eggs). The Easter Bunny Museum in the now-defunct Center for Unusual Museums in Munich showcased examples of 19th century Easter rabbits made of cardboard, wood, or fabric, and some had removable heads to allow for hiding candy inside (these would be the forerunners to chocolate bunnies). At the same time, the middle classes of the Western word began enjoying the chocolaty fruits of progress. “The Industrial Revolution changed chocolate from a costly drink to a cheap solid food,” write historians Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe in The True History of Chocolate. The craft of making the smooth-textured solid chocolate we’re familiar with today requires many steps, and those were not possible without mechanization; the first eating (as opposed to drinking) chocolates appeared in Europe in the mid-1800s. As eating chocolate became more accessible, Germany rose as a center of molds. Anton Reiche of Dresden, one of the best-known manufacturers, created all sorts of highly detailed tinplate molds for chocolate, and not just in the form of rabbits. Our friend the chocolate bunny had yet to cross the Atlantic, though. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America says that “the Pennsylvania Dutch imported the Oschter Haws, or Easter Hare, who delivered colored eggs to good children.” One of the better-known early sightings of chocolate rabbits in America was in 1890, when Pennsylvania shopkeeper Robert L. Strohecker featured a five-foot chocolate rabbit in his drugstore to attract business at Easter. This became a thing: A 1927 photograph captured two young boys flanking a mighty 75-pound chocolate rabbit in front of Florian’s Pharmacy in St. Paul, Minnesota (the owner happened to be the son of German immigrants). And after that long journey, chocolate rabbits of more manageable proportions eventually became an Easter staple. Information shared by http://mentalfloss.com/ Ashley’s offers an excellent selection of chocolates and candies for all holidays and is sure to please even the most discerning recipient. We carry only the highest-quality products to ensure an exceptional holiday experience for all, and our many choices provide something for everyone, no matter the time of year. Visit our current holiday page for our most festive and up-to-date selections, or call us to personalize a treat for your holiday celebration. We all love a holiday celebrated with candy and sweets, and at Ashley’s, we do Easter like nothing you’ve seen before. We offer all of the Easter candy favorites you’re looking for to fill your baskets with one-of-a-kind goodies.
The observance of Easter includes some elements adapted from pagan traditions celebrating cycles of new life in the springtime, and one of those is the rabbit, an animal known for its crazy-high fertility. “Although adopted in a number of Christian cultures, the Easter bunny has never received any specific Christian interpretation,” says the Encyclopedia of Religion.