This month I want to talk about Christmas – yes folks, it is that time and because of the year that most of us have had there seems to be a determination to celebrate in style, rounding the year off on a high. I have already passed homes festooned with lights and the distinct glow from decorated trees – I am even contemplating putting mine up earlier than usual.
Usually, my time throughout the year is largely taken up with attending wedding fayres, visiting venues, talking with clients and making wedding cakes. The pandemic placed a red flag over pretty much anything to do within the wedding industry and like many others I was determined not to lose my business.
During Lockdown One, I had the honour of making a few wedding cakes, but I have mostly been making and selling brownies. This has been a labour of love and I was determined to produce a really good tasting brownie for my customers, who have ordered, reordered and told all their friends.
What started with a basic chocolate brownie – well, I say basic, but this baby is seriously good quality 70% Belgian chocolate, combined with magic ingredients and baked to perfection – has evolved into a host of different flavours, a choice of dark or milk chocolate and most food intolerances all catered for. I’ve even made a reduced sugar one which has been met with approval by many customers.
While surrounded by the warm, chocolatey smell of baking brownies, I have spent many hours creating new flavours for both brownies and Christmas cakes.
This year Ginger, Chocolate Fudge, Sticky Toffee and Amaretto and Vanilla cakes are available alongside the ever-popular Traditional Brandy Christmas cake.
While the brownies are given their own festive feel with the inclusion of Chocolate Orange, Black Cherry (soaked in Kirsch), Christmas pudding, Dulce de Leche (this one has changed my world!), Mint crisp and Fresh Raspberry to the menu.
So, as you can see, Christmas preparation is already underway with orders coming in and delivery dates getting scheduled.
Its Christmas but not as we know it!
Letting people know that you care -that you are there and that they matter has never been so important.
For now, we are not popping round to friends or relatives for a catch up – and the usual meeting places of cafes, restaurants and pubs have all been closed again.
However, there is still a great option available to us that allows us to see each other and to talk. While for many Zoom has caused a range of issues it does still provide a gateway into the lives of our friends and family. And what better way to catch up than by making a cuppa, getting comfy and chatting to a friend or three. Just make sure you all have a brownie to hand.
Corporate Gifting for Business Owners
The same applies to those business owners amongst you - Christmas really is the perfect time to reconnect with clients, working partners and staff. The best way to let them know you are thinking about them, to thank them and to show appreciation (in my humble opinion), is by sending a corporate gift to celebrate the festive period.
However, knowing exactly what to send for the above can be difficult at the best of times, but then you have to throw in a worldwide pandemic. Many companies have their offices either closed or running on skeletal staff with many people working from home. Sending gifts to offices will no longer guarantee that they get to the right people.
Sending gifts that bring a smile are always best. That initial reaction to whatever is in the box or bag is what your aim should be. Sending something edible – did someone mention BROWNIES – means that the recipient can enjoy them there and then and allows some indulgence. Before you get a lovely message of thanks.
Adding a personalised message tells the person(s) that they are appreciated – it’s been a tough year, without hugs and we all need to know that we matter. That what we do matters.
Orders for your chosen gifts are best placed in November – nope, its not too early and don’t forget you can get the supplier to schedule your order. Once you have established where you are going to send them, aim to have your gifts delivered in the first week of December for maximum impact.
In other news -National Brownie Day!
There are always lots of reasons to eat a brownie but next month there is a day celebrated far and wide as an entire day devoted to the wonder that is the Brownie. Yes – I give you National Brownie Day and it takes place every year on the 8th December. So, heads up and place those orders.