What an interesting day! I went on a research excursion this morning and it was all about that vital food group, chocolate. I needed to do some research into making things with chocolate for the next book in the trilogy.

So I took Mother and we went along the back way from Cambridge to the Rotorua road and this meant driving past many of the farms she remembered from 60+ years ago. So I’m driving along to a chorus of ‘who lived there’ and ‘that farm was called this’ and ‘I remember when’..

We made good time to Rotorua (bubbly mud pool and geyser city about an hour south) and found the home of a local chocolate company called, appropriately, Bliss. It’s a family run operation and they do everything. They invent product, they make the moulds, they melt the buttons to make liquid chocolate and keep the machine filled, they make the product, they create labels and print them off on the computer, they create the wrappings and they hand wrap the product.

They’re wholesalers and their product goes out to distributors. They make over 300kg of chocolate sticks a month and send them to a local bakery who put them inside croissants and send them out around the country. But they also make a whole range of real fruit filled chocolates, novelties, bars, a whole chessboard and chess set from chocolate. I learned a great deal and I left with some lovely chocolates!

On the way back we stopped at Mamaku Blue which is a blueberry plantation on top of the Mamaku Hills. They soak blueberries in liqueur to make a really scrummy blueberry liqueur and then they send the booze-soaked berries to Bliss, who mix them into a blueberry fruit flavour and make an astonishingly good blueberry chocolate bar. Two uses from one lot of berries. Ingenious. And the blueberry jelly…..sublime!

I DO like the research phase when writing about such fascinating subjects as wine and chocolate.    

And R.I.P little Davy Jones. Hey Hey we’re the Monkies. It was part of my childhood, I especially loved ‘Daydream Believer’ and I had a VERY soft spot for Davy Jones. Did you know that another David Jones changed his name because there was already a Davy Jones, to Bowie? It’s nice to imagine that there are some great jamming sessions in heaven, Elvis, Luciano, Whitney, Ray, Frank, Louis, Janice, Jimi, John, George and others too numerous to mention. 

Good Lord, look at the time, it’s chocolate o’clock!



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