Back in my college days I worked in Magill’s deli in Dublin. Around Christmas it was always alive with people, some just popping in for the smell. “Oh if you could bottle this!” they’d say, raising their nose and taking a deep breath of the spicey, smokey smell that hangs in the air.
The mood was always highly festive, with customers from far and wide popping in to make special Christmas purchases – French cheeses, Spanish sausage, Italian hams, all manner of spices, chocolates and German Lebkuchen. But it was busy! No lunch, no coffee breaks, opening up the shutters to see the first customers waiting outside and closing later than usual so as not to have to turn anyone away. The door was always open and we were frozen to bits, wearing fingerless gloves to stack the shelves, like characters from a Dickens’ novel.
One year on Christmas Eve, a man arrived into the shop to be met with hugs and squeals from the owner. Her brother had flown in from the US for Christmas. After the initial greetings he popped out for a wander through Christmas on Grafton Street, having noticed how busy we were. After a while he called back in with what I considered the ultimate luxury – Butlers chocolates AND a Butlers hot chocolate for each of us. I was in heaven – the physical warmth, the flavour and the generosity made a memory that I will never forget.
Butlers Chocolates and their cafes always remind me of home around this time of year. During my years at Trinity college, with several of their cafes within a short walk of the library, my friends and I could always find some excuse to pop out for coffee and chocolates or to grab a hot chocolate to go – immeasurably better than anything the college coffee dock had to offer!
Since moving to Germany, Butlers has come to remind me of the airport too. I don’t know how often I have bought a box or three of their range to bring home with me, or stopped to get myself a take away coffee to take to the gate.
So when a lovely parcel arrived in the post from Butlers for me a couple of weeks ago, it wasn’t much of a surprise that my boys recognised the logo immediately. “They’re the ones from the cafe at the airport” Number Two announced.
Living abroad has meant I have had to make new friends. What better way, I thought, to merge my old memories with new ones than to introduce my circle of friends here to the joy that is Butlers. Parcel unpacked, I sent out word that there would be a chocolate tasting session going on at mine a few days later.
The boys helped me set things up, arranging the chocolates the way they’ve seen them in the shop. We had a great time trying out the award-winning The Dessert Menu selection and the Premium Chocolate Collection. The latter comes in a beautiful red velvet box and would make a gorgeous gift.
The girls were blown away by the choice, especially in the dessert-inspired box- creme brulee, tarte au citron (the best lemon chocolate I’ve ever tasted), panna cotta, sticky toffee pudding (which more than lived up to expectations) and several delicious desserts all encased in chocolate cups. So pretty too, it was almost a pity to eat them. Almost. At €15 for the box of 16 chocolates, I think it is a pretty good deal. The chocolates are a good size and would make a great substitute dessert for a dinner party.
There’s a fab range of Butlers products out for Christmas now too. Personally, I am looking forward to trying the Christmas Pudding Truffle and the Pomegranate Panna Cotta in The Festive Menu box.
[Disclaimer: I was sent a selection of Butlers chocolate in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.]