Tag Archives: chocolate

The Chocolate Nativity

chocolate christmas hershey kissesThere have been a few tellings of the nativity story, using chocolate, around recently. This is the one I’m using on Christmas Eve, adapted from some found online, in particular from one I was passed by Grange Park Church from last year, and from Alistair Cutting and David Keen‘s blogs. The text has been adapted to fit the chocolate that I could find. (Couldn’t find a Topic anywhere!). The idea of using it is to help people stay tuned in to the story, as it can be quite easy to phase out on hearing familiar words again.


It’s a familiar story; It has little to do with reindeer pulling sleighs and flakes of snow. I don’t want to fudge the issue, so I’ll begin the story of the first Christmas.

Once upon a time, some 2000 years ago, a young girl called Mary, heard a wispa from the angel Gabriel that she was to be the mother of God’s son. But how could this be?

By order of the government, Joseph had to return to the town where he was born, Bethlehem, which was many miles away. Being pregnant and unmarried in that culture was a terrible thing, so Joseph took Mary with him: it would surely do them good to have a break (kitkat)

There were no busses then, especially no Double Deckers. Mary and Joseph had hardly a dime (Daim!) to their names, so they had to walk most of the way.

It was a long journey, for a young girl, so heavily pregnant, and the ground was very rocky.

When they arrived, Joseph desperately tried to find a place to stay. There was no room in any of the inns or hotels, and even the clubs were full.

Eventually they were offered the chance to stay in the outhouse of a local pub. The stable! And so it was there in the inn that the baby was born. They didn’t have a cot to put him in. But they had to make to with an animals feeding trough, a manger. They laid him on the straw, which was very crunchie.

The baby was named Jesus, which means “saviour”.

That night some shepherds tending their flocks saw a bright light in the sky. Shepherds have a tough job, and they needed a Boost.

Some angels appeared, in the sky, singing. But they weren’t singing any classic tunes, this one was a new song:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth”. The Shepherds said, “come on let’s go to Bethlehem and see what has happened there”.

When they arrived, they found  Joseph, Mary and the baby who was laid in a manger – it was smelly and dirty, not really a fit place for king.

“isn’t he a poppetThey thought to themselves

They were filled with wonder, Could this be the one the had prophets foretold? It was getting late, after eight in fact, so the shepherds returned to the hills.

Meanwhile, in a far country, some astrologers (they were real smarties) were busily scanning the galaxy, looking at the star(bar)s. Suddenly they saw a bright star near the milky way. Was it mars? No, it was a star shining with extraordinary brilliance, way out to the east. They realized that the star signaled the birth of a new King in Bethlehem.

There were no aero-planes in those days, so the wise men climbed on their caramels (camels) and set off on their long journey.

They arrived at the place where Jesus was, worshipped him, and presented gifts from their bounty. Gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

This child is the true king. The Son of God – so he is Divine. To use an old testament phrase, he’s The Lion of Judah. He is God incarnate.

He came to bring God to each one of us, and lets face it, we could do with a refresher, couldn’t we!

Jesus is certainly worth having a celebration for!



An open letter to Cadbury’s

Dear Cadbury’s

The name of Cadbury’s is known thought the UK and the world as synonymous not only with quality confectionery but also with a deep concern for the world. It was with this concern through the Christian Quaker roots of the company that led to the formation of the town of Bourneville for Cadbury’s workers – formed with Christian principles of social justice at the centre. This was done at a time when most companies were paying very little attention to the social well-being of their workers. In 2009 I rejoiced to hear that Cadbury’s was taking it’s Christian roots and social concern seriously when it announced that Dairy Milk was to go fairtrade – the chocolate certainly tastes a lot better to me without the bitter taste of injustice!

However, I am disappointed today to see advertising for the Cadbury’s Creme egg stepping away from the Christian roots of the company. The slogan “Creme Egg season is here” is misleading. The season that is here is called Easter – it is the season that Christians, including those who began the great company of Cadbury’s, remember the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is because Jesus offers a new and transformed life to all who follow him (as your founder knew) that the symbol of the egg – which gives new life – was chosen to represent the season of Easter. Hence, the Creme Egg (and all other eggs at this time of year) are a symbol of the season – the Christian season of Easter. We enjoy eggs at this time of year only because of this.

I do hope you will consider revising your advertising to be more in keeping with the principles that Cadbury’s was founded on.

I will continue to enjoy Cadbury’s fairtrade products and I look forward to an expansion of the scheme into other product areas.

With every blessing as you celebrate Easter

The Best Caramel Shortbread

The best caramel shortbread, or millionaires shortbread, in the world can be found at the Boston Tea Party coffee shop in Exeter, UK. They have a few other branches in the South West of England.

Update: Top quality caramel shortbread should be made from quality chocolate, caramel and shortbread. Many places try to cut corners by using a crushed biscuit base rather than actual crumbly shortbread. Shortbread is best made with top quality white flour, caster sugar, butter (not margarine or spread), and a pinch of salt. Once the ingredients are fully mixed, put the mixture in a baking tray but do not press down – leave it loose.

Caramel can be made perfectly adequately by boiling an unopened can of condensed milk in water for two hours. Simply put the whole can unopened in a saucepan and submerge it in water. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for two hours.

Once that is done, simply spread the caramel mixture over the cooked and cooled shortbread and the melted chocolate over that. Allow to cool before eating.

How to melt chocolate… well I’m sure you can work that out!

Here’s an alternative, but still quite simple recipe that gives another way of making the caramel.