Pop’s 80th birthday chocolates

My Pop turns eighty today. I love him very much. Several years ago, he received the medal of the Order of Australia for services to agriculture and social welfare, amoung other things. He played a key role in starting the Burnie Farmers’ Market, the first in Tasmania and still the best place in the region to buy fresh, cheap local produce, and meet the farmers who grow it. He also makes great tomato sauce. Sadly, I wasn’t able to go to his party on the weekend. But I made him a box of chocolates for the occasion. I hope the effort makes up for it somehow. But more importantly, I hope he liked them.

I was planning the gift for a while. I tried to make clotted cream fudge, but without a sugar thermometer, it turns out I didn’t make it hot enough to set properly. It made for a lovely chocolate filling though. Pop likes dark chocolate, so the three chocolates each had a dark chocolate base. I used Green and Blacks, because it’s fair trade, and incredibly delicious. I figured I could make a truffle with the lovely local cream from Country Valley Dairy, and flavour it with a little of the cherry port I bought at the farmers market from the folks at Torry Hill Orchard. Lastly, I figured I could make roast almond clusters with some almond slivers and a little almond butter.

It was tricky to find an appropriate box, but I ended up using a gift box from Kikki K stationary. It said ‘enjoy’ inside the lid, and that’s what sold me. I was lucky enough to find some beautiful labels at Electric Shadows bookstore, for home made treats. With a little brown ribbon and gold elastic, I was set to make a lovely, but masculine and very personal box of celebratory chocolates. We filled the box with 80 chocolates, in two layers, with a little upturned ‘cup’ to hold up the second layer.  I made sure to arrange the chocolates in a pattern, and the effect was great. Perhaps this may inspire you to do something similar in the future.

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