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Port is a truly fantastic alcoholic beverage, and hugely popular around the world. But how many of us know the true history behind this delicious drink? Here’s all you need to know about how port came to be…
Early origins in Portugal
When the Romans first arrived in Portugal, they promptly set about growing vineyards which produced wine-ready grapes. This process continued for over five hundred years on the banks of the Douro River, where it all began so long ago. Port later became a major export for the Portuguese from 1143 onwards, but it wasn’t until much later that ‘Port’ as we now recognise it began to take shape. The first wines carrying this name didn’t leave Portuguese shores until the 17th century, but the route to this process was a long time in the making.
At Hamper Lounge, we gather some of the finest items to add to our superb hampers and gift boxes from a range of carefully-curated suppliers. One of our favourites is the wonderful Harrogate Candle Company, who create stunning scented candles. Let’s take a closer look at the brand…
About The Harrogate Candle Company
The Harrogate Candle Company was founded by Fiona Carr and Deborah Wilson in 2012. The brand is based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire – and the range reflects these scenic surroundings, with colour palettes and packaging designed to help represent Harrogate to the fullest. The company had a clear purpose; creating the finest-quality scented candles on the market, using only all-natural, high-quality essential oils. Adopting this naturally-led approach, Harrogate Candle Company initially developed a range of candles in five signature fragrances, designed to inspire emotion: Happy, Inspire, Lovely, Divine and Dream. The brand later created a sixth scent for the festive season, Orange and Cinnamon, and has branched out to expand the scent range into a series of carefully curated collections which have won fans around the world. With a range of candle sizes available, it’s easy to find something to suit every space, and the company has now expanded their range even further to include Reed Diffusers, Gift Sets and Room Mists.
Our wonderful supplier of exquisite teas The Tea Makers of London are an established award-winning tea brand, offering a wide selection of authentically made speciality teas. All their teas are grown in the most respected tea gardens around the world, then carefully selected by their expert tea tasters. Working closely with local tea gardens and artisan tea farmers ensures that they deliver the very finest quality teas.
The founder of The Tea Makers has over 10 years experience as a tea planter, as well as years of experience supplying and selling quality loose leaf tea. His extensive knowledge and experience within the tea industry plays an important role in bringing their us a varied and high-quality selection of teas.
Few of us can resist the appeal of chocolate, and here at The Hamper Lounge we incorporate plenty of delicious chocolatey treats into our hampers and gifts! But what many people don’t know is exactly how chocolate goes from bean to bar…so for anyone who has ever wondered how chocolate is made, here’s our quick guide!
Chocolate’s Enduring Popularity
It’s not just modern civilisations which love chocolate – all over the world, chocolate has been enjoyed for millennia. The Mayan and Aztec cultures were both partial to taking cacao seeds and turning them into a chocolate beverage, and throughout the last five-hundred years, chocolate has begun to take on more popularity throughout Europe, thanks to increased trading links – first in liquid form, and later sold in bars and as a tasty ingredient in other dishes.
Converting Cacao Beans to Chocolate
The seeds of the cacao tree are far too bitter to enjoy as they are, but the process of converting them into chocolate helps to soften this taste and transform it into the modern and delicious chocolate we enjoy today. First, the Cacao beans are fermented to develop the flavour. They are then cleaned, dried and roasted. The shells are removed, and the remaining seeds are ground to create a cocoa mass – unadulterated by any subsequent production techniques. This mass is heated until it liquifies, which creates chocolate liquor. This liquor can be made into either cocoa solids or cocoa butter, and chocolate products such as baking chocolate use both these elements to create their distinctive, bitter taste before the addition of sugar.
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