The review by Annalisa Barbieri in the Observer has arrived!
l am very happy about this. thank you Annalisa! Follow the link to see the article: https://www.theguardian.com/food/series/notes-on-chocolate
The journal article -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The following are personal opinions and are very profusely written.
This morning, as well as remembering an amazing dream where 2 respectful men were calling each other "brother" and me "sister", considering my views and asking me questions about inspiring, spiritual and philosophical subjects, l, the chocolatier of such business here, woke up from a dream in which l had not had the time to do my stock-take in the chocolate kitchen, the morning of the Review, and the website wasn't ready! l felt distressed in the dream, being unable to walk or run (you know that feeling when you feel you can't walk very fast, everything is in slow motion and gravity is a lot denser!) ... Well, it had come true. The dream was not premonitory, but things take a lot longer than they should. 6.30am this morning, l thought l would have plenty of time to get it all done. For the stock take, l have to count everything so l know what is left. Counting the product is getting very complicated as l now have too many varieties of tablettes*1 The counting took till 8.50am and l eventually got it all done so l could got back to the house to update the website's shop page. What to do, customers will arrive any time now, my stock isn't clear! l decided to take all the products off in case customers did order before it was ready. It takes a long time to restock a shop page. 45 minutes later, the shop was back online, the first orders arrived! That done, l thought it would be prudent to have breakfast and not faint from this early start without any other food than a very early celery juice, beet and apple. lt was well after 10am that l went to Marcus' shop to get the 2 copies of the Observer newspaper l had ordered, as l didn't want to look online and cheat, it is much nicer to see it in print! Marcus at Canon Pyon stores apologised when he saw me, they had only sent him one Observer newspaper, which l bought, alongside some tiny local quinces which look very interesting (but l am not sure how they would work in a ganache?! l may just juice them or eat them in a compote for now as l have to pack some pot-lucks before l can play with quinces!) The so-waited-for newspaper was there in my hands at last, but l couldn't find the review anywhere! Annalisa had reviewed someone else! The world had ended! Barry, who has more sense than me, and had actually read the article, showed me where the review was, under the other reviewed chocolate! It was a nice review and l felt blessed. But...No photo. l expected it to have a photo. What a pity, never mind. Still a great review. -------------------------------------------------- Here is what happened about the photos: The Guardian's staff had contacted me on a Monday, 2 weeks before, asking to send them a picture of such reviewed product 'Pot luck chocolates', "by tomorrow morning at the latest" which, as l said in a previous blog, l didn't know was going to happen, so l had no photos for, except the ones on the site which wouldn't be suitable, as they had told me before. Lady T., the member of staff, had dealt with me the 2 previous reviews, and at the time had asked me if l could find a photographer to take the pictures as those l had sent her were not suitable. l said l didn't know a photographer who was close-by, I could only take them myself and l had tried my best. She had used those pictures in the end. This time round, she had added at the end of the email that if l couldn't get nice pictures, she would take a picture for me if l sent her some of the reviewed products. l did, and l don't know to this day if she had received, taken pictures or not. Staff are very busy. On the Monday evening of getting the news of a promised new review, and having been spoiled with a whole column just for the chocolates before, l had driven to Ledbury to my friend Richard's house who has a beautifully set-up photographic studio area.* Richard and l took ages to get the pictures right, he spent an hour editing them, and after l got home at 11pm, l sent the pictures to lady T. before the deadline of the next morning. Hooray! at least a photo which would be beautiful, reviewed with the joy of my life, those silly and loved drawings! Well, that was what l thought.
An automated email arrived the next day saying Lady T. wasn't working on Tuesday and l could contact Lady K instead, which l did, also sending her the photos. Lady T. would be back till the Wednesday, which would be too late! Lady K., the replacement, didn't answer on the Tuesday to tell me she had received any photos. Wednesday, after a last, desperate email attempt to Lady T. to ask if those photos were received, she replied she had sent photos (not sure which she meant) to the design team and she didn't know if they would use them till the press. The newspaper must be a chaotic and stressful business, and the staff in a rush for posting the next articles. It must be really challenging, having a boss whom we secretly or not secretly fear, and those bosses with their superiors fearing secretly the same. Imagine the feeling of not fitting in, of thinking we want enormous success and fame, but inside, believing we are too weak to win, or we are so savage and greedy that we will do anything including crushing everyone else on the way. Bosses aren't my cup of tea. l feel sorry for anyone having bosses. l wish and pray for everyone reading this, who has a boss: "May your boss transform into a loving, respectful, kind, integrous and best boss you ever had!" Miracles happen every day! l understand the newspaper couldn't post a picture for each reviewed product. Newspapers like to publish very long articles about the news in the world which we should worry about day and night, but very little for what would make us happier; food, psychology, drink, love and medicinal plants! (and sport and art and everything which doesn't mean "work"). So they couldn't really give any more space for Annalisa. l feel very blessed and grateful that Annalisa, Our Lady of the Chocolate, took such interest in my humble business and gave the business such a boost in more than a year! It allowed You, the reader, if you have struggled down this article with great pleasure or pain, to be here and for this l am grateful. Unless, of course, you are feeling in a true fury, and l can only reply with "Olé"
l have been thinking over the last few months about how l could reach the other potential customers, those who do not read left-wing newspapers. One of my friend keeps calling this newspaper the 'Grauniad', l am guessing he is either right-wing, or jealous of the reviews as he has a food business himself, making very nice bread and savouries. Some customers don't like the Guardian, nor the Observer. When l tell them about the review in there, they put their noses up and change subject.
l have not really got any answer from contacting the Times newspaper, yet. l think that is right-wing. Luckily, this morning, one of my regular customers, Christopher, came to the farm unannounced, to buy his favourite chocolates. We had a talk about the review, which he said was very nice indeed. l like Christopher, him and his wife are ardent fans of the caramel in dark chocolate, the ginger in dark and the fruit and nuts, and as he loves trying new things but doesn't like rose, so he tried the new heather honey, apple and pollen chocolate.
He comes regularly and it is lovely to have someone who is easy and comfortable to talk to, who is very generous. l said to Christopher that it would be nice having the chocolate business mentioned in a right-wing newspaper and as he is right-wing (he said he was right-wing very eloquently then, and asked me if l was), could he give me some advice on which nice newspapers l could look into? l don't read nor know newspapers, and l don't have a "wing" preference myself. ln fact, l have stopped voting. [...paragraph removed...it got too far showing political incorrectness, and we have to be PC nowadays and not say what we think, don't we..."Misinformation! Disinformation!" l wonder how the future generations will untangle the truth of what is happening in the world today, and what they will think of it...] Christopher is of good advice. He said it was a very good idea indeed to get to contact the rich right-wing ladies who would truly enjoy the chocolate and don't have any idea it exists. Aren't l a mercenaire, talking about customers as if they were just a means to an end, to buying a yacht and having offshore bank accounts? l am not there quite yet. Please leave a comment at the bottom if you would like a yacht, or if you would prefer a space rocket to go to Mars and give a lift to Elon and Bill who are trying to save the world by getting us to use nuclear powered electric cars when electricity is going up, while they are using their private jets which use fuel they don't want us to use. (and we shouldn't want to use it, but there is no alternative except rising electricity or LPG) (see pot-luck card Number 11)
[can l help myself being un-PC? No. l always get my feet in there. "chopsy", says John Fletcher who accuses me of talking more than him, which is very untrue as he has the biggest chops of all persons l know .] To get back to my good customer Christopher, he advised me to look into the "Sunday Times", and then suggested the "Mail on Sunday", which l thought was a newspaper similar to the Sun or the News of the World which l find highly anger-triggering, but he replied the Mail on Sunday would be horrified if they knew l thought that. l am glad they should be horrified. [...more paragraph removed...] Chris was full of good advice, and it was enjoyable speaking with someone who has a different view of politics. He is called a fascist by left wingers, and no doubt the right wingers call anyone leftish, a communist. Aren’t we divided, when all we want is to have enough food on the table, money for the bills and for the odd holiday, and a few yachts? It has been lovely to share this with the internet and consciousness presence. Thank you for having read. Alexandra, the boss of Continuum Conceits.
*purposefully baldy badly baldly put together
*1 The tablettes are large slabs, l call them tablettes as they are called like that in French, l find the word "slab" not very elegant, it sounds like "slap" or "slabber") .... Thank you, to all my dear customers who allow me to make a living.
May you be blessed.
Jag's being delivered next week.