Hot on the heels of The Chocolate Society donating 1,826 Easter Eggs to NHS staff is this heart-warming story I spotted in a Facebook group of a mum who made chocolates for her son, an NHS nurse, to share at work on the front-line.
Margaret Paterson, a retired civil servant, hand-made batches of delightful-looking chocolates in a variety of flavours. Stephen, her son, usually works as an advance nurse practitioner in a Glasgow hospital, but he is now tasked with helping to fight Coronavirus on the front-line in a dedicated COVID-19 response unit.
Seeing the immense pressure he and his fellow colleagues are under right now, Margaret decided to help in the way she knew best.
After 39½ years of continuous service at DHSS and Jobcentre Plus, Margaret initially hated retirement. She told me she "would wake up in the morning crying." She decided to enrol on cake decorating classes at night so as to make tasty treats for friends and family. But clearly Margaret has a flair for chocolate making!
She caught the chocolate making bug a couple of years ago, after attending a class at Shona Sutherland's Taystful. Margaret has since been on several of Shona's courses, is planning to attend another in December. She highly recommends them to anyone looking to start making their own chocolate treats at home.
Many of the chocolates above are tinkered versions Shona Sutherland's recipes. I asked Margaret which of these creations is her favourite, to which she told me it was the Malibu praline, as it evokes memories of her holiday to Hawaii.
Margaret uses Callebaut chocolate - the brand she trained with - bought locally at a cash and carry. She also uses a compact ChocoVision Revolation 2B Automatic Chocolate Tempering Machine. While not a fan of dark chocolate, she recommends Callebaut 823° for milk chocolate work and Callebaut Gold° for making caramel filling.
Callebaut No 823 Finest Belgian Milk Chocolate Callets Couverture 33.6% - 1Kg
The 823 is widely appreciated because of its generous taste and great reputation in workability. It can be paired with a wide array of powerful fruity, spicy, dairy or liqueur-like flavours. The core of the chocolate is the signature Wieze cocoa blend: a well-kept secret mix of mainly West African top grade cocoa beans.
Callebaut Belgian Chocolate Callets Bundle Dark, Milk & White 3 x 2.5Kg Bags
The signature Wieze cocoa blend, a secret mix of West African top grade cocoa beans, is at the heart of this chocolate. This chocolate has a great reputation for workability, and pairs well with a wide range of flavours, from those that are powerfully fruity, to spicy, to dairy or even liqueur.
Callebaut White Chocolate Easimelt Finest Belgian Chocolate Melting Callets 1Kg
Made from milk produced by cows grazing on Belgian pastures and sugar extracted from locally grown Belgian sugar beets, this chocolate is extra Belgian. It has a satin-like gloss and a delightful snappy texture.
Callebaut Milk Chocolate 33.6% Easimelt Finest Belgian Chocolate Callets 2.5Kg
The signature Wieze cocoa blend, a secret mix of West African top grade cocoa beans, is at the heart of this chocolate.This chocolate has a great reputation for workability and pairs well with a wide range of flavours, from those that are powerfully fruity, to spicy, to dairy or even liqueur.
Callebaut Premium Belgian Chocolate Couverture Callets Melting Moulding Baking
These yummy! Snack, simply put they are moreish! Milk Chocolate 823 - Cocoa Solids 33.6% Minimum - Cocoa Butter - Natural Vanilla Flavouring.
Margaret makes chocolate for family and friends but does not sell them. Staff at the Glasgow hospital rave about the chocolates, complimenting on the professional look of them. In fact, this isn't the first time she's made chocolates for NHS staff. At Christmas, Stephen commissioned bags of chocolates for 45 of his colleagues.
Thank you to Margaret for allowing me to share this heart-warming story of how she is helping her son and other exhausted COVID-19 nurses with a supply of tasty-sounding chocolates. Thank you to Stephen and his colleagues for their herculean efforts during this pandemic. You can find Margaret on Facebook. You can help Stephen and his colleagues by remembering to play your part: Stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives.