“ Brand: Lakeland / Type: Candy „
Like a lot of families around this time of year I would imagine, we have been eating a large number of rose and violet creams lately. This is a tradition that goes back to my nan, and probably extends back even further to her parents and their parents before them.
I always buy a box to bring to my mother's house for Christmas, and she always provides a box as well. This year she gave us the Lakeland variety.
These chocolates come in a very pretty Victorian-style round box that is decorated in violet with a lovely drawing of a lady on them. The style of box is very appropriate as rose and violet creams were enjoyed in Victorian times, when many more flower-based foods were eaten than we have today. But these chocolates have persisted.
There are around 24 chocolates in each box, and a box costs £8.99. This is quite expensive for a smallish box of chocolates, but the quality here is very high.
Each chocolate consists of either a rose or violet-flavoured filling enrobed in rich dark chocolate, and finished off with a sugared flower petal, either rose or violet to match the chocolate. They really are lovely and elegant and feel much more special than scarfing a mini-Mars bar or some such.
I suppose one reason why my mother and I like them is that they bring back a lot of pleasant memories for us. I did give one to another friend who had never tried them before and he was not a fan at all. He had a violet one and said it tasted like something you would clean the toilet with. And he refused to even taste a rose one!
To me they taste very natural and not at all chemically as my friend implied. The rose and violet really do taste like the essences of these flowers and are quite lovely and enjoyable, but the flavour isn't too strong which is a good thing as if it were I admit it would feel like eating perfume.
However the one big disappointment about these is that, having just looked up the ingredients to write this review, I'm a bit disgusted to find they aren't vegetarian (and I am!). Well, I really should have checked this beforehand but with sweets I do sometimes make mistakes as I never expect them to contain animal products. These contain carmine, which is a red colouring made from insects. Nasty but true! So for the insects and the toilet cleaner reference from my friend which indicates that not everyone will like them, I'm giving them only 3 stars.
Firstly I would like to share a little story with you about my grandmother Emily who was born in a wonderful old cottage in Hartpury in Gloucestershire in 1894. She was one of 14 children and the house called Catsbury can still be seen today dating back to the 1600s.
Now Emily lived to celebrate her 102th birthday and diets were never part of her routine. She enjoyed all the good things in life from butter and cream to home made wine and even in her last few years prefered deserts to savouries! Yes she was shaped a bit like one of those dolls people used to put over toilet rolls but you know she was blissfully happy.
She grew up in the country surrounded by fields and meadows where cattle grazed and her life was a simple one. She was my best friend when I was growing up and on my 8th birthday she took me to Gloucester for a holiday. It was March and all the wild violets were just emerging from their long winter sleep and she pointed them out to me as we walked down the lanes together.
Sadly Emily passed away in 1996 and one of the things I will never forget was her love and delight in simple pleasures. I see her now looking down on me and a lot of what she loved is reflected in the things I love and one of these is violets.
I came across these chocolates in The Lakeland catalogue last Christmas and thought I would try them as I have always loved the floral taste of violet and rose essence. They are delicious and the box they come in is superb. It is like a trip down memory lane for me when I open these.
The chocolates are dark and they are decorated with rose and violet sugared petals. You get a generous 24 to enjoy inside the pretty miniature bonnet box.
These Victorian treats make a wonderful gift for someone special and are £8.99 a box.
They also sell violet and rose petal jam at Lakeland and I am planning to write a review about that soon as it is out of this world!
If there are any violet and rose cream lovers out there I would also say to also try Ebay as these are available there.
Finally I would like to tell you about a shop in Toulouse in France called La Maison de la Violette which is totally devoted to selling everything made from violets. Violets have been grown in Toulouse for more than a century and this lovely shop sells violet everything - from tea and jam to crystallised flowers and candles. There is even a violet liquor. One day I am going to visit it but for now I'll settle for these chocolates and the memory of Emily. I hope you'll try them.