Tag Archives: chocolate

Christmas Day in Vienna

We started the day in fine fashion as Aimee cooked breakfast, including the Britwurst, which were nice – even if Lisi and I struggled to find the promised apricots in our sausages. We also had eggs and shockingly, SPROUTS! Aimee cooked them really nicely and they were very tasty fried up and seasoned. I don’t even like sprouts particularly, but I really enjoyed these.

Once we had had our boilers stoked (I added some chocolate for good measure) we walked up a hill close to Aimee and Lisi’s place, up to Schloss Wilhelminenberg which shares the hill with some vineyards.

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Schloss Wilhelminenberg was decked out nicely for Christmas, and there were people inside having Christmas treats and looking at the view. The small surrounding Christmas market was closed, but the view was more than enough entertainment.

We walked back down through the city and the Christmas decorations were all switched on on the way down. Not really sure what went wrong with this tree…

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Aimee enjoyed pointing out all of these handwriting style neon signs which seem to be everywhere in Vienna. There’s something nicely old fashioned about them.

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Some interesting santa-style figurines… garden gnomes perhaps?

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We were really hungry when we got back, and got started on our Christmas meal straight away. We had boiled the rice for sushi earlier, and so were ready to make lots of tasty rolls. Aimee and Lisi started by chopping vegetables and I did the first couple of rolls, then Aimee and Lisi made some too. We made plenty of sushi!

I really enjoyed making “Austrian” sushi, which contained sausage, pickle and mustard. It worked surprisingly well, though there might have been too much mustard in it! None of it lasted long. Alongside the sushi we had a bit more tokaji.

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And what December 25th is complete without setting your dessert on fire?

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Christmas Eve in Vienna

Today, it was Christmas! You can check the title again if you want… In Austria, Christmas is celebrated on the evening of the 24th and people often have a pretty ordinary day at work before going home to Christmas in the evening.

We started the day by going for brunch at 12 Munchies, an American/British cafe in a nearby district. We took the tram there. Inside the cafe there was a mix of furniture as well as interesting things on the walls and on the shelves at the back of the cafe. Aimee pointed out two tablet blister packs which had been put in a frame. There was also a box of books for kids – Lisi and I found Walter while a child on the table next to us read a book in French about the green cross code.

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As for the food, I am reliably informed that the coffee was good, though I’m not a coffee drinker myself. I had a lovely hot chocolate – I should have really ordered a large one though as the small one was really small! We started with sandwiches and bread. I had a roast beef sandwich and a small tomato bread, while Aimee and Lisi had sandwiches with pecorino as well. For dessert there was pecan pie and raspberry buttermilk muffins, which were tall and thin and very soft – full of real raspberries.

The cafe was very busy, with lots of people coming and going, dodging in and out of the furniture or sitting around looking achingly cool. Lisi spotted that all the people wearing glasses were all wearing the same glasses… even the kids. Once you’ve seen that you can’t unsee it. Happily Lisi and Aimee weren’t in the same-specs club, though Aimee did say she had a pair like them at home.

As well as being a cafe, 12 Munchies also proclaims that it sells “Britwurst” (as opposed to Bratwurst) and we picked some up for Christmas dinner tomorrow, along with some bacon.

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Back outside in the extremely windy fresh air, we headed up the hill towards Tuerkenschanz Park where there was a small Christmas market.

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In this one all the sheds were painted red. Most of the stalls sort of looked like charity shops – one notable object for sale being a plastic Psy dancing Gangnam Style – but we all bought something from a stall selling various flavours of schnapps and jam.

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After the market, Aimee went home with the frozen food and Lisi and I continued to the food co-op. On the way there I spotted a very old-fashioned looking shop, which Lisi said was always closed… except today! We went inside and found lots of toys and games, as well as a lot of wooden kitchenware and baskets. Everything seemed really cheap but nicely made. Lisi bought a nutcracker as she and Aimee had been given a bag of walnuts by Gudrun, their neighbour. The was really looking forward to cracking them with her new nutcracker.

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We spent quite a long time looking around the shop – complete with old fashioned till – and then moved on to the food co-op. I had expected just vegetables and fruit, but the co-op also sources beer, wine, juices, dairy products, meat… there was a lot there. It operates on an honesty system, where you pre-order what you would like. Funds are then transferred into the co-op’s account online. You keep track of your purchases on a sheet, and top-up your account when you need to. Some products are not pre-ordered, and you can take what you like from those, adding them to your account. We got everything which Aimee and Lisi had ordered, except for eggs.

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In the not-ordered section, there was fruit juice, wine and chocolate made by Zotter, a well known Austrian make. Lisi and I spent a long time opening all the cardboard boxes and making our choices. Some of the bars were for presents, and I also picked up some drinking chocolate. There are many, many flavours available, and lots of unusual combinations. We totted up our totals and Lisi filled in the account book, then it was time for home.

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When we got back we were really pleased to finally get out of the wind!

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After some tea and chocolate sampling, we had a game of Settlers of Catan – a game that Aimee does not dislike, despite not being a big board game fan. I have only played it a couple of times, but we ended up having a really good battle with Lisi winning a turn before I was able to! After that, Aimee cooked while Lisi and I kept her company in the kitchen, providing sous-chef assistance when required, and otherwise doing origami. I started making a little string of “Pop-up jewels” in different colours, and Lisi did some more artistic models – including a pig.

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Aimee’s paneer curry was lovely, and after we had eaten we brought the Christmas tree through to the living room and gathered around for gift exchanging. Afterwards we watched the Snowman. If you haven’t seen it…here it is with an introduction by David Bowie, which Lisi hadn’t seen before.

In return, we watched Dinner for One, a sketch which is always shown at New Year here. You can watch it below…

We enjoyed some quince schnapps and the Tokaj that Aimee and and I had brought back from Hungary. Then it was time for bed!

Seven Hours in Budapest

I first went to Budapest when I was about 17, travelling to meet a whole bunch of friends I’d met online. After a few more flying visits, once again I found myself in striking distance of this city that I enjoy so much. I last visited in 2009 with my dad, as part of our interrailing trip.

The alarm went off at six and I got up quickly, having been too overexcited to sleep well. I got my things together and prepared for our day trip to Budapest! Aimee awakened herself with a cup of tea and then we headed out to the bus. We had to sprint a little at the end but we made it! Then we ran down the escalator to the U-Bahn to the West railway station. It never ceases to amaze me that building a shopping centre around a train station is the done thing in many countries – Austria included. After negotiating our way through to the ticket office Aimee bought our return tickets to Budapest, leaving in ten minutes.

Aimee asked if we were able to buy food on board, and the answer had been “You can, but it’s Hungarian”. Pass the paprika chicken please… We had just enough time to grab a couple of croissants out of a bakery before getting on to our train – just in case there was nothing we fancied.

We had been warned by the booking website that this train would be really busy, but in fact we had our six seated compartment to ourselves for a lot of the way. I chanced letting a few friends know we were going to be in town, and waited to see if they were free to join us. We crossed the border into Hungary after a short while, and our mobile phone companies let us know by sending us texts full of prices.

After a while longer, two people got on who also had seats in our compartment. We took this as a good moment to investigate the restaurant car. In the end we just got a drink. I had a really sweet hot chocolate in a glass cup, and Aimee had a really sweet cappuccino, which looked incredibly uninspiring. It was more covered in scum than with actual froth. As the train rocked from side to side, a few tablespoonfuls were lost to the saucer on either side. Needless to say, Aimee wasn’t disappointed about that.

We sat in the restaurant car for the rest of the way, and I finished my chocolate. Just as the final station was called, out waiter returned and gave us the bill in Forints. They accepted Euros too, which is lucky as we didn’t have any Forints yet! I tried out my extremely rusty Hungarian – just politeness phrases – and was pleasantly surprised that I still had some left in my brain!

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In the meantime, I had received a whole bunch of messages from team Hungary, who had gotten their heads together and come up with a meeting plan. We were to go to a cafe, Rengeteg, which is fairly close to Keleti station and have hot chocolate. Only one of my friends, Sirpi, could make it, so he booked a table for us and we arranged to meet him there. Once we arrived at Keleti we had to get some Forints, go to the loo and sort out a transport ticket for the day.

Since last time I was there they had put in a metro line connecting the station to the rest of the network, and had redone the area around the station. Areas right next to stations are never the most pleasant, but the atmosphere was improved from last time. We got ourselves sorted out with transport cards and then headed towards the cafe, planning to find it first and then explore the area around it for a while. We had a go at finding three different geocaches but failed them all. We ended up in the Corvin shopping mall in the warm looking for the last one, but didn’t manage to find it either.

We wandered back around to the cafe and went inside…

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There isn’t a lot around in this street, but the cafe really stands out with its red door, and when you go inside you go down the stairs and find this…

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As well as the coffee and tea and chocolate all stacked up around the counter, there are also lots of old bits and bobs scattered around the place, especially teddy bears. There are also lots of games and other toys, as well as some completely unknown objects. On the handrail on the stairs there’s even an old ticket validating machine from a tram/metro/bus.

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We got a table and soon Sirpi arrived – shortly followed by Mária! What a great surprise! She wasn’t feeling 100% but had come along to share a drink with us. It was really lovely to see them. Some hot chocolate soon woke us all up. There was no particular menu for the hot chocolate – I was told to just come up with a flavour, so I did… below you can see my hot chocolate with orange. The hot chocolate itself was really thick and almost like angel delight, but not bubbly. I ate mine with the spoon.

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We had only expected to meet for a drink, but Mária suggested a whistle-stop tour of the main sights in Budapest by car – we headed straight for the Hungarian parliament building as Mária talked us through lots of the sights along the way. She used to work as a guide and claimed not to remember much any more – even so she barely drew breath until we jumped out of the car and took a walk by the parliament and along the bank of the Danube.

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The number 2 tram is a lovely old-fashioned one, and Mária recommended it as a good way to see the sights as it goes along the Danube and has great views.

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After the walk around the parliament building Mária drove us up the hill to look at the beautiful view from the top. We parked slightly outside the car park, which is apparently jam-packed in summer at peak season – even in the winter it was quite a busy spot. We managed to get into some space and take in the view.

We came back down the hill and Mária and Sirpi dropped us off at Deak Ter in the centre of Budapest. We were really hungry so we went to a “Traditional Hungarian Restaurant” closeby which seemed to have a very high turnover. We had lángos, which are somewhere between a calzone and a pancake. Mine was filled with delicious paprika chicken.

We paid and left quickly – with not too long left before our train. Near the metro station was a big Christmas market selling all kinds of things. We got some tokaji for Christmas after tasting a few of them, and stood in the queue for kürtőskalács, cakes which are made from spirals of dough and then cooked over coals. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to wait to get some of our own, but we did have some sausage and potato fritter to keep us going – we’d hardly had anything to eat all day apart from our hot chocolate!

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After packing our bags, we went down the high-speed escalator to the metro and went back to the train station for our three-hour train journey back to Vienna.

Sachertorte

I decided to make a Sachertorte for Rene’s birthday. I followed the recipe from Mary Berry on BBC Food. Though I’ve not made this before, I followed the recipe to the letter and it worked out really well. I don’t normally use electric mixers when I’m baking – partly because I can’t be bothered washing them but also because I like the satisfaction of making things “by hand”. This doesn’t extend to hand-building an oven.

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Five egg yolks…

The trickiest part of the recipe for me was getting the egg white to the right consistency and then folding it into the chocolately mixture without completely deflating it. The bubbles in the egg white are the only raising agent in the cake, if you can call them that.

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Mixed cake batter

Once the batter was in the oven I could get the washing up done! When it came out it was cracked around the top and had risen to a mound shape around this crack. I was really worried about that at first but in the end it deflated again. The crack would be covered by the ganache icing anyway.

Speaking of ganache, I think it might be my favourite cake topping. It gives such an impressive look for the effort you put in. It’s just two ingredients – chocolate and cream.

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Trying not to steal a bit.

All you need to do is heat up the cream until it starts to emit steam, then stir in the chopped chocolate off the heat. Eventually you end up with a really, really shiny chocolate-cream goo. Which is utterly delicious.

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Making ganache

You can work with the ganache at various stages. As it cools it thickens, and you can pour it over a cake to get a mirror-shine finish like below.

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Poured ganache

The ganache can also be left to cool further and spread with a palette knife, as the recipe above suggests. Even more fun – you can refrigerate it and make truffles by making small pieces using a melon baller or two spoons, and rolling them in cocoa powder. I made some balls of leftover ganache and used them to decorate the cake after I’d taken it to work.

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Finished!

Transporting this on the Metro was slightly hazardous, but it all worked out in the end and Rene approved of its authenticity!

Chocolate Meringue Cakes

An interview with the Great British Bake Off team that a friend posted on Facebook gave me a kick into the kitchen today. As Terri is writing an essay at my house I thought it would be nice to provide a sweet treat as well. I have often used recipes from Sue Lawrence’s Book of Baking and have found them to be absolutely fantastic. I adapted this recipe today and had an attempt at individual cakes rather than the standard sandwich cake. I made the mixtures for the Chocolate Lemon Meringue cake as usual, but added six Terry’s Chocolate Orange segments roughly chopped into chips. I also ran 15g short of cocoa and left out a little milk to compensate. I didn’t make the mixtures one after the other, but made the cake mix up to the point of adding the flour, then made the meringue and quickly finished off the cake.

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Cake mixture.

I didn’t want to lose any of the action of the raising agents in the self-raising flour by setting them off too early – I was making my meringue by hand so it took a while to whisk up the eggs. I put the cake mix into the muffin cases and pushed down the mixture, spreading it as evenly as I could.

The cake doesn’t usually spread or rise a great deal, so it’s important to get it roughly level so that it cooks through evenly. Next came the meringue tops, which looked absolutely huge in comparison to the tiny spoons of cake!

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Topping

They went into the oven for 20 minutes. As I write this post they’re still in the oven, so the verdict has yet to be reached!

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Meringue styling.

After 20 minutes at 170 fan, the meringue tops were browned and hardened, but the cakes had risen a lot more than I had expected and were still quite wobbly! I tented the tray with foil to keep the direct heat off the meringue tops and stop them catching, and lowered the oven temperature to 150 fan.

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The yellow-brown tinge to the meringue is partly down to the fact i used golden caster sugar instead of white.

After 10 more minutes they came out, and the cakes were done. The balancing act with times hadn’t quite gone right, as the meringues weren’t cooked through, but we ate them anyway. Overall, the experiment was fairly successful – we ended up with edible cakes. However, a lot more tweaking is necessary to get the balance right. In this case, both the cakes and the meringue were much deeper in the cake cases than they are when they are in sandwich tins, so the cooking time definitely needs to increase, but at the same time, I don’t want to burn my meringues into oblivion – burnt sugar does not taste good! I think cooking for a longer period at a cooler temperature would be the key – either that or just make the sandwich cake because you can fill that with whipped cream and raspberries.

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Inside

Agravation

S arrived promptly and we checked out and set off towards the Fatehpur Sikri, two monuments built in the mediaeval period. We paused for breakfast at a rest stop (poori) and continued to the hills. The roads in and around Agra had more than their fair share of potholes and I felt lucky to arrive with all my teeth still intact! S recommended we get a guide, which we did, and he parked up while we got into a rickshaw for the final hill with the guide hanging on with the rickshaw driver.

After getting tickets and avoiding the souvenir sellers we went into the palace, which was built to house Akbar and his three wives. The guide explained that Akbar was the grandfather of the builder of the Taj Mahal, and had ruled in a very secular way, taking a Catholic wife, Hindu wife and Muslim wife to show his great impartiality. He had had trouble producing an heir, and finally succeeded with the Hindu wife, who had the largest living quarters as a result.

We also saw the Catholic wife’s palace, and the Muslim wife’s palace, which was tiny. Our guide was quick to explain that though the palace was small it wasn’t a reflection of Akbar’s attitude towards her, as hers was the most richly decorated with beautiful stone screens and carvings. Though the air temperature was cool, the sun was relentless and I enjoyed having the chance to duck into the different rooms.

We also saw the royal bedroom, a massive bed raised six feet in the air with space for at least ten people! Something tells me that Akbar didn’t suffer if it was a cold night. Another highlight was the court which had a central pillar decorated with motifs from many world religious and cultures. This pillar supported spokes where the advisers would sit and… Advise. There was also an astrologer’s consultation room, and in the centre of the palace complex a huge stone throne sat, where Akbar would play pachisi with servant girls as pieces. He always won…

From the gardens and in the distance we saw the tomb of an elephant, which took the form of a huge cylindrical tower.  This elephant had been Akbar’s favourite and also the palace executioner; people judged guilty would have their heads cracked open by the great beast’s foot.

Next was the neighbouring mosque, a beautiful and bustling place with tonnes of white marble forming the inner part of the mosque, very striking within the red walls. It was about here that we acquired a fourth member of our party, a small girl trying to sell us pens. We all went around together and saw the mosque and its tombs. We even went out to the front gate which revealed a set of steep steps where we perched precariously to look at what had been the biggest door in the world back in the day. A baby goat nestled in the steps, bleating, and was given a good stroke by an incoming worshipper.

We went back to the rickshaw and rode down the hill, with the pen seller hanging on the back like a limpet. Even as we were getting in the car to go to the next site, she stood with us repeating her offer. Maybe she just wanted a free lift down the hill, but I’m not so sure…

The guide came with us to the ATM where we paid him, and S drove us back towards the city with my spine getting slowly compressed by the bouncing. He finished his water bottle and flung it cheerfully out of the window exclaiming proudly that he was able to do so with impunity because (beaming grin) “This is Agra!” He chatted to Sellappan along the way, occasionally pausing to spit out the remnants of his paan, and told us all about his family waiting at home – he could talk for India and definitely lent some excitement to proceedings…

We proceeded to Agra Fort, yet another spectacular red sandstone complex with gorgeous carvings and impressive arches. We emerged onto a rooftop courtyard and spotted the Taj Mahal shimmering in the distant haze – our first glimpse! Naturally this prompted a million photographs and a declaration from Sellappan that he was bored of this style of architecture now and we should get underway. I could certainly see his point (though it may have proved unpopular with Agra tourist board if there is such a thing) and we headed back to S to go back to town for lunch, excited by the prospect of the Taj Mahal in the afternoon.

S took us to a restaurant called the Silk Road which was popular with tourists. It seemed to be a purpose-built tourist attraction, heavily decorated, air conditioned and with very smart service and knives and forks. Most of the customers were westerners, some sitting with a local who seemed to be guiding them (though I wouldn’t like to make assumptions…) through the menu choices and dispensing advice. Two couples sitting near us were French, so we eavesdropped a bit as we ate our lunch.

I have to point out that at this point I was feeling very odd and touristy, and I think Sellappan felt the same! The one of the French couples was struggling a bit with the menu due to a communication failure about dal/lentils, so we heroically intervened to save them. They were very pleased and chatted with us for a while, asking for recommendations. They were from Lyon and said they had been eating the same thing every day because they didn’t have the confidence to try something new, they ended up ordering what we had – i hope they enjoyed it! It turned out that their daughter worked in Newcastle. Small world… I was feeling very weird by this point!

We piled back into the car with S and  he took us to a marble factory and  jewellery shop where we inspected the goods – this is a common theme and i think the drivers work on commission or get paid to bring people to the shop. It’s a good arrangement for them and sometimes maybe for the customer too, as long as you aren’t afraid of bargaining or the incredibly-hard sell. It’s perfectly possible to come back out of the shop without making a purchase as we demonstrated at the jeweller’s – he lost our business as soon as he fingered the necklace Rajini had given me!

Dear reader if you have made it this far you must be almost as ready as we were to just get to the Taj Mahal!  But no, this was the time to pick up some of the local speciality sweet, made from lotus plants. The closest I cancan come to a comparison is those big fruit jelly sweets you get at Christmas, but somehow lighter and not coated with sugar. These came in plain batons or colourful balls decorated with silver leaf. Sellappan quickly bought a couple of kilos for the folks at home.

Off we went on the rollercoaster to the West gate of the Taj Mahal. S dropped us off and told us to watch for pickpockets and scam artists, ignore everyone and walk quickly. The walk to the ticket counter was a kilometre gauntlet of horse/camel/auto drivers and souvenir sellers, which six-foot Sellappan strode through with me trotting beside like an overheated chihuahua. We got to the ticket counter and paid for our ticket (mine was 25 times the price of Sellappan’s, which sounds bad until you realise that it’s still only £2.50 for this amazing place) and we went through the security check. Separate queues for men and women and the imbalance of the gender of visitors meant I whizzed through the process and then had a little wait for Sellappan.

The Taj Mahal was still nowhere in sight, and we walked around to the gate in the red wall to see it framed beautifully in the archway. Excitement! We went along with the crowds and went through the arch, as the gardens and fountains revealed themselves below us. The manicured gardens were so simple they didn’t pull focus from the main attraction, and we walked alongside them towards the building.

After some fuss with shoes and getting in the right queues to get in, we entered the tomb itself and made the circle around the cool marble room. Signs calling for silence were wilfully ignored, not least by the security guard who blew his whistle at people who touched things. We came back outside and did two laps around the building before descending and getting our shoes back on.

One thing I had insisted on (and Sellappan agreed) was that we should spend plenty of time at the taj Mahal, so we left a full three hours to relax and really enjoy it. I was so glad that we did, because I ended up getting suncream in my eye which took up a good quarter of an hour! Of course, we took far too many pictures from every possible angle and with every imaginable pose, but the best part was finding a shaded bench and just looking at the building through the gardens. Despite the thousands of other tourists, we found a very peaceful spot and even managed to relax a bit for the first time since leaving Jaipur.

The Taj Mahal changed slowly under the setting sun, and despite having been inside and walked the marble halls, I could still hardly believe we were really sitting there. I have spent the first 27 years of my life looking at this incredibly beautiful, faraway thing on posters and book covers and being there just felt totally surreal. The scale of the building really blew me away too. You know it’s big before you go, but it’s just… HUGE! The hours disappeared and we headed out to run the gauntlet again, very happy that we had made it to this lovely place.

Next stop, bus station! I think it’s fair to say that we had both found Agra fairly stressful and a bit uncomfortable at times, despite the amazing places we had seen. When we got to the bus station, S squeezed us for a little bit of extra cash and sent us off with a cheerful paan-stained and aromatic grin as we promised to send more business his way if we ever had friends visiting Agra. It’s true that our visit wouldn’t have been the same without him! Sellappan visibly relaxed as we found our stop, and he bought chocolate to celebrate our triumphant Agra adventure. We boarded the bus to Delhi (big air conditioned Volvo) and settled down to chew over the day as well as the big bar of Dairy Milk.

By the first rest stop we hadn’t slept (it was only just outside of Agra) so Sellappan bought ice creams which we munched on the bus – talk about emotional eating! This new sugary snack trend was most welcome. At some point we dozed off and Delhi appeared, a little later than expected. We got off at the terminus near our hotel (The Southern) and Sellappan got us a rickshaw to cover the last few kilometres.

We finally arrived at the polished front desk at about 11pm, but happily the restaurant was still open, so we had a very southern meal of dosa which was gobbled down quickly! We filled in the millions of required forms and finally got upstairs. Sellappan went to the travel desk to arrange our cab for the next day, and we arranged to get up to leave by 8am. I soaked and washed my filthy feet (sandals) and read a bit more of Three Dog Night before sparking out.

Cadbury Roses

Cadbury Roses are lovely, but there is one drawback for me. Nuts! There’s something for everyone in the big tins of colourful loveliness, but what if the there is no one in your household to eat one particular flavour? Let’s take the merits of the flavours one at a time, for the benefit of people who have never had the pleasure of tasting them. I’m going to take this from the worst to the best.

10. Hazel Whirl

This has small fragments of hazelnut whipped up with chocolate. The ultimate nightmare as the nuts are inextricable from the chocolatey goodness. I would imagine that these would be very popular with nut lovers, but I’m afraid I can’t abide them. These might end up in the bin if no one visits to eat them.

9. Brazilian Darkness 

The brazil nut doesn’t taste of anything, and this is the only dark chocolate themed sweet. Thus, it is saved from being bottom by being edible. But only just! Interesting though that the Cadbury big tin only includes on dark chocolate sweet.

8. Hazel in Caramel

Another one for nut lovers. A chocolate shell filled with runny caramel with a whole hazelnut floating around in there too. This is saved by the fact that the hazelnut is whole, so a whole-tin attempt can be made as long as you don’t mind swallowing hazelnuts whole. Or spitting them out. This is still not one of the good ones.

7. Caramel 

Now we’re in the clear, no nasty surprises lurking. The caramel sweet is very hard caramel with a chocolate coating, it’s very chewy and lasts a long time, but doesn’t really do much for me. The bright blue wrapper doesn’t particularly inspire me either, but it does contribute to the colourful tin.

6. Cadbury Dairy Milk

Delicious of course, but perfectly accessible in its very own massive bar. Why is this in here? Still, it’s very tasty as all Dairy Milk is. Perhaps best described as a filler. I’m not sure who might pick this as a number one, but perhaps those people are out there… Sometimes you think you have more of these than you actually do and can be disappointed!

5. Country Fudge 

An unusual choice but very tasty. Light airy fudge with a chocolate coating. I’m surprised that it comes so high on my list, but it’s still very firmly a middle choice. The fudge itself is exactly the same fudge sweet that you find in the Cadbury Heroes, just in a different wrapper.

4. Caramel Velvet

This one is in sparse company, with three elements rather than just a flavour/shell combo. A small amount of runny caramel with some lighter chocolate mousse underneath, coated in chocolate. It has a little extra something over the hard caramel. Very tasty and melts in the mouth. Not sure about the green though.

3. Golden Barrel

Now it’s getting good as we’re in the top three. There is nothing especially world-shaking about this sweet, it is just like a generous square of Cadbury Caramel. Plenty of caramel wrapped in chocolate. These used to be Caramel Keg in the distant past.

2. Tangy Orange Creme

It’s a close second – on another day it may well have been first. The Tangy Orange Creme has a velvety orange melty fondant with a lovely strong orange flavour. Some people think they taste of the children’s medicine Calpol. The bright orange wrapper is begging to be removed! I usually end up eating one of these between each of the number one sweets…

1. Strawberry Dream 

The winner… today. The strawberry dream is a lovely creamy strawberry fondant with just the right balance of chocolate casing to keep it in. These are always gone first. Things that are bright pink don’t usually attract me but in this case it’s like a moth to a flame. Visitors choosing these do so at their own risk!

The big tin actually has a very good balance between all of the sweets, though you never seem to get the same number of each in a tin. I wish that one day a factory error will give me a tin containing only the top three. I’d settle for the top five. Which is your favourite?