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by Ilze's Chocolat 07 May, 2017
Now that the summer season is about to start, most of us are looking for things to do outside of our normal workplace, activities that would perhaps develop a new skill, provide relaxation or create a setting for friendships to develop. And what better way to achieve all three those things than to participate in a chocolate or macaroon workshop!

Ilze has been offering chocolate and macaroon workshops for several years, with great success. The formula is very simple: the workshops are usually held on a Saturday in Northwood, Middlesex, and numbers are limited to no more than 6 to 8 at a time. That way, there is enough space and time for all to be able to actively participate and to received personal assistance in the learning process. And of course, it would be hard to fit more people around a normal dining room table!

So how does this work? Usually we start at 10 am on a Saturday with a cup of tea or coffee and an introduction to what would be done on the day, as well as an explanation of the recipes that would be used. We then go through the preparation steps together: we will show you and you will actively participate. The setting is relaxed; no competition, no rush. If we are not able to have a good conversation while we are working, we are probably going too fast! Somewhere around 2 pm, we break for a sit-down lunch; usually by that time most students welcome the opportunity to relax over a meal! 

For the chocolate workshop, we will also include a basic tasting session, to sensitise your taste buds to the important differences between "real" (couverture) chocolate and the more inferior "bake stable" chocolate products. We also want to make you aware of the different "tastes" of the chocolate and how you can use it in the preparation of fillings (ganaches) for our chocolates.

Finally: whatever you make during the workshop, you get to take home!

Please note: During May 2017, we will be running a special offer for our customers who have signed up to our "My Treat" programme: Enrol three participants on a workshop and pay for only two. Why not sign up to "My Treat" now? 
 
 

  
by Ilze's Chocolat 19 Mar, 2017
by Ilze's Chocolat 10 Mar, 2017
Mother's Day or Mothering Sunday will be celebrated on 26th March this year. And already, many of us have started to think about an appropriate gift to show our appreciation - or to apologise for the fact that, too often, we have not been around frequently enough.

So what do people typically buy their mothers? It seems that flowers, chocolates, beauty treatments and alcohol are still the most popular gifts. Last year, the average spend on such gifts in the UK was reported to have been around £30 and there is no reason why that number will be going down in 2017.  And of course the card that goes with the gift will be almost as important, if not more, than the gift itself.

Normally though, no gift will be as much appreciated than spending time with mother on this day. And this is where we have a suggestion to make: Of course Ilze's Chocolat have the ideal chocolate gifts available : handcrafted so that the individual chocolates are not only works of art, but actually have the vibrant taste that says: "we do not use any preservatives". These chocolates are for mum, and she should enjoy them at her own leisure - they last up to 6 weeks! But why not combine the chocolates with an Ilze's Gift Box of 9 Macaroons - to be enjoyed with mum on the day with a cup of tea or coffee. Or better even, a large macaroon with a message , as in the photograph above?

A gift box of 24 of Ilze's Signature Range chocolates and a gift box of 9 macaroons (or a large macaroon with the message) will  make a total of £33.30. However, if you sign up to our " My Treat " programme, you will receive a discount code that offers you 15% off that amount. 

Finally, if you want us to do all the heavy lifting, here is what you should do:

1. Select the gift(s) that you want us to send to your special mother on our website and make sure that they are in your online shopping bag;

2. (If you select the large macaroon, don't forget to tell us the maximum 12 characters message that you want us to put in chocolate on the macaroon);

3. Select a card that you want  us to include with gift, and remember to also tell us which message we should hand-write in your card for you. On that same page, tell us which date we should send off the gift (leaving time for it to travel to its destination) and any other packaging instructions you may want to select on this page;

4. Finally, during the checkout process, remember to use the code that we have sent to your mobile via text, if you are a "My Treat" member, and ensure that the correct discount is applied to your purchase;

5. And we will do the rest.
by Ilze's Chocolat 31 Jan, 2017
During the run-up to Christmas, we had a special offer to encourage our loyal customers to place their orders early. Because this worked so well, we are now going to do the same for Valentine's Day. The idea is that we encourage you to book your Valentine's gift of Ilze's macaroons or chocolates early, in order to allow us to plan our preparation work around you. In the past, we have often had to "close shop" early, disappointing some of you. To avoid that this year, we offer you a 10% discount if you place your orders for our gift boxes of macaroons or chocolates before 7th February, and specify a dispatch date for the week before Valentine's Day.

All you need to do is this: (1) Make your selection on our website ( these are the gifts that would qualify for a discount ); (2) Visit our Gift Cards, Wrapping and Delayed Shipping page, where you can select a greetings card to go with the gift, enter the message that you want us to hand-write in the card, and don't forget to pick the date on which you would like us to dispatch your order (do remember to allow enough time for delivery): (3) Finally, during the checkout process, apply the Coupon Code "VALENTINES", which will ensure that a 10% discount is applied to your order.

Please remember that if you order macaroons, they are good for only about a week from the date of dispatch. 

That's all you need to do, we will take it from there.
by Ilze's Chocolat 21 Jan, 2017
There will be many mass produced chocolate products on offer as Valentine's Day approaches. But, as always, the really memorable gift will be one that is exclusive and that says: "I have put some thought into selecting this gift".

Our chocolates are handcrafted and because of that, only a certain volume can be produced for a special event such as Valentine's Day. And because we do not use preservatives, we cannot make them and stockpile months in advance. However, we now have the website functionality that allows you to pre-order and effectively book your special Valentine's gift early, such that we can schedule the preparation of your gift now and ensure that there will not be any disappointment.

So how should you do this? First, you should select the special gift that you want to give. Here are some suggestions.  Once you have picked your gift, go to the " Gift Cards, Wrapping and Delayed Shipping " page in our webstore. Here, you can select one of our gift cards if you want (we will write your message on the card by hand), or choose to have a message written on our complimentary card, or you can leave out the card. Once you have decided about the gift card option, you will then be presented with the opportunity to select the date upon which we should dispatch your gift.

Bear in mind that dispatch date is not the same as delivery date and so you have to allow time for delivery. If you want to ensure that the gift will be delivered on Valentine's Day, we would suggest that you select 13th February as dispatch date, and then select the next business day delivery option during checkout. 

So, here we give you the opportunity to book your gift (and select a card), already prepare the message, and determine when it will be delivered. That means, Valentine's Day could be sorted right now!
by Ilze's Chocolat 02 Dec, 2016
Ilze's Chocolat have a substantial number of regular customers, people who frequently place their order for a special chocolate treat or for macaroons. Of course we appreciate these customers very much and we feel that we want to give you something in return. That is why we have created the "my treat" concept. With "my treat" you will get a text message reminder to order your special monthly treat, and with a simple tap on the link on your smartphone you will be taken straight to the treat on special offer.

So what do you have to do? Go to our " My Treat " page and register your interest. You only have to tell us which week week of the month you would like to receive a text message from us, and then proceed through the checkout as normal, remembering to add your mobile phone number during the secure checkout process. There is no cost involved in registering! We will then send you a text message during your chosen week every month, to tell you which products are on special offer for you that month and you will be given a coupon code for your exclusive use.

Then, if you enter the coupon code during checkout, the discount will be applied to your purchase of the product(s) on special offer. Sometimes we may be running other special offers at the same time, but make sure that you use your "my treat" coupon code, because this would normally give you the greater discount.
by Ilze's Chocolat 18 Nov, 2016
Here at Ilze's Chocolat, we are preparing for a busy Christmas season. If our recent order activity is any indication, last year's business will feel like a walk in the park compared to the work that is likely to lie ahead for us in December. For this reason, for the first time this year we will be taking the step to encourage our regular customers to book your Christmas present orders for Ilze's macaroons and chocolates early, in order to allow us to plan our preparation work around you. In the past, we have often had to "close shop" early, disappointing some of you. To avoid that this year, we offer you a 10% discount if you place your orders for our gift boxes of macaroons or chocolates before the end of November, and specify a dispatch date for sometime in December.

All you need to do is this: (1) Make your selection on our website ( these are the gifts that would qualify for a discount ); (2) Visit our Gift Cards, Wrapping and Delayed Shipping page, where you can select a greetings card to go with the gift, enter the message that you want us to hand-write in the card, and don't forget to pick the date on which you would like us to dispatch your order (do remember to allow enough time for delivery): (3) Finally, during the checkout process, apply the Coupon Code "XMASRUSH", which will ensure that a 10% discount is applied to your order.

Please remember that if you order macaroons, they are good for only about a week from the date of dispatch. 

That's all you need to do, we will take it from there on the date that you have chosen during December.
by Ilze's Chocolat 28 Oct, 2016
Did you know that, in addition to producing very unique artisan chocolates and macaroons, we also offer a personalised gift service?

Here is how it works: When you choose a box of chocolates or macaroons from Ilze's Chocolat, you can leave all of the work of preparing the gift and getting it to the recipient, to us. We will wrap the gift in the wrapping paper of your choice, we will write your message to the recipient by hand on the card of your choice, and we will dispatch the gift to the address that you specify, without including an invoice or indication of the price. All you need to do is give us the instructions, choose the options and the gift card, and we will take care of the rest. And it is all done with care and by hand!

We have now even added some cute message cards (for example, "A Little Something To Say Sorry") that you can select, and that we will attach to the gift box.

A great gift starts with desirable content: chocolates or macaroons that taste exceptional and that looks special. Have a look at our chocolate gifts or macaroon box selections - the look is as exquisite as the taste. Do not forget to also look at the boxes themselves; we use specially designed packaging that is striking and exceptional. Not your usual boring black chocolate box, but rather something that is different and happy.

And for a small extra fee, you can make your own selection of the chocolate flavours or macaroon flavours that you would like in the gift box. So no more chocolate boxes where the last few flavours are left behind, because nobody wants them! By the way, if you want to see how our signature range chocolates (the ones we put in the signature boxes) look, please go to the Gallery .

So once you have chosen your gift (and the contents!), have a look at the gift cards that we have available. Or if you do not fancy any of those, you can also choose to include an Ilze's Chocolat branded greeting card. Either way, once you have made your choice of card, you can type in the message you want us to hand-write on the card, select the wrapping paper and message sticker and indicate whether we should exclude the invoice from the parcel.

It is all done online in one short session, and we do the rest. You will have to look far to find a personalised service that is so easy to use.

  
by Ilze's Chocolat 23 Oct, 2016
We are proud to announce the eighteenth "child" in our macaroon family!  We are constantly thinking of new flavours that our clients would enjoy and this launch makes us quite excited - we cannot wait to hear your feedback!

Ilze is particularly fond of citrus fruit, from the time when she was picking oranges and mandarines (we referred to them as "naartjies" in South Africa) as a child in the orchard of the farm on which she grew up.  For her it has a more distinctive taste than an orange and she felt that she could capture it very well in a filling for a new macaroon. ( Wikipedia points out that there are actually two ways to write the name of this delicious citrus fruit: both "mandarin" and "mandarine" would do. We opted for mandarine, which not only distinguishes the fruit from the language, but also somehow is more consistent with the spelling of tangerine, which is a related fruit.)

Because Ilze was introduced to a wide variety of fruit from an early age, she developed a real love for fruit and always felt very strongly about capturing "real" flavours and not chemically derived imitations (even if it means that our products have a shorter shelf-life). 

With this addition we now have eight macaron fruit flavours, namely blueberry, apricot, lemon, raspberry, mango and orange, passion fruit, strawberry and mandarine. 

Which are our most popular flavours, you might ask? As always, this is a very personal thing and some flavour preferences are "seasonal" or more popular for occasions such  as weddings. Chocolate and Hazelnut are "warmer", comfort tastes, and therefore might be more popular in winter, while "sharper" flavours like lemon could be more  popular during warmer months. Nevertheless, from what we see other clients select, we could suggest that you include the following flavours in your selection:  Raspberry, Rock Salt, Vanilla, Hazelnut, English Toffee, Lemon and Pistachio.

Having said that, as we are now experiencing the first chills of winter, a fruity flavour may be just what is required to take you back to those glorious summer days, so why not try the Mandarine?
by Ilze's Chocolat 26 Sep, 2016
Somewhat surprisingly, many prospective buyers are still calling or writing to us to ask about ordering macaroons online, even after we here at Ilze's Chocolat have been serving satisfied customers online for years.

Nevertheless, we can understand the concern of people that ask such questions: Real French macaroons, or as some prefer, macarons, need to be enjoyed fresh, have to be refrigerated and they are extremely sensitive to rough handling during dispatch. If this sounds like an impossible mix of requirements, we are confident that we have now put the required amount of energy and effort into addressing the requirements and we very rarely get any feedback of damage or spoilage of any kind.

So what are the important ingredients of what we do to ensure that you get your macaroons fresh and in good condition?

Firstly, we make our macaroons on order. That means that we do not fulfil from stock that we keep in the fridge or anywhere else. That means that if you place your order after 10 in the morning, we are not able to send your order off the same day. But of course, for the assurance that you get them fresh, you will probably make sure that we get that order by 10.

Secondly, we use only the choicest ingredients, ingredients that we have proven will deliver the best macaroons. And we do not try to extend their shelf life by adding preservatives that would affect the taste. In fact, we do not add preservatives at all.

Thirdly, we refrigerate them and then seal them in packaging that would keep the temperature during the time that they travel.

And talking about packaging, it took as a long time to find packaging that is both secure and funky. We performed our own "drop tests", and tested Royal Mail by sending numerous parcels to ourselves. And we were only satisfied once we succeeded in getting EVERY package right, EVERY time. Which means that it takes some extraordinary bad handling for the macaroons to arrive damaged.

And then there is the actual sending of your parcel: We use Royal Mail tracked services, which means that we are able to track the progress of your precious parcel until it arrives safely in your hands.

Is it worth all this trouble? YES, every time we get a satisfied customer giving us positive feedback, we know!   

 
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