Well, we now have both shops open again, and I hope that we won't find ourselves in a similar position again for a while. So thank you for your forbearance.
A few weeks ago, back at the end of June, one of our longest standing suppliers, Paul Hargreaves, came to see me for the first time in ages and we had a very pleasant and interesting discussion on subjects various, often nothing to do with the business. When the conversation did eventually turn to more prosaic matters, he reminded me that I had shown more than a passing interest in his range of dinner table candles, that we’d seen at the trade show earlier that month. I say dinner table to distinguish them from the plethora of oddly shaped things that people set fire to these days. And, to cut a long story short, we have now just received our first delivery from him, and rather appealing I think they are too.
Made in Denmark (as opposed to the Far East) by a company called Cidex. You might be forgiven for thinking that being one of the highest wage earning countries in Europe, they are unlikely to be able to produce them at an economic rate.
But, on listening to Paul's description of the factory, I began to understand why this company is so successful. The raw material they use is called Salt Wax, plus a form of refined paraffin wax (the type that, I believe, is used in makeup for instance ). Everything in the factory has been automated to the hilt, and it transpires that there are only two people there at any one time; and this is a place that can produce 80 million candles a year!
If you’re a bit of a nerd you can watch the video to see I mean. I thoroughly enjoyed it and actually watched it twice, so I suppose that makes me one.
What they don’t show in the video, is that they make the dinner candles in one long "log" which is, apparently about a mile long. This is then chopped up into individual candles and the top is put through something akin to a lathe, which exposes the wick (which is, apparently, 100% cotton…no, I wasn’t sure why that was of interest either?) and produces a traditional pointed top to the candle. They have a burn time of 12-14 hours (in still, indoor conditions, i.e. not in a draught, near a window or outside) The colours are luscious and/or subtle and there are 20 of them from which to choose.
They retail for £1.50 each or, if you buy 6 candles you pay for only 5 (that's £1.25 per candle, £7.50 for 6). If you buy 12 candles, you pay for 9 (that’s £1.13 per candle). I did this maths for you to save your mental arithmetic. If, by chance, you want 24 candles then that would cost you £24 dead. If this morning you're suffering from a Friday night excess, then that is £1 a candle.
In summary then
• Made from Salt Wax and refined Paraffin Wax
• Coloured all the way through, (not Dipped as you see pillar candles in the video)
• Wick is 100% cotton
• Burn time 12-14 hours (proviso, see text)
• 20 Colours to choose from
• Retail for £1.50, - singles
• Retail for £7.50, - 6’s (Get 6 pay for only 5)
• Retail for £13.50, - 12’s (Get 12 pay for only 9)
Another day, Another blunder
It looks as though I’ve made another of my buying over enthusiasms (polite term for mistake) and overestimated the demand for a very well priced Le Creuset 27cm Oval Risotto Pot.
So, I ventured down into the shop on Friday morning to seek advice in how to sell the idea of these pots or casseroles to you. Paul, ably assisted by Em, then started to fantasise about all the dishes that they could think of, that they’d do in such an animal. Paul’s first thought was Ragu, at which point the thought of onions chopped and fried in the bottom of the pot, then minced beef, fried to brown and tomato puree, garlic, thyme and a good glass or two of red wine, and I found myself, even at that time in the morning, mouth salivating and mind gone elsewhere! (admittedly I hadn’t had my breakfast)
Le Creuset Oval Risotto Pot 3.4l (7 Pints) in Volcanic, Cerise, or Black
Anyway, the list of uses went on and to begin with the conversation revolved around why oval, and what can you do in an oval that can’t in a round? Well, Lamb Shanks, a Rolled Lambs breast, and Chicken Thighs were the first ideas. And it then continued into a free for all that included Ham Hocks, Peach Crumble, Apple and Bramble Crumble, Bread Pudding (another pause for fantasy…sticky, but otherwise clean!), and lastly good for making bread, which may surprise you, but Babette made bread in Le Creuset casseroles on a number of occasions, very successfully.
I suppose as the name suggests you could even use it for Risotto? Oh and one last observation, food always looks good in a wide or large shallow casserole…not sure why, but it does.
So, there you have it, another multipurpose casserole from my chums at Le Creuset. Its RRP is £260. Our rather generous offer for you this weekend is £139.00, which is not a lot more than half price. Use Code BUYINGOOPS if shopping on line, and just tell us who you are if coming into Cobham or Reigate this weekend.
That’s it for this week.
I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful weekend that is full of sunshine. That’s going to be our aim!
One last thought for you, from the pen of AA Milne, which if you’re lucky, you may be able to do today and tomorrow.
”People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day”.