Bake cupcakes in the same time it takes to make coffee
Yes, it’s really true. With Giles and Posner’s New Cupcake Maker, this dream can become a reality, having mini cupcakes ready in minutes. If you’re really good at multi-tasking, make icing while your cupcakes bake and your coffee percolates, to set up a gourmet tea-time treat in moments (made even easier thanks to the free recipe book that comes with it). Launched in November, it’s sure to be the perfect Christmas present, especially thanks to its perfect price of £19.99.

Oxford Christmas market returns to Oxford Castle
After all, there’s only 82 days left until Christmas, and it’s never too early to get excited about all that yummy Christmas food. Running from the 26th November to the 12th December, the Oxford Christmas Market, hosted at Oxford Castle in the historic city centre, will not only offer traditional seasonal gifts and decorations but will also be packed with edible festive treats, including gingerbread, gourmet fudge, roasted nuts, liqueurs, sausages and chutneys. Let the Christmas magic commence!

Dark chocolate and lime pickle: the perfect combination, or a culinary disaster?
In My Secret Kitchen‘s newest range of truffle pots ready for the autumn/winter season, they’ve added some flavours with a twist, which can be stirred into hot milk for a hot chocolate to remember, melted to make a divine chocolate sauce, or made into real truffles to enjoy. The newest come in three varieties, including not only the new Dark Chocolate and Lime Pickle combo but also the perhaps more traditional Mulled Orange with Milk Chocolate and Vanilla Egg Nog with White Chocolate. The company also offers “cheese ball” mixes, such as their Black Forest Mix, which can be used to create decadent cheesecakes. A gastronomic delight, or a fridge too far? Visit http://www.mysecretkitchen.co.uk for more info.

Olives from Spain
The Spanish chef José Pizarro has been appointed the official ambassador for Olives from Spain (the country’s premier conglomerate for the export of its olives). To kickstart the association, six new recipes have been launched by the chef, including Grilled Tuna With Roast Tomatoes, and Chorizo and Black Olive Pizza. To get the full recipes, visit http://www.olivesfromspain.co.uk.

Choctoberfest!
Do you really need an excuse? Just in case you did, 11-17 October is officially Chocolate Week (as if Halloween and Thanksgiving didn’t already have the potential to ruin our waistlines). Loads of chocolatey events will be going on all over the UK at this time, culminating in the Chocolate Unwrapped show at Vinopolis on October 16-17. Artisan du Chocolat, La Maison du Chocolat, Hotel Chocolat, Divine, and Thorntons are just a few of the retailers taking part in promotions and events for Chocolate Week, and Brown’s Hotel will even be offering chocolate pedicures in their spa. For all of the chocolatey goodness that will be on offer, visit http://www.chocolate-week.co.uk.

Wishing you an olivary October (and a chocolatey one too, come to that!).

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