As last year's To Market To Market giveaway was such a big hit that I couldn't help but be persuaded to do it again. It's a bit time consuming but when I receive the lovely emails from winners, it makes it all worth it and I am now going to do a quarterly giveaway, perhaps themed with a holiday that falls within that quarter. And given the timing, for this season it is all about Valentines Day. If the day has perhaps slipped your mind, it falls of February 14th and I have got an amazing list of spectacular goodies and experiences for you this year!
Whenever I need to buy chocolate gifts, I will usually head to Coco Chocolates to find something. Not only is their chocolate delicious and organic but their designs are superb and you can find something to suit pretty much anyone. Allow me to demonstrate with two of Coco's most gorgeous chocolates - the pink Marc de Champagne truffles and the Tattoo box of chocolates. The Marc de Champagne truffles are made of a fresh cream dark chocolate truffle with champagne, enrobed in white then pink chocolate. The Tattoo chocolates are solid milk, white and dark chocolate with nautical tattoo artwork. The artworks are in cocoa butter so they are completely edible and gorgeous. They come in a Betty Page inspired box for future keepsakes!
Thanks to Coco Chocolate, five lucky Not Quite Nigella readers will receive either the Marc de Champagne chocolates (worth $25) or a large box of Tattoo chocolates (worth $40) - it's your choice!
When you give a gift to someone, you want them to catch their breath while they are opening it. And that's exactly what I did when Teresa Vanni sent me some of her small batch cookies, made with love. The idea for her artisan cookie business came from adversity. Six years ago she was diagnosed with MCS (hypersensitivity to perfumes and chemicals) and would often dream about iced cookies from the confines of her bed. Nowadays she bakes her cookies and panforte fresh for special occasions and these are stocked at Farmhouse Direct.
Thanks to Cookie Love, three lucky Not Quite Nigella readers will receive a prize! The first two winners will receive a Roses gift tin with 2 dozen rose cookies (worth $59.90) while the third winner will win a gift pack containing a Panforte Nero (worth $27.90) and a Garden of Love cookie box (worth $27.90)!
Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney
My ideal Valentines Day would involve afternoon tea in some way. I love the gentle calm of an afternoon tea and the ritual of sipping tea and talking. And the dainty sandwiches and food don't go astray. The Shangri-La is one of Sydney's best 5 star hotels with some of the most amazing views of Sydney harbour. I can while away hours staring out at the view, nibbling on a scone and sipping tea. But the Shangri-La's afternoon tea is far from ordinary thanks to Anna Polyviou the executive pastry chef. You might have a macaron with a syringe sticking out of it or you may have a "tin" of prawn cocktail! I was lucky enough to have afternoon tea in the club lounge upstairs and the food was matched by the gorgeous view!
Thanks to the Shangri-La Hotel, two lucky Not Quite Nigella readers will win an afternoon tea experience for two in the Club Lounge! This is a money can't buy experience as you cannot normally have the afternoon tea in the Club Lounge! These are valid for 6 months.
One of my favourite memories when visiting New Zealand is an afternoon we had berry picking. We picked so many that we could barely eat them quickly enough. Anathoth is a New Zealand based brand where buyers can see exactly where they buy their fruit from - if it isn't from New Zealand because of supply they will tell you where it comes from. The jam itself is fantastic, using whole fruit with a great texture. It reminds me of a home made jam as there is no pectin, preservatives, colour or flavour added. There are also pickles, chutneys and relishes in the range too. And for Valentines Day they have a fantastic six pack of jams available called "Spread The Love" where you can pick six flavours and they arrive with a teatowel and a Laguiole spreader!
Thanks to Anathoth Jams, five lucky Not Quite Nigella readers will receive a "Spread The Love" pack (worth $42.95) where you will get to choose the six flavours that you want!
By now I think most people will have heard about the benefits of green tea but did you know the difference between green tea and matcha? Matcha is the ground green tea powder made from 100% pure green tea leaf. It is stone ground so that unlike green tea leaves where they are steeped in water, you ingest the whole leaf and all of the associated benefits. It is also central to the Japanese tea ceremony. Alex Stewart the founder of Mista Matcha sources his ceremonial grade matcha from the Nishio region in the Aichi prefecture in Japan. He pairs this with a bamboo whisk and a traditional matcha scoop in a gorgeous tea set.
Thanks to Mista Matcha, one lucky Not Quite Nigella reader will receive a Mista Matcha Tea Set worth $74.95!
Love From Mudgee
We recently visited Mudgee and two brands that we loved were Hello Lovelies cordials and Linda's Chilli Relishes. Hello Lovelies cordials are made in small batches with seasonal fruit, vegetables and foraged herbs and all ingredients are local to Mudgee. The water doesn't come from a treatment plant, instead it is pure rainwater and the only thing to keep nasties out is citric acid. It comes in delicious flavours like "Oh Regina" (Gooree Park oranges, cinnamon, clove and ginger) and "Lola" (Mudgee cherries, fennel, black tea and spices). Linda's chilli relishes are also made in Mudgee and she makes four varieties of Sweet Chilli Relish and a Luscious Hot Chocolate Sauce. The only preservatives in these award winning products are white vinegar and sugar and they are also gluten free and low in sodium. The hot chocolate sauce even has a hint of chilli giving new meaning to the name hot chocolate sauce!
Thanks to Hello Lovelies and Linda's Chilli Relishes, one lucky Not Quite Nigella readers will receive a pack containing the Oh Regina and Lola cordials and the hot chocolate sauce!
Manly Sea Life Sanctuary Shark Dive
I've saved you something rather thrilling for the end and this is one of those experiences that you definitely want to have with your nearest and dearest! One winner and their partner will get to dive with sharkes at Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary’s four million litre Oceanarium. They will SCUBA dive with huge 3+ metre Grey Nurse Sharks! It is suitable for beginners up to the experienced and includes all dive equipment and training, a 30 minute dive in 'Shark Harbour, free entry to Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary, pptional in-water photography and a de-brief & certificate. This is one of the most popular events with weekends selling out months in advance!
Thanks to Manly Sea Life Sanctuary, one lucky Not Quite Nigella reader will receive a gift certificate for two intro dives worth $560 (walk in price)! These are valid for 6 months.
So Dear Readers, please leave a comment as to which item you would like to try and why and you could be receiving it in the mail just in time for Valentines Day! The competition closes at midnight AEST 8th of February 2015 and is open to anyone within Australia! Thanks again to these generous brands Coco Chocolate, Cookie Love, Shangri-La Hotel, Anathoth Jams, Mista Matcha, Hello Lovelies, Linda's Chilli Relishes and Manly Sea Life Sanctuary for providing the fantastic prizes!
Lots of love,
The winners are:
Coco Chocolates - Tim G., Randal Mc., Nikki Mc, Yvonne K. and Stephanie C.
Cookie Love - Jennifer M. (roses), Amy F. (roses) and Bella (Garden of Love)
Shangri-La - Brad Mc. and Taylor B.
Anathoth - Pamela, Amy A., Tess U., Erin R., and Brooke L.
Mista Matcha - Pippa T.
Hello Lovelies and Linda's Chilli Relishes - Linda A.
Manly Sea Life - Ivana T.