During the festive season, we are blessed to spend time with friends and family. Christmas day, in particular, we gather together sharing food, love, gifts and laughter; so it’s fitting that we compliment that with a beautiful Christmas Table. You may want to start with an amazing cracker set from CaRRoL BoYeS. These crackers contain gifts you will want to keep, a little bit of an upgrade from last years mini cards or mood fish, and a delightful addition to any Christmas table. I love that these are items you will love and use (and that will last) rather than items we will add to landfills.

CaRRoL BoYeS Christmas Crackers

Cherish good times and loved ones with a designer Gift Cracker Set. Four luxury signature crackers each containing a premium stainless steel flatware utensil. An exquisite set of crackers perfect for festive table settings or as individual gifts.

https://carrolboyes.com/za/catalogsearch/result/?q=crackers

We can then add a centrepiece which can be anything from fresh green foliage to a Mervyn Gers Ceramic piece. Internationally renowned for their one-of-a-kind ceramic pieces, and handmade dinnerware, Mervyn Gers Ceramics was founded in 2011. With 13 kilns and employing over 47 staff, the company is a sustainable job creation success story that continuously expands its offering to both industry and households. We love this addition to our Christmas table, but we also love that by purchasing a Mervyn Gers piece, you are supporting a South African business.

Mervyn Gers Ceramics

In celebration of one of the most recognised South African artists of the twenty-first century, Mervyn Gers Ceramics will offer a limited range of Battiss-inspired platters and bowls in time for the festive season.

Walter Battiss (1906 – 1982) was regarded as one of South Africa’s first and most important abstract painters. Known as the creator of the quirky “Fook Island” concept, Battiss was strongly influenced by African art, especially Bushman paintings, which he also studied extensively. Born into an English Methodist family in Somerset East, he became known as the gentle anarchist. His joie de vivre, appreciation of beauty and. . .the human form earned him recognition across the world, and his paintings and graphics are enjoying renewed interest with contemporary art lovers.

Says Mervyn Gers: “Battiss was a very interesting man who lived life to the fullest. He left a myriad of extraordinary art works that we could draw inspiration from. We used elements from his prints that were transferred onto bespoke, handmade large bowls and platters.”

Each of the platters and bowls, which pass through 22 pairs of hands, will be numbered and exclusively available online at www.mervyngers.com or from the Mervyn Gers studio from December this year. They also make amazing gifts!

Gers concludes: “We thoroughly enjoyed working with The Walter Battiss Company to recreate a limited edition of his well-known images on large platters and bowls. Due to its abstract lines, his art translates beautifully into ceramics. Personally, I think this is a one-of-a-kind gift to yourself, friends and family. It’s set to become collectors’ items as every bowl or platter is numbered and will give the new owner years of enjoyment!”

. . .and how about an edible addition to our Christmas table? The okja brand have launched a Chocolate Hazelnut spread that I just love! It is literally one of my favourite hazelnut spreads! The flavour is more than just sugar, it doesn’t taste fake, but it is also still rich and delicious.

okja Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

My daughter and I had so much fun making this edible Christmas tree with their chocolate hazelnut spread.

How to Make this okja Edible Chocolate Christmas Tree

  1. Lay out two pieces of raw puff pastry.
  2. Cover each in okja Chocolate Hazelnut spread on one side.
  3. Put the two pieces together, okja spread facing inwards.
  4. Cut out a tree shape from the raw pastry sandwich.
  5. Slice the raw pastry every 1-2cm on either side, leaving the ‘trunk’ intact.
  6. Twist each “branch” (this is messy fun for kids, they will love it!)
  7. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 25 – 45 minutes (depending on the size of the tree and your oven).

But hold on. . .how is it that in 2021 the current Chocolate Hazelnut Spreads on offer have more palm oil in them than hazelnuts? okja, the clean label plant-based food and beverage brand from Cape Town has just welcomed a new addition to their range, Chocolate Hazelnut Spread. . .Glancing at the label, one immediately notices the lack of palm oil – a controversial ingredient in most other chocolate hazelnut spreads available. It also of course contains no dairy or flavourings.

Swing by your local baker, grab a warm, freshly baked croissant and (let’s be honest, you’ll want more bread to spread) sourdough, your pot of Chocolate Hazelnut spread from okja, your best friend or a stranger, sit down and enjoy one. . .two. . .five bites of pure chocolatey, nutty, goodness.

The brand (was) launched in 2019 by serial founders, Rui Esteves and David Chait. . .with its iconic range of oat milks in bright and bold packaging. Visit any popular coffee shop or deli in Cape Town CBD and it’ll be hard to miss their signature blue cartons lined across countertops and shelves.

okja Chocolate Hazelnut Spread is available from Takealot, selected SPAR stores, Faithful to Nature, as well as popular delis such as Giovannis. It is also available from the okja café in Camps Bay.

Whatever your Christmas table looks like, make sure your main ingredient in its preparation is love. Enjoy each moment of preparation, and learn to delight in the imperfections (like our leaning Christmas tree). At the end of the day, all we have are our families, our friends, our faith, and the memories. Life is too short, make those memories count!

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