This week is a big one for my beloved Birmingham City. We have the first leg of the League Cup Semi Final on Tuesday against Wet Spam and an early morning clash with bitter rivals Aston Vile on Sunday. A make or break week of the season I think you would agree.

This got me thinking about what kinds of foods are synonymous with Birmingham.
It’s well known for its curries due to the large population of Indians and Pakistani’s but Internationally I think that HP Sauce {which was located in Aston not London although it does have a picture of the Houses of Parliament on the front, hence the name HP. I guess HP sauce would sell better than AS sauce} and of course Cadburys which is located in what was once the Quaker town of Bournville.

Bournville is a model village on the south side of Birmingham, England, best known for its connections with the Cadbury family and chocolate – including a dark chocolate bar branded "Bournville". It is also a ward within the council constituency of Selly Oak {which is fondly known as ‘smelly oak’ to the locals} and home to Cadburys chocolate factory.

John Cadbury was born in Birmingham to Richard Tapper Cadbury, who was from a wealthy Quaker family that moved to the area from the west of England. As a Quaker in the early 19th century, he was not allowed to enter a university, so could not pursue a profession such as medicine or law. As Quakers are pacifist, a military career was also out of the question. So, like many other Quakers of the time, he turned his energies toward business and began an apprenticeship as a tea dealer in Leeds in 1818.

Returning to Birmingham in 1824, Cadbury opened a small one-man grocery shop at 93 Bull Street. In 1831, he switched his business and rented a small factory (an old malthouse) in Crooked Lane to begin the manufacture of drinking chocolate and cocoa.

Cadbury was influenced in his choice of trade by his temperance beliefs – he felt alcohol was a major cause of poverty and other social ills, and saw cocoa and chocolate as alternatives. As a social reformer, he also led a campaign to ban the use of child labour for sweeping chimneys and campaigned against animal cruelty, forming the Animals Friend Society, a forerunner of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Meanwhile, Cadbury’s manufacturing enterprise prospered, his brother Benjamin joined the business in 1847 and they rented a larger factory on Bridge Street. Two years later, in 1849, the Cadbury brothers pulled out of the retail business, leaving it in the hands of John's sons, Richard and George Cadbury.
Having taken over from their father John Cadbury's expanding business, George and Richard Cadbury needed to move their cocoa and chocolate factory from Bridge Street in central Birmingham to a green field site to allow for expansion.

Cadbury were reliant on the canals for milk delivery, and on the railways for cocoa deliveries from the ports of London and Southampton. They therefore need a site which was undeveloped and had easy access to both canal and rail. In 1861The brothers noticed the proposed development of the Birmingham West Suburban Railway, which would extend from central Birmingham south along the path of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal into the then green fields of southern Birmingham and the villages of northern Worcestershire.

One of the things I remember about Cadburys from friends who worked there was that they let you have as much chocolate as you want. Apparently in the first 3 months or so of working there people would stuff themselves and their pockets with chocolate but after a while they were sick to death of the stuff so the incenses of theft were virtually zero!
So now you know a bit about Birmingham’s link with chocolate, let’s make a pudding.


A really rich, velvety smooth mousse for special occasions. Like beating the Villa!


Serves 5 or 6

4 egg yolks
4oz caster sugar
½ pint milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp gelatin
1 tbs instant coffee
4oz Cadbury Bournville chocolate {see below for availability but you can substitute any dark chocolate}
½ pint double cream
6 Cadbury Flakes {down here in Miami I can get these from Publix, you guys will have to go to Myers of Keswick on Hudson St.}
You will also need:

A piping bag and star nozzle and 5-6 glasses

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together well.
Heat the milk and essence almost to boiling point, then whisk slowly on to the eggs.
Pour into a pan and stir the custard over a low heat until thickened a little, but do not allow it to boil.
Sprinkle gelatin over the hot custard and allow it to dissolve before straining to ensure it is quite smooth.
Melt the chocolate together with the coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water.
Whisk into the custard.
Cool before folding in the lightly whipped cream.
Refrigerate until beginning to set, then pipe or spoon the mousse into the glasses. Decorate with Flake or a chocolate decoration.
Serve chilled.

Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road. Since her trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the Navajo woman if she would like a ride. With a silent nod of thanks, the woman got into the car. Resuming the journey, Sally tried in vain to make a bit of small talk with the Navajo woman. The old woman just sat silently, looking intently at everything she saw, studying every little detail, until she noticed a white bag on the seat next to Sally. "What in bag?" asked the old woman. Sally looked down at the white bag and said, "It's a box of chocolates. I got it for my husband". The Navajo woman was silent for another moment or two. Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder, she said: "Good trade."

“Keep right on”