WI Newsletter – March 2007

Those of you who read this newsletter each month will know how much we were looking forward to welcoming Barbara Parker of Parkers Handmade Cakes & Chocolates to our March meeting.

Barbara enthusiastically demonstrated the art of the chocolatière. She advised how best to temper (melt) chocolate to have a good liquid to work with that will remain glossy when set and made chocolate eggs, bunnies and pralines which members were lucky enough to sample at the end of the evening. Yes, of course, they were delicious.

Barbara talked about the history of chocolate and had samples to pass around of processed cocoa nibs, brown cocoa mass and white cocoa butter, all of which are used in chocolate making. We were told what is meant by praline and ganache and Barbara mentioned some of the more unusual flavouring she uses in her chocolates, such as chilli!

We were assured that there are technical reasons why Easter eggs are hollow; it is not simply to deprive us of more chocolate and it was a pleasure to watch someone who so obviously enjoys her work.

Earlier in the evening, Jill Reynolds had given us a report on the Danebury Group Spring Meeting hosted by The Wallops W.I. where the topic of the evening had been slides of St. Petersburg followed by an excellent supper. Julia Jenkins had very kindly represented us at the Hampshire Federation Spring Meeting in Portsmouth Guildhall; it had been several years since Julia had last attended such a meeting and she came away very impressed, as she felt there was great enthusiasm emanating from our Federation. She very kindly gave us a summary of the day’s events.

There was a draw for the Pamela King Bursary, won by Jenny Gorski – who must now decide how best to make the most of this opportunity. She can elect to attend a workshop or course at any of the local colleges or indeed attend the WI’s own education centre at Denman College. We wait to hear what she decides, none more so that the two reserves, Val Downing and Rachael Carter – just in case there are any funds left for them as well.

Plans are continuing for our 90th anniversary celebration event and a request was made for members to search through their own archives for anything that might be suitable for the exhibition that will form part of evening on 14th June. The theme is “Then & Now” and is intended to illustrate how much has changed since the Institute first started in 1917, not least the way in which we communicate – illustrated, of course, by this monthly newsletter.

Diary Dates:

26 April – 7.30 p.m. Village Hall – “Question Time”

28 April – Walking Group – Dever Valley

31 May – 7.30 p.m. Village Hall – Resolutions followed by “Your favourite item”

02 June – Walking Group – Clarendon Way

14 June – 7 p.m. Village Hall – 90th Anniversary Celebration

28 June – 7.30 p.m. Village Hall – Themed Evening “Weddings”

One meeting a year is organised by members not serving on the committee and this year Barbara Dixon has taken up the challenge and will be co-ordinating the evening on 26 April. Barbara has decided to have a Question Time format – we are promised topical issues, but no party politics. I am sure this will make for a lively evening – do come and see for yourself.

Sharon King