· By Oonagh Simms
Outdoor Toasting Experience
It’s dusky, cold enough to see your breath and you’re strolling through a stunning landscape you wouldn't normally be allowed in. Not at night. But for 6 weeks it’s backlit, uplit, strung with lanterns and sparkling flashes. An arresting soundscape and neon projections envelope the darker corners. Sounds magical right? Well, that's how we like to do Christmas. We’re back at some of the UK’s most beautiful attractions with our Toasting Marshmallow Experience and we can’t wait.
It started with Christmas at Kew Gardens 6 years ago and this year we’ve expanded across the UK and Germany.
From Blenheim Palace to Edinburgh Botanics via Berlin and back.
As you wander the illuminated trail you will find our roaring firepits beneath the stars and a seasonal selection of our gourmet marshmallows to toast over them. We’re also offering our new luxury s’mores for you to really get creative ( and sticky ) with your treats.
They’re hard work these events- we don’t really talk about that bit. It’s hard work and It’s a huge part of our business. And although we start planning in the spring I’m still not sure why everything still things so hurried in the last few weeks *stops writing blog to order 100,000 wooden skewers and another 20,000 napkins* It's similar to opening 10 shops in one week. We don't see much of our families, most of our friends have given up waiting for us to text back. And I have SO much respect for any small business/ trader who works outside because, wow, it really adds an extra layer of pressure. And heaviness. Outdoor event stuff is always heavy. Pallets always take longer than you think to pack, everything takes 3 hours longer to clean and you need to be pretty familiar with an electric drill.
We now have custom built chalets- they’re pretty fancy- with perspex laser etched signs, copper finishes and marble effect display counters. But working outside in mid winter- when the wind blows down your signs, the rain clogs the pitch and the bank didn’t have enough change for your float- It’s certainly a labour of festive love. It's undoubtedly our favourite time of year ( I won't be saying this next week so remind me, ok?) the production companies we work with ( Raymond Gubbay and Culture Creative) have created something truly special with their winter trails. A Christmas experience that somehow manages to be peaceful and sympathetically curated. They don’t just plonk flashy Christmas lights in the middle of a field- they’re inspired by their surroundings and collaborate with artists from around the world to turn the already special into the truly spectacular.
So if you’re near one of our trails this winter (and you probably will be- we're all over the place!) then you have to visit. You’ll love it. It’s hard not to. My signs get blown over and I still love it. We’ll be bringing our new Christmas Collection flavours to each site including Christmas Pudding and Spiced Gingerbread, so all you need is a good pair of boots and a warming cup of mulled wine. And there you have it, our perfect Christmas. *runs off to pack up another 10,000 marshmallows into boxes*