Chocolate treats for Retirement Fellowship

THE Causeway Branch of the Health & Social Care Retirement Fellowship Northern Ireland held their November meeting in the Causeway Hospital.

Chairman, Mrs Kathleen Presha, warmly welcomed guest speaker Rosemary Dobbin who has a studio, near Bonamargy Friary, producing high quality Belgian Chocolates and trading as ‘Bonamargy Chocolates’.

The Friary is said to be haunted by the ghost of the ‘Black Nun’, a Julia McQuillan, who reputedly lived alone at the Friary after it became disused around 1641. Indeed one of Rosemary’s delicious truffles, is called a ‘Black Nun Truffle’.

Rosemary spoke of how since her childhood she has had a “sweet tooth” and enjoys eating chocolate, not unlike many of the assembled audience! Little did she know then, that she would later become a manufacturer of tempting chocolates.

Group members watched a DVD showing Rosemary attending courses in Manchester and Munich, where she learnt further chocolate making and decorative confectionery art techniques. They were also able to see her at work in her studio in Ballycastle, using her perfected skills.

The members also learnt that a well produced chocolate will have certain characteristics, namely: a silky sheen (from tempering); clean edges: an unobtrusive aroma; a delicate flavour; a smooth texture; and an absence of grittiness.

Rosemary produces an innovative array of chocolates, truffles, chocolate pizzas, wedding favours, and chocolate wedding cakes in her Co Antrim studio.

Rosemary concluded the afternoon with the words “Like the final act of a play we expect a good chocolate to leave us craving more”. Having earlier had the opportunity to sample her chocolates, many of the group needed no further encouragement to purchase items from the chocolates on display, perhaps as a potential Christmas present, or as a treat for themselves!

Are you a retired Health & Social Care Worker, or about to retire? If so, why not join their group? Meetings are generally held on the second Wednesday of each month, in the Causeway Hospital. All new members will be made very welcome. Being a member of the group provides an opportunity to meet with former work colleagues or friends and to forge new friendships.

Further information can be obtained from the Branch Secretary, Mrs Meta Cochrane on 02870344346.