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A summer Christmas really throws a curve ball. Most of us would like to be in good shape when we hit the beach and to get there we should ideally be enjoying salads and gear up our training. But there is another curve at play… The curve of your cheek or hip when you couldn’t resist the temptations of the festive season. Other than our friends in the Northern hemisphere, we can’t hide our festive indulgences under reindeer sweaters.

Perhaps we should all just relax and allow ourselves a little indulgence after a hectic year, whether it is in the form of a glazed roast, a brimful glass or a late-night chocolate…

And it is when we talk chocolate that suddenly the curve becomes a thing of beauty. We think smooth and velvety and seductive… No wonder then, that Katelyn Williams of the celebrated food blog, thekatetin stuck to a simple title for her very delicious cookbook, Chocolate.

And, very generously, she shared a recipe for the season combining something healthy, something festive and something fun in her Strawberry Champagne Marshmallows! Get a bottle of our Leopard’s Leap Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir and treat your guests to this delightful recipe.

Or… if you feel like treating yourself, enter our Curve & Combo competition and win yourself an early Christmas treat with a Chocolate cookbook and your favourite Chocolate-friendly Leopard’s Leap wine! Find the post at the top of ourFacebook Page and comment by 5 December with your favourite Leopard’s Leap wine to enjoy with chocolate. Winner to be announced on Facebook on 6 December and we will deliver your book and wine in time for the holidays!

Strawberry Champagne Marshmallows

MAKES: 24  l  TIME UNTIL YOU CAN EAT THEM: 2 hours of pure torture  l  DIFFICULTY LEVEL: a little effort


125 ml (½ cup) warm water

18 g gelatine sheets or 18 g (30 ml) powdered


250 ml (1 cup) champagne or sparkling wine

100 g frozen strawberries

300 g (375 ml) white sugar

230 g (170 ml) glucose syrup (available at baking shops)

a few drops of pink gel food colouring

100 g (200 ml) icing sugar, sifted

20 g (40 ml) cornflour, sifted

200 g dark baking chocolate, melted, for dipping popping candy (optional)

Lightly oil and line a 20 x 30-cm cake tin with non-stick baking paper.

Place the warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer. If using powdered gelatin, sprinkle over the water and stir to combine. If using gelatine sheets, soak them in cold water until softened then squeeze out the excess water and add to the warm water in the bowl of the electric mixer.

Place the sparkling wine and frozen strawberries in a saucepan and reduce by half to 125 ml (½ cup). Blend the mixture and strain back into the saucepan. Then add the sugar and glucose and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.

Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Cook, without stirring (for approximately 5 to 7 minutes), until the temperature reaches 118 °C or till soft ball stage (drop a small amount of syrup into tap water; it should form a soft, pliable ball). With the mixer running on high, gradually add the hot syrup in a thin, steady stream to the gelatine mixture down the side of the bowl. Beat for 5 to 7 minutes or until thick and fluffy. Working quickly, spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Swirl in the food colouring. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours or until set.

Mix the icing sugar and cornflour in a bowl. Turn the marshmallow out onto a surface lightly dusted with some icing sugar mixture. Dust a knife in the icing sugar mixture and cut into squares. Dust the marshmallows with more icing sugar mixture. Combine the melted dark chocolate and popping candy and dip the base of each marshmallow into the melted dark chocolate and allow to set on a  lined baking tray.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

To serve, top with a strawberry or drop into your bubbly!

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