I had entirely written off the prospect of ever being able to send my wares over the seas. But a request to send a box of brownies to northern France for Mother's Day made me rethink. Not one to be easily defeated, I spent a good hour trawling through the Royal Mail web-site to ensure there would be no barriers to their entry, and the rules about food seemed remarkably relaxed. Christmas crackers and batteries are a definite no in the post, chocolate brownies seemed to be fine. And as I deemed them Most Resilient of the Bee & Bear range, I thought the 3-5 day delivery time predicted would be OK... I attach a sticker inside my gift-boxes advising 3-4 days freshness, but I did once conduct an experiment with some wrapped chocolate and beetroot muffins in the fridge. Six went in, and I tested one every few days. After 3 weeks I ran out of muffins, but they got better and better with time, and developed an almost chocolate fudge cake consistency! Non-dairy is the key to a long-life with baking I have found, the muffins containing milk/cheese/butter are definitely in the 3-4 day range. And as for fresh fruit...I once sent an order to someone for a Saturday delivery, but when they very kindly posted a picture tagging Bee & Bear on the Tuesday having just picked them up from the sorting office where they had been over the Bank Holiday weekend, a little bit of me died inside. Apparently they looked fine to the casual observer, but it was very clear to me that the raspberry muffins had 'peaked' shall we say... You'll note a distinct lack of muffins containing fresh fruit on the web-site these days - I never recovered psychologically. Still available at markets though...and I'm already looking forward to the first strawberries and cream muffin of the summer.
And I'm delighted to report the brownies arrived in France almost exactly 72 hours after posting, intact and unscathed. Happy Mother's Day!