It’s time to treat mum... Showing her how much you care on Mothers’ Day has been a tradition since the 17th century.
Children who had been sent away to work as apprentices or in service rarely managed to get home to see their mothers. But during Lent, workers were allowed to “go a-mothering” and return home to their mothers for a weekend.
This was a day of feasting when all of the restrictions of Lent were put aside and on the Sunday of their return the whole family would go to church. Sons and daughters gave their mums small gifts and wildflowers they had picked on the way home. The most typical gift of all was marzipan-based simnel cake.
The modern day equivalent? A box of fancy chocolates should make mum feel appreciated. But which one to choose? The dilemma that mum faces once the box is open is yours when you’re standing on the sweets aisle, weighing up all the possibilities.
Because we’re such soft centres, we went to find the best buys on your behalf.
We had no more than £5 to spend per box - a pocket-money-sized budget - and were initially dismayed to discover supermarkets such as Morrisons, Sainsbury and Asda - don’t have their own-label chocolates. But they did have some great Mothers’ Day special offers, so we picked a bunch and got stuck in...
Lir, Delicious Chocolate Cupcake Collection, £4 at Morrisons
16 chocolates, 175g
Milk, white and dark chocolate miniature cupcakes, made by award-winning chocolatiers (Great Taste Awards), presented in a hexagonal box. Chocolates look modern and pretty and the flavours are ultra-sweet and unusual, often with a fruity hit -particularly the pale pink Raspberry Blush truffle piped into white chocolate cups and the creamy, cocoa-dusted fruity hit of Blueberry Thrill (blueberry mousse with white chocolate).
The cupcake shape gives depth to each chocolate - you get more to your mouthful. Best for modern young mums.
Value for money: 4
Lily O’Brien’s Desserts Collection, £5 at Morrisons
18 chocolates, 230g
From this Irish luxury brand, best-loved dessert recipes concentrated into chocolates - think Creme Brulee, and Banoffee Pie.
Lime-infused truffle and zesty lemon curd smothered in dark chocolate make Key Limey Pie a winner and Raspberry Infusion, a dark chocolate-topped, white chocolate truffle infused with raspberry on a bed of raspberry compote
Best for: mums who love cooking, was berry delicious.
Value for money: 5
Lindt Swiss Luxury Collection, £4 at Asda
14 chocolates for £4, 145g
Lindt have been making chocolate since 1845 . Praline fillings range from orange caramel-filled hearts to Macchiato, chocolate cups filled with coffee cream and white chocolate. The chocolate is that ultra-creamy, silky-smooth blend that only the Swiss seem to perfect, and the fillings taste decadently luxurious. Very, very moreish. Would suit a classy mum.
Value for money: Second-worst value if you look at how much chocolate you get for your money, but they were the best quality and flavour so we have to give them a 5.
Thornton’s, Premium collection, £3.49 in Thornton’s shops
8 chocolates, 95g
Thornton’s chocolates, Derbyshire-made, look sturdy and chunky rather than delicate and feminine. They always have done and consequently that’s how many of us expect a chocolate to look. But the flavours in this box also tasted the way we expected, too. The champagne truffle in dark chocolate was outstanding, but the others - Crunchy Praline,, Cafe Latte, Orange truffle and Vanilla Velvet - were unadventurous. Best for a mum with traditional tastes.
Value: A good pocket-money price, but the worst value for money from our selection. 2
Milk Tray, 60 chocolates, 600g, £5 at The Co-op
A huge version of that instantly-recognisable purple box from Cadbury’s, the one The Milk Tray Man, arguably the most famous advertising character in British TV history, went through hell and high water to leave on some lucky woman’s bed, ‘all because the lady loves...’. This much loved brand was launched in 1915 and is the family fallback. It’s incredible value from the Co-op - 60 chocolates means there’s a lot to go round. But compared to newer brands, the flavours seem dated and the presentation is very simple.
Good choice for elderly mums who have been Milk Tray ladies for decades.
Lindt, at a pocket-money-friendly £4, were our all-round top chocs - they got full marks for taste, presentation and value, because they were simply scrumptious - a luxurious little treat.
But simple, old-fashioned Milk tray take some beating for value. And with 60 chocolates in the box, there and plenty to share with the kids.