Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Chocolate or Death? Chocolate, please.


I am heading to Auvergne for the weekend to stay at a beautiful old French manor house (envy me), and socialize with some very nice, kind people. I like these people because they are intelligent and classy, but also because they don't treat me like an idiot because my language skills are not as strong as theirs. They are patient with me and very gracious. This will also be the first opportunity I've had in a while to converse in French (vendors on the street and in the market don't count), and I am very excited.
Today, in preparation for this trip, I headed out to buy a hostess gift. I stopped by a chocolatier-- not any one in particular, I just needed to pick up some chocolate for the lady of the house. I know very little about fine chocolate and less about choosing a chocolatier. So, I went to Blvd. St. Germain where pretty much everything is of quality. I had passed the Patrick Roger Chocolaterie on many occasions, but never gone in--not that I wasn't tempted. He has the most amazing windows, and a life-size man made of chocolate in his store! And walking in today was a bit intimidating, but as I was the only one in the store at the time, the two employees gave me their full attention and I was able to make (what I think to be) the perfect selection of truffles and other yummy treats. The whole experience felt a bit like buying jewelry and the box it all went in is certainly worthy of the finest diamonds! The man who helped me was actually Patrick Roger himself, and after doing some reading up on him, I am quite content with the chocolatier I choose. I will definately be back (can't wait for Easter-- he is famous for his eggs).
Anyway, after spending the most amount of money I've ever spent on chocolate, I got to thinking about how different the chocolate culture here is from the US.
First and foremost, the chocolate is much richer and more bitter than in the States (which is not really saying much--most of the rest of the world hates our chocolate). And, in France, chocolate is not considered a candy, but something much more serious. Its own food group, if you will. I was feeling weak one day (after touring around town with little to eat), and stopped in a store to buy gummi bears while my friend reached for a mini-brick of chocolate. I consider 100% fruit snacks to be a healthier choice than chocolate, but she was almost amazed. "Not CANDY," she told me. "Have some of THIS. Not candy." And I got an "oh, Americans" look.
It's a very strange difference that I am still not fully able to comprehend, and therefore, inept to describe. I have been told that Belgium has the very best chocolate in the world, and I can't wait to go there, but in the mean time, I love even the cheap generic stuff France's groceries have to offer. Even that is better than anything in North America (imports don't count).

So, yes. Off to spend the next four days having fun and making friends. I am really looking forward to this trip. This will also be my first real train trip (with luggage and a destination further than a few miles). I am very excited (it really doesn't take much). What will all of you do without me?


20 pts. for movie. 10 pts. for character's FULL name:

"Chock-LATE, heh he? Rock-EE Rohhd, heh he?"

15 Comments:

Blogger Serena said...

Today's post title was ripped off from an Eddie Izzard bit.
"Cake or Death?"
"um, cake, please."
"(smugly) Very well. You shall have your cake."

See Funniest Man in the World link at right for more.

12:08 AM  
Blogger Adrian said...

Chocolate....Mmmmmmmm.

Im a choc-a-holic and proud of it.

ENJOY THE TRIP!!

Get back soon. I'll be checking in daily anyway...

3:12 AM  
Blogger European said...

Ohhhhh, a trip AND chocolate. I cannot contain my envy.
German chocolate is also pretty good (as is Swiss chocolate). I think that Hershey's should be taken off the shelves - it's not worth the resources utilized to produce it.
I had about 12 lbs of chocolate in my suitcase last time I came home from Germany.

5:50 AM  
Blogger Nique Zool said...

quality entry serena - as always.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Super SueAsian said...

I have heard that the milk used in chocolate milk is the bad grade stuff. Not that it is unhealthy but rumor has it they cover up the low quality taste with the chocolate. Cheers!
As for me, when I was in Switzerland I ate chocolate for every meal... and cheese. I had a lovely pistachio chocolate bar. The green of the nut against the dark brown is such a lovely sight! But my love affair with all things milk came to an end when I grew allergic to milk. Pity me. Whey, milk, cream, milk powder is in everything worth eating! Now I am becoming a dark chocolate fan because it rarely has milk. Miss you Serena!

4:55 AM  
Blogger UrbanCannibal said...

White, black, yellow, green. I'm not ashamed to admit that I love all chocolate... we are talking about women again aren't we?

1:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done - love it...from a San Mateo Vet

2:47 AM  
Blogger JgStephan said...

I love chocolate! The picture looks delicious and I don't have chocolate in the house. :( On Sunday our stores are closed, fortunately there are also some kinds at the gas station...

What has happened here, is this the spam offensive?

6:53 AM  
Blogger European said...

Serena-
I know it's widely unpopular to have to use the word recognition to leave a comment, but it effectively gets rid of all those lovely spammers. In settings/comments... Have fun with that.

Also: Chocolate elitism is the only way to go, at least for me. I am allergic to milk also, so the chocolate has to be worth the ensuing allergic reaction. Hershey's is not. So not, in fact.

Sorry. Rambling...

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Eric said...

Hey Serena, how are you? Long time no talk...I am home now, back at WSU...things are crazy and I never seem to have my head on straight. I enjoy reading your posts...keep it up...maybe sometime I can call you...let me know when it would be good to call you at your House phone number...

9:08 PM  
Blogger The Dark Pig said...

Just when I get back... you leave.

I'm hurt.

2:14 AM  
Blogger European said...

Hmph. When are you coming back? Come back, pleeeeeease!

7:23 PM  
Blogger Serena said...

I GOT SPAM! I GOT SPAM! I GOT SPAM! I GOT SPAM! I GOT SPAM! I GOT SPAM! I GOT SPAM! I GOT SPAM! I GOT SPAM! I GOT SPAM! I GOT SPAM! I GOT SPAM!
YYYYEEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!

11:04 PM  
Blogger Serena said...

I deleted all spam (save that of the San Meteo Vet. Click on the link, and then click on "Pet of the Week" at top to see the most adorable, fluffy, cutest, little ever!

11:06 PM  
Blogger atoep said...

Chocolate every time.

3:42 AM  

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