Saturday, December 17, 2005

Christmas is a-coming...

It always seems to take me a long time to realise Christmas is approaching. It's December 17th and I still haven't quite grasped it's only a week away. Maybe it's because this year I'm not working in an office with office Christmas parties, or because I haven't watched television in months (though I did watch the final 20 minutes of X Factor with friends tonight) and therefore I've missed all the Christmas advertisements. Or perhaps it's because I cancelled Christmas in my mind this year? Oh, I'm not Dickens' Scrooge, it's just that this year I've chosen to go to spend Christmas with neither family nor a partner, and I think it's unlikely I'll even see any of my family before Christmas... So I haven't been present shopping. Logging on to Amazon just now for a few gifts but I'm far from my parents and niece and nephew and other relatives so there's no massive gift wrapping. And it's just e-cards this year...

My housemate put up a Christmas tree this morning! 'Twas very exciting. I guess I'm writing this now because it is finally sinking in... and I'm quite looking forward to catching a plane to Austria Christmas eve and waking up to my first ever white Christmas and sharing food and laughs with a group of people, some of whom I've never met, none of which I knew this time last year. It will be nice. A true Christmas where it's just about being with wonderful people and relaxing and appreciating (and eating lots of food!). And from Austria I will use Skype to chat to my family in the UK and in a similarly named country, where they will be likely sweltering as they insist on eating the traditional Christmas roast.

I hope there's chocolate at my Christmas. I guess I should take some.

Last night I was at a birthday party. It was catered for in entirely raw food. To be expected at the celebrations of one of the 10 fittest men in the UK. Strange that raw food should be so "natural" yet I could not identify a lot of what I was eating. This is a little disconcerting as I am a food freak and can usually decipher what most dishes I eat are concocted from.

Despite the no meat, wheat, sugar, dairy hor doeuvres there was still chocolate cake for dessert. Sacher torte, in fact (the birthday boy was of German heritage). Actually there was also another chocolate cake but when I heard it was store bought and saw it was being distributed en masse I moved to the fancier looking torte. I have to agree with the birthday boy's brother that it was a little dry, nonetheless still quite delicious. Jam and chocolate cake is a match made in heaven.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Chocolate in the High Street

Last night I attended the opening of a new Hotel Chocolat store in High St Kensington. The people who work for the company are lovely and I admire their rhetoric of quality chocolate and supporting the cocoa farmers. If we don’t it could mean disaster for all of us! Did you know that the quantity of quality cocoa beans is decreasing? The more people accept the easier to grow and harvest poor quality beans the more inclined the farmers will be to grow these crops instead.. meaning decreased availability of real chocolate. The store is very pretty, the staff are lovely and they produce some intriguing chocolate candy options… and I currently am not won over by the quality overall. Put it down to personal preference, but I find the range a little hit and miss. Some delicious, some quite ordinary… I’m sure this must be a personal preference and encourage you to sample for yourself!