Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Chocolate Nemesis

I’m so fortunate to have grown up in a family of chocoholics. Or perhaps I just feel that way because I’m sure that is why I love chocolate so much and it’s nice to share the love with the people I love. Running the chocolate tours is reinforcing what I already was quite convinced of: men love chocolate as much as women. Many not as many men but men can and do love chocolate just as passionately. For me, the great thing about guys who like chocolate is that they also tend to prefer dark. At least they do in my family.

I went with my brother for dinner at the Botanical in Melbourne. It’s a tradition of ours to have dinner together when we’re in the same city, as we both love good food. I went scourng the internet looking at the menus of the best restaurants in Melbourne, choosing based on what chocolate delights they proffered on their dessert menu. I couldn’t resist the sound of the Valrhona Chocolate Nemesis with Gold Leaf. Having discovered Valhrona was about as diffiult to find in Melbourne as one would imagine it to be in rural China I was quite excited. This is where I became grateful for the shared chocolate passion that runs in our blood, to order this dessert requires a minimum of two people. Served with poached figs and raspberries, balsamic icecream and pouring cream the combination was divine. What a difference it makes to use quality chocolate in the recipe.

To Canada I go…

Another country, another seminar…. The location in downtown Vancouver was alongside a street with three gorgeous chocolate shops. For some reason I have chosen as one of my closest friends a “recovering chocolic”. Yes, this means he doesn’t eat chocolate. Luckily he tolerates my obsession, with only mild ribbing of me, and even is so kind as to search his friend’s house in the middle of the night to find me some chocolate (he did).

Vancouver has sushi that rivals Melbourne. (Maybe better...?) There are several sushi restaurants on every block. We ate at Tsunami on Robson, and while there might be better, we liked it enough to return! If we weren't eating sushi in Tsunami you could find us at Earl's. The salmon in their salad was so far removed from the salmon you get in the UK it seems incredible that they can be named the same food.

We’re off to Big White ski resort tomorrow. Bizarre to think that less than two weeks ago I was soaking up the sun on my parent’ balcony in a bikini, and tomorrow I’ll be wading through snow… Still need the bikini for the hot tub!!

Monday, March 13, 2006

My Best Friend’s Wedding

The sun shone brightly in blue skies as my Holly got married near the water where we grew up, surrounded by our friends and family. It was the most beautiful day and I was so proud to stand along side her and loved the look on her husband’s face as she appeared from the boat sheds in her red wedding dress, a secret we’d managed to keep for over a year from everyone except our closest girlfriends and her mum.

As mine and Holly's friendship was founded on chocolate, cemented with chocolate chip cookies and extended with Cadbury’s. Lindt and late night chocolate pudding, it was only fitting that her wedding cake be chocolate, the bombonerries be chocolate hearts and for there also to be mini chocolate icecreams served from swinging baskets carried by the serving girls. Though we now live half a world away from each other, my beautiful best friend and I still share chocolate recipes and stories. Only now we just can’t make them in the same kitchen. Occasionally she’ll tease me in an email about some amazing chocolate recipe she’s just tried. Lucky for the newsletter readers when she types them up and passes them on to me.