Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Wonderful World of Chocolate

Real chocolate on every corner. I love Paris. My first visit to France since I was very small when I apparently climbed the entire Eiffel Tower on my own – have to take my mother’s word for that one. The French know their chocolate. Every boulangerie and patisserie had their own homemade chocolates and while I sought out every chocolate store I could find information on on the internet (to the weary tolerance of my travelling partner) I also stumbled across many more.
I did learn that just to be French does not mean the chocolate is fantastic. Still, you are never too far from chocolate that is. It was a delight that even the corner stores stocked several brands of quality dark chocolate. I kept walking past these stores thinking they were specialty chocolate stores as I glanced the massive display of bars.

My suitcase is full of chocolate...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Another Easter without Chocolate...

Last year I was in Japan, the year before in Vietnam. I seem to have a tradition of greeting Easter in a foreign country. And the Easter Bunny never seems to find me… As all the shops were closed in St Lucia and no one had planned in advance, we ate mangoes for Easter breakfast. And not a speck of chocolate was seen all day…I was tempted to start gnawing on the raw cigar of cacao that the bride and groom had given us as part of the wedding gift. But this is not raw cacao like I eat back in London. I’m assuming this one’s only for making into drinking chocolate. It will have to wait until I get home.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Sugar Mill Wedding

All guests dressed in white, amidst the 200 year old remains of a sugar mill stamped as having travelled from London centuries ago, we watched the bride and groom exchange vows and rings, to the sound of guitars and a viola. For a moment it felt like we were all alone in the world, and there was nothing except the love between the new couple and their family and friends. I realise this sounds a little syrupy, I guess you had to be there…

We’d all been swimming only an hour or two before the ceremony. I spend longer getting ready for work than I did for this wedding, which was part of what made the day so sweet: the unhurried and accepting pace at which it unfolded. It’s hard to get stressed in St Lucia! The 4 o’clock wedding was followed by hours of drinking, eating (chocolate wedding cake) and dancing, and finally a bonfire down on the beach (without the newlyweds!).

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sun, sand and Pitons

Internet access here is limited. I’m surprised by how spread out things are on this island. Without renting a car or paying for cabs you are more or less stuck at whichever resort you are staying at. Fortunately with a group of about 20 staying at Balenbouche and more wedding guests dotted along the West coast we managed to rotate the swimming between a few different locations (it’s a tough life). Arriving a week later than most, I appear to have missed the major sightseeing adventures. Oh well. The Pitons – I’m assured – are the best thing to see anyway. I’m not 100% certain if "they" are referring to the giant mountains displaced by volcanoes that jut out of the Western landscape, or the St Lucian local beer…

Another wedding is about to occur… This time my cousin and his gorgeous American girlfriend. This was why they chose St Lucia – it seemed unfair to choose just one of their homes to celebrate the nuptials. There are 37 in total, including the bridal party – 22 in their twenties! This is making for quite a large party in the Caribbean!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Molten Chocolate Lava Souffle

I seem to be making a tradition of trying chocolate soufflés in each country I visit… Joey’s in Kelowna, aside from an amazing ahi tuna salad, also serves an incredible chocolate lava soufflé. It tastes better shared. Having not taken any chocolate onto the mountain, our two visits to Joey’s and the odd chocolate chip cookie from the Big White Bakery were my only chocolate indulgences in the ten days we spent at the ski mountain. Though the same cannot be said for my friend’s son, who came back from ski school every day with a hot chocolate mustache. Sweet.

A few more days in Vancouver and I’m off to St Lucia for another wedding (via Miami). Canada is definitely proving better than my encounters in the United States in selling better quality chocolate. I think the Candian teeth are slightly less sweet than their North American neighbours.