Belgian chocolate…from New York City

Dave went to New York City on a business trip, and he brought me back this bar that he found in SoHo.

This chocolate was fantastic! I love Belgian chocolate and when you add almonds, all chocolate is even better. I had never been to New York City  (I finally visited in 2011), but I did wonder about a place called “Gourmet Garage”. Apparently it is a “fine foods” grocery store in the city, and it supposedly sells some really yummy food. I can attest that this chocolate was delicious.

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A Dagoba I liked

Dave gave me this Dagoba bar in the spring of 2007.

I liked this bar, which is surprising to me now for many reasons. First, its cacao percentage is not in my favorite range of about 75%. Instead, this is 59%, which should have been too bland, but it wasn’t. It had a rich chocolate taste.

Second, it was a very sweet bar, which would normally turn me off, but it worked in this case. The sweetness made the chocolate tastier, instead of being sickeningly sweet.

But third and most important, I have had a lot of Dagoba bars since this one, and most of them I didn’t like. This first bar led me to believe that I had found a new brand of awesome chocolate, but instead I had found an awesome bar in the line up of a mediocre brand.

Good to know, I suppose.

Bad Disneyland chocolate

In the spring of 2007, I got to visit Disneyland very early in the morning, before the park had opened. I was dating someone who was a member of the Themed Entertainment Association, a group for developers of themed entertainment like amusement parks, casinos, or museums, and they were offering a behind the scenes look at Pirates Of The Caribbean, my favorite ride at Disneyland.

Here’s what the park looks like when no one is there.

I am standing outside of Pirates, looking towards the Haunted Mansion, and there is absolutely nobody in the park. Because I have only seen the park when it is filled with people, Disneyland is a little creepy when it is empty. It feels like an end-of-the-world scenario, only with no zombies or atomic bombs.

The presentation itself was wonderful. One of the engineers explained how the ride had been made, how it was one of the most popular rides at the park, and how it maintains an incredible throughput of people. In a nutshell, most park attendees on any given day will go on this ride and even better, they can, because the ride carries so many people per boat, there are lots of boats, and the boats run continuously. Ironically, the Pirates ride had broken down that morning, so our presentation did not include actually going on the ride. But I have been on it a hundred times, so that wasn’t so bad.

Anyway, to get on to the theme of this blog, after the Pirates presentation, we were given these gold foil wrapped chocolate disks.

If you look closely, you can see where it says “Pirates of the Caribbean” in the center. It’s a pretty wrapper (the scan doesn’t do it justice), but the chocolate inside was terrible. It was bland and salty, the worst two things I have come to expect from bad milk chocolate. I was surprised that Disneyland would use such bad chocolate for a promotion like this, but I think they figured that no one would eat the chocolate anyway.

Oh well, the early morning look at the park was cool.

Chocolate and coffee

My boyfriend Dave gave me this Scharffenberger bar in the summer of 2006.

It was absolutely delicious. You might think, well of course it is, it’s Scharffenberger! But I have come to realize that, while I don’t like coffee, I love coffee mixed with chocolate. And not just in bar form. I love mocha drinks and chocolate-covered coffee beans and mocha ice cream, and at the beach this summer, my favorite ice cream was coffee with dark chocolate chunks. Damn, that was good.

In that sense, coffee is like my anti-raisin. I like raisins, but I don’t like anything that contains raisins, like raisin bread, raisin bagels, or raisin bran cereal. I want my raisins by themselves, which is exactly unlike how I want my coffee, which should be mixed into other things. With chocolate.