It’s my birthday (it’s still the 15th where I’m writing this) so I’ll take this opportunity to talk about something dear to my heart: chocolate. A friend who clearly does not realize how little time I spend working out gave me two pounds of some very good quality chocolate for my birthday. (Maybe the idea was that this way even after sharing with him I’d still have enough left for me.:) Another friend – whose wife and I have a monthly ritual of giving each other Belgian truffles on random holidays – sent me a link to a New York Times article about some of the best places in Paris for quality chocolate. One of the most intriguing gifts I’ve gotten recently came from Paris and was chocolate related: chocolate perfume. The scent is very real, and I don’t mean of some cheapo imitation American candy bar. The aroma resembles very high quality chocolate. Surprising as it may be, smelling the perfume can have healthy repercussions. A whiff of that scent will nullify any craving for poor quality chocolate (the type most likely to be around one’s office where such cravings often arise). Before completely dismissing all American chocolate, I should note that at a chocolate party where the hosts had us guests sampling and rating unidentified milk and dark chocolates from all over the world, some American chocolates actually came out quite highly ranked (including something as generic as Hershey’s dark chocolate).
I think a sophisticated chocolate enthusiast has cravings for specific types of chocolate, not just chocolate in general. So sometimes it is that M-azing candy bar you crave while other times only a Cote d’Or hazelnut dark chocolate bar, a Ritter Sport Marzipan bar or a Sport falat will do (just to name some of my favorites).
For those in the Chicagoland area, I highly recommend the Belgian chocolatier Piron in Evanston (the source of my monthly chocolate truffle ritual mentioned above). I welcome pointers to other great chocolate stores wherever they may be.