Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chocolat thoughs

Last week in the travel section, I read an article titled, "What's Paris sans chocolate? Just a place with the Eiffel Tower". Of course, that piqued my interest, and it was primarily about taking a walking tour of chocolate shops. The author listed several places, including La Maison Du Chocolate, Jean Charles Richoux, Gerard Mulot (a favorite of mine) and Pierre Herme among others as places to find the best chocolates in Paris. That is not something that sought out while in Paris. Too intimidating! I might ask for 2 kilos of chocolate by mistake, or get some strange flavor of chocolate, like bleu cheese. Once in Mexico I mistakenly asked for a bolsa (a purse) of ice cream instead of a scoop! I did, however, buy some of these big sugary, marshmallow candies which were sold on the street all over Paris, intending to sketch them later. I brought them home for my son, and his friends seemed to like them.

One place that I do indulge in a bit of dark drinking chocolate, though, is Angleina's. Yes, it is touristy, no doubt, but also a Paris staple, where a pitcher of chocolate costs a small fortune, but is sooo worth it. The specialty de la maison is La Africaine. I can never bring myself to use all that whipped cream, though. As Jim and I were enjoying our chocolate, we heard a bit of a commotion behind us, and a few shrieks. Everyone was looking at the floor, and I heard someone mention Ratatouille. Then one of the waiters came over and calmly told the other diners that "she is my very good friend, and if you ignore her, she will go away". Yes, a rat at Angelina's, but apparently a friendly rat.
This is another specialty, the Mont Blanc, a rich mound of white and dark chestnut cream. Very good, but next time I will stick to the hot chocolate. It was a sign of the poor economic times that there was no wait to be seated at Angleina's this Summer. Always in the past I have had to wait for a table, but once discovered that if you are willing to sit upstairs, in the less chic area, there is never a wait.
And a little French whimsey at Le Thabor, the beautiful gardens in Rennes. No matter the season, there is always some beautiful planting here, and it compares with any of the gardens that I saw in Paris.

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