Food is definitely all over the radar for the moment.
So, first to get this out of the way: chocolate bars. There is a little Delhaize (a type of grocery store) on the way to Boyfriend's mom's house. We had to stop there the other day to pick up something or other, but all I was really interested by was their chocolate nook. I walked away with these three.
So why is it I take such an interest in chocolate, particularly when so much of it seems to disappoint me? Well... this is the kind of stuff I enjoy, both on personal and professional levels.
Truffles I made for Valentine's orders, 2009. Clockwise from top-left they are: cappuccino, maple-walnut, chai, blueberry wine, raspberry, and mexican spiced (infused with chili, cinnamon, etc.)
In fact, though I enjoy getting to know the junk-market wherever I go (like candy bars,) my interest and work lies more in the realm of fine-chocolate, and I can say that my standards when it comes to 'fine chocolate' are in fact, very, very high. I go out of my way to taste anything that comes with repute in the world, as well as to try the little guys who seem to know what they're doing but haven't been lauded yet too. I've had the chance to work and learn alongside some amazing pastry chefs and chocolatiers, and this is something I love to do, and was doing professionally before leaving Toronto. Not everyone gets the chance to be paid to do what they love, and I am very grateful that I've had that chance. My plan, (once I figure out where in the world I want to build a life,) is to be my own boss; running an establishment that serves up some high-grade sweets.
Here in Belgium I'm trying to continue my professional development. I'm learning a little more about how the markets work and about cultural preferences for taste. I should manage to squeeze in a professional course at a world-recognized chocolate institution before my visa runs out, and next week is definitely exciting for me since I'll attend both the Salon de l'Alimentation (food expo) in Brussels, and the Salon du Chocolat Professionel (chocolat expo) in Paris. !!! I'm terribly excited to sit down for hours and hours of lectures about sourcing chocolate, fair trade issues, market conditions and so on. Glee!
In fact.. this is actually what I'm supposed to be working on right now... I'm supposed to be finding the hotel in Paris and planning the itinerary for the weekend. I suppose I should go and do that.