Daily Archives: October 17, 2012

Chocoholics Anonymous Meeting

Of course I didn’t go to a CA meeting, I did however went to the Origin Chocolate Event. Here I met some of the world-top of bean-to-bar chocolate makers. Some of them I met before at last years event, and it was a pleasure to be recognised by some of these makers.

I started with snacks with chocolate, like green asparagus ‘wrapped’ in dark chocolate. zucchini and goat’s cheese with ‘dark gold’, salami with a cocoa bean, tomato soup with cocoa powder, and omelet with mushrooms and chocolate and a paté of mushrooms with another kind of sweet stuffing and carrot dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with chopped pistchio nuts… Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm !!!

I could listen to Mott Green of Grenada Chocolate, Grenada [West Indies], Santiago Peralta of Pacari from Ecuador,  but I heard them before. So I chose Sepp Schönbächler of Felchlin in Switzerland and Philipp Kaufmann of Original Beans based here in Amsterdam. I missed Vincent Mourou of Marou Chocolate of Vietnam and Bertil Åkesson of Åkesson’s based in Madagascar and Brazil,  but spoke to them afterwards.

Next to them, small importers of bars were present, including ‘the dealer’ and Geert Vercruysse a fine pastry maker and chocolatier from Kortrijk in Belgium [near the French border]. he wanted to know if I had special wishes, which I didn’t have at the moment. I’m planning a visit to his praline kitchen and store. He’s oneof the few cholotatiers is not using Callebaut couverture. Of course also Kees Raat of Metropolitan Deli was present. He created the Cacao Beer [cocoa beer] in collaboration with small brewery De Prael, based in Amsterdam. An elegant combination of the freshness of beer and the exciting aroma of Cacao, produced with organic ingredients. This beer is a handcrafted, dark and amber-colored bitter, with tones of cocoa and caramel.

It was an evening well spend, and it was good that I took precations during the day for this event, I didn’t eat that much.

The Getaway… Day 4 + 5

After a good nights sleep I woke up at nine and finished breakfast just after ten. I didn’t expect to stand in a  queue so I took my time to arrive at Plaza de España. This half circular building contains government offices, but also Sevilla Town Hall. You can reach the building  over a moat by numerous beautiful bridges, covered from head to toe in mosaic. Each of the 50 provinces has an “Alcove of the Province”, in which in tiles a specific tale is told, in the hues of that part of the country.

Plaza de España was designed for the Iberico-American exhibition of 1929, and is a mix of Art Deco, mock Mudéjar and Neo-Mudéjar styles. Of course there are vendors in the square, trying to attract customers with clicking castanets and extreme low prices for articles which are “handmade”. [Handmade is in this case the one finger on the button to stitch a scarf with embroidery, in some far away country].

I made many stops along the way, resting on the ceramic benches of the alcoves, in the sun and later in the shade. What I missed on this square was a café or at least a place were one could buy a refreshment, maybe that had to do because I was here after the high season. I reached my 1 kilometer mark [daily distance] before I turned around the building to get a taxi back to town. I wanted to see the museum of Fine Arts [Museo des Belles Artes] but forgot that, like in most countries in Europe, museums are closed on Monday. I did know it was near Calle de Alphonso XII which was also close to the hotel and El Corte Inglés on Plaza del Duque. That afternoon I had lunch at El Sanedrin, carne con tomate, cooked meat in tomato sauce with chips [that’s crisps for US readers]. An early siesta was also in order, I walked far too much that day.

Around seven my cell rang, if I was up to visit restaurant Carmela on Calle Santa María la Blanca, 6, another of Mitch and San Geraldo’s favorites. This one is on the other side of the old town close to the eastern end of the Royal Gardens. Again we shared several dishes which is easy when you have tapas. One thing was even tastier then the next, so which one is a favorite?! By then I still hadn’t tasted the famous Sevillian ice cream, so they both took me to Villar, on Puerta de la Carne 3C. This is just down the same street as Carmela is on. Villar has about 30+ different flavors, and I came only for one… NO not the triple chocolate, but the one made with old cheese! Queso Viejo Helado is Y.U.M.M.Y. !!! It’s nothing you would expect and that’s why it’s so tasty.

I went early to bed, the next day a Taxi service would bring me and 3 other guests from the hotel to the airport. Mitch had arranged good seats, with lots of leg space, on both flights. So by 11.40 I was up in the air towards Lisbon and two hours later from Lisbon to Amsterdam. The long weekend was over, but I hope to do it again in the future.

Tiled bench of the Granada alcove.

And of course a big thank you to my hosts, Mitchell and Jerry, and at the hotel Juan Jesús.