Belgium gets a lot of bad press. And whatever lousy reviews Belgium receives, Brussels is dissed even more. You know, it’s boring, unsophisticated, the Toronto on a Sunday afternoon of Europe, can’t hold a candle to its decadent cousin Amsterdam, and so forth.
Before I go on, I’ll just say to any insulted Torontonians that I was exercising a Western Canadian snipe at Hogtown just for the sake of the blog. If you wish to insist it is a wonderful and vibrant city, I shall not quibble.
Moving along. About Belgium and Brussels, I can only say that after having spend a couple of days there in late 2006, we found ourselves delighted by the Belgian capital, enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and only wished we had more time to explore. The one good thing we found, along with a few others, was food. Especially the propensity to consume vast quantities of mussels and, of course, chocolate truffles.
The truffles were to die for, my friends. We brought a couple of pounds of them back to Canada, and we only wished we’d been able to accommodate 30 or 40 pounds. They were decadent, sensual, almost licentious in their allure. Pshaw for Swiss or Dutch chocolate, the Belgians truly have a love affair with the stuff. And the truffle is, to me, the apex of what chocolate should be all about.
We are a bit blessed in this community in that we do have a brilliant chocolate confecrioner here, and the truffles of Courtenay’s Hot Chocolates are not to be faulted in any way. But, and I don’t mean to turn my back on a local purveyor of delectability, the Brussels truffles were just a teeny bit more depraved and wanton.
Chocolate is a curious thing. While for some it is merely a charming confection, while for others it is a way of life, and possibly even an addiction in the true sense of that word. For me, while I am not addicted to a substance that originated in Mexico centuries ago, I do love it and will find excuses to consume it.
I was talking to a female friend a couple of weeks ago and she confessed that she didn’t really like chocolate all that much, in a take-it or leave-it kind of sense. She didn’t dislike it, she just never hankered after it. I found that remarkable. While men generally like chocolate, women are purported to adore it with a passion. That to me is a good thing since chocolate is believe to have genuine aphrodesiacal qualities. That may be myth, but I like to believe it and have made gifts of chocolates to females of my acquaintance a number of times over the years.
Right now we have a number of Hot Chocolate morsels in our fridge, which we picked up for celebratory reasons yesterday. About the celebration, I’ll explain what that is all about in due time, but suffice it to say that even the fact that it is a rainy Tuesday is a good excuse to have chocolate.
And as a reminder, if you should find yourself in Brussels make sure you pick up lots of truffles, and feel free to send me some.