These days, most (snail) mail we receive is bills, reminders, financial statements or junk mail so as a rule, opening the mail is not such an exciting task, unless if, like me, you still write letters or send postcards or cards to friends and family, half the thrill is waiting to receive a reply. It may seem a bit Jane Austen in this modern day of instantaneous digital communication, but personally, I find there is nothing like opening a handwritten letter that you know your friend has taken the time to sit down and put pen to paper (or in this case, send chocolate treats across the globe).
Even better than this is when you receive a special care package.
Check. This. Out.
Sent all the way from Belgium (via Switzerland) is this hand selected array of chocolate deliciousness posted by my dear friend Agata – many thanks, my friend. Miraculously, it arrived in excellent condition despite the consistent 29 degree heat we’ve been having for the past couple of weeks.
During our 2 year stay in Switzerland, we did various side trips around Europe and despite keenly wanting to visit Belgium to sample the chocolates as I did as a 19 year old backpacker (and a quick aside here – at the time, living on AUD$20 per day, after discovering Leonidas chocolate and hastily and blissfully deciding that spending my daily budget on chocolate was a worthwhile sacrifice in lieu of another day in Europe. This experience of tasting freshly made chocolate truffles packed with freshly churned butter cream convinced me there was a direct neural transfer occurring in my brain, since scientifically proven, see below
So, I am a tad excited to sample the Leonidas milk chocolate supplied in this package.
(Indulge me one more aside about the name Leonidas – it imprinted upon me so strongly that when presented with a list of names of gynaecologists in Switzerland to book in for a regular check up, who did I pick out? The doctor whose first name was Leonidas, of course!) Keen readers of this blog may remember my visit to a Leonidas store in London’s SoHo. https://chisforchocolate.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/good-old-leonidas/
But I digress, on to the subject at hand. Belgian chocolate. Arguably the best chocolate in the world (just don’t tell the Swiss).
First we have Pierre Marcolini from Brussels, who has a truly layered website currently featuring a “wonderland” range for Easter and pitches his delights as a “gourmet sin”.
Next we have Neuhaus, claiming to be “the inventor of praline”.
Woah! That’s a big call.
Sorry for the shaky photo, I think it’s because I was shaking with excitement. Also impressively, he started off as a pharmacist and covered his medications in chocolate. Talk about a spoonful of sugar! Now they’ve expanded into the US and have a number of boutiques in NY and New Jersey. One of their collections, according to their website features 9 exquisite flavours curated by 9 of the world’s best pastry chefs (ALL men I might point out). Looks pretty tasty, though.
Now here’s a brand I had never heard of but Agata assured me was a temple of chocolate. Mary.
What a charming website. Very hand crafted. Where she made “little gems” in her “magic laboratory”. crafting chocolate treats for the Royal family and devoted her life to chocolate, a chocolate nun if you will. Her website claims her holy dedication –
“Mary Delluc, artist and gourmet, never got married, and decided, for the love of her profession, to spend her life in her workshops and stores.”
As their packaging proudly states, they are a Belgian Royal Warrant holder, no less. Many stores in Brussels and across Belgium and one outpost in lucky Ohio.
Super impressive selection I must say. And one that I will indulge in very happily over the next little while. Once again, thank you Agata!! Packages of chocolate are warmly welcomed in these parts.