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This is a little spot to call my own. I'm here to blog about what is on my mind and my plate! This is a place to share my journey to becoming a healthier and stronger me!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chocolat Chocolat!

Bonjour tout le monde!!
I have had a chocolate filled day to say the least. Thank goodness I started the day off right with a 3.67 mile run in 41:00 minutes. Not fast by any means, but what can one really expect when the food is taking priority over the fitness? Anyways, before I went on my run through Le Parc de L'Orangarie (click to see some beautiful pictures of the park), I ate a light petite déjeuner of cherries, pineapple, yogurt, and coffee.After a relaxing session of Yoga for Runners, a shower, and watching a film for my class on the gypsy's in Hungary (can you say random?!), I once again found myself hungry. We had no class today, so I met up with a friend to try out a recommended café from a girl who knows good food. Danielle suggested I try Bistro et Chocolat for some healthy grub at a reasonable price.I ordered their Plat du Jour, which just so happened to be a vegetarian quiche with a refreshing side salad tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. The quiche was cooked to perfection. The chef used cheese sparingly and created a light, flaky dough. It was nice to not feel like I had eaten a pile of grease, but rather a healthy spin on an old favorite. My dining companion wanted to try something off of their extensive dessert menu, but I opted out, knowing what the rest of the day had in store. Instead I ordered the Parfum des Îles, which was a combination of vanilla and rooibos.It was perfectly mild and left me feeling refreshed (not jittery as the coffee usually does). After lunch, we procrastinated the afternoon away by exploring more of the Cathedralé.It took a month, but I finally took a stroll through the inside! Oh my gosh, I have been missing out. The architecture is unreal and they even have an astronomical clock that has been refurbished. It is a very peaceful atmosphere, and even though I am not religious, I think I want to try to go to a mass service before I leave. I feel like it would be a nice experience.

Speaking of experiences, let's just talk about my afternoon for a second. The SU center organized a chocolate tasting at a local pâtisserie here in Strasbourg. More specifically, with one of the most respected and coveted chocolatiers in town, Christophé of Pâtisserie Christian.
The man himself!
Talk about passion. The way he described how he made his chocolates and the care he places in ordering cocoa beans is admirable. He works directly with farmers around the world to create fair trade chocolate bars and pralines(the chocolate squares you see pictured). He compared tasting chocolates to wine tastings, which I had never really thought about before, but the analogy actually makes a lot of sense. He told us to roll the chocolate around on our tongues to capture each of the different flavors all while breathing in as to use multiple senses to attain the most enjoyable experience.He graciously educated the group on each element that goes into creating a truly unique chocolate. We tasted raw cocoa beans (which was a first for me!)...
...and then some candied cocoa beans (which they serve alongside each drink you order in the café).
We examined the larger cocoa plant from which the beans are extracted before diving into the mountains of chocolate that were staring us in the face throughout his description of the process.
In all, we sampled 4 different types of chocolate bars that contained cocoa beans from New Guinea, Bolivia, Trinidad, and Ecuador. As we sampled, he explained what our taste buds were sensing, which ranged from bitter to acidic, to smooth and rich. From there, Christophé explained each of the praline chocolates before letting us have samples.
My personal favorites were the ones one the very far right (Ghanan cocoa beans with chestnut honey and nuts from Cyprus)...and the second from the left......which was a cinnamon flavored chocolate (equal parts milk and dark) with a hint of sea salt. I found that the salt really brought out the sweetness of the chocolate. By the time we had sampled them all (and we cut each one in half!), I was in a chocolate food coma. It was a very unique experience and one of the cooler things I have ever done! I think I will definitely be more aware of the chocolate I eat after this!

After a leisurely walk home (which I desperately needed), I came home to find dinner on the table. I was not hungry by any means, which my host mom knew, but she cooked up a feast nonetheless. On tap for tonight...Mussels (ou des moules) fresh from la mér!
There were mountains of other food of course, but they went unpictured tonight. Highlights include a light spinach salad (my favorite!!)

Ok this post has been long enough and it is high time for me to actually go comatose and sleep off all the chocolate!!

Plans for this weekend include a trip to the Black Forest and a day trip to Basil, Switzerland!

Until next time,
~Jenn

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