Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I found myself in a quandary over the weekend: what do you get a 38-yr-old woman for her birthday when you've known her for less than two weeks? Normally, the answer would be "nothing," but my co-worker has already proven to be sweet, funny, and helpful, and she was nice enough to get me a little welcome gift my second day in the office. I wanted to show my appreciation with a birthday gift, but the language difference makes it nearly impossible to communicate with her and the black business suits we're required to wear to the office haven't provided any hints about her tastes. I decided a nice bottle of wine would be a relatively safe option, but when I arrived at the wine shop on a Sunday afternoon, it was closed. Fortunately, I'd seen Chateau Chocolat on the way and decided a lovely box of chocolates was a suitable alternative.

I went with the "New World" set (whatever that means) for just under $20, and felt that the beauty and quality of the chocolates warranted the price.

While I was there, I decided to try one of their many intriguing varieties of hot chocolate. Since discovering Mexican hot chocolate at a late stage in life (not something I grew up with in Idaho), it's been difficult for me to settle for plain hot chocolate, so I decided to order the Aztec Chili.

Oh my my: emphasis on the chili. The chocolate was dark, viscous, and seriously spicy. There was more of a kick in this hot chocolate than in the kimchi jjigae I'd consumed for lunch a few hours before. I repeatedly went back for more sips because the first experience of chocolate on my tongue was so creamy and pleasant, but then the spice would bust through and ruin my revelry. It wasn't a level of spice that I couldn't handle, but it grated my throat and was way too strong for a dessert. If this had been better balanced, it would have been truly delicious; instead, I had to throw it away before I'd even finished a quarter of it. Next time I'll try the Classic Elixir.

Of course, I also had to take home a few chocolates of my own. The results? Creamy, rich, perfect.

Next Valentine's Day or White Day, skip the ubiquitous convenience store chocolates and head to Chateau Chocolat.

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