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December 28, 2007

Michael Recchiuti Making Truffles....

In an elevator? And that's Michael Recchiuti as in Recchiuti Confections and the frabnabulous cookbook (with the wonderful name) Chocolate Obsession. And he's teaching you how to make truffles. In an elevator.

I have to wonder what series of events brought The Man (and he deserves the capitals on that) to be teaching how to make truffles in an elevator, but that really is somewhat beside the point because the whole thing is up on YouTube for everybody to enjoy!

You can follow this lovely link to get to the videos (two parts) or you can view them here on the front page (assuming the embed thing works right).

As a total aside I just realized he has a blog! Cool!


December 27, 2007

More Holiday Chocolate

When I was writing my list of gift ideas I ended up with a category of gifts that was just a little on the extravagant side of things. The items on the list just didn't fit among the more reasonable chocolate gifts I was presenting so I just sort of held them back. I wanted to share the ideas, but decided that they should get their own post. And now, with Christmas behind us, I am going to belatedly finish posting my little list.

So the concept here is this: what do you give the chocolate lover on your list when you have entirely too much money? The answer seemed pretty simple to me: travel. When giving a box of chocolate just isn't enough then you step up to the next level and give an entire city of it. Once again - this list will be anything but complete and limited by my knowledge and experience. Use you imagination and I'm sure you could come up with something to put my little list to shame.

Now, to the list!

First off I have to offer up the Hershey Hotel. Hershey Pennsylvania is (I am told) a fun place to visit and with the whole Hershey Park and Hershey's Chocolate World it's a great one to do if you have kids along. And the hotel offers up a chocolate spa and various chocolate packages. So whether it's a trip to just relax and indulge or a full-fledged family vacation it offers up something for everybody.

Next up are a pair of cities that have a serious chocolate presence. I'll start with San Francisco. Home to Ghirardelli and Scharffen Berger as well as Recchiuti Confections (so embarrassed I forgot them first time through) and Charles Chocolates the city has a lot to offer. And the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival each year sounds like a winner. And if the timing for that doesn't work, then hitting the Chocolate Salon when it's running is another option. And even if you don't get into town during a big event, it still has more than enough to offer to make it a great chocolate destination.

And then there is New York City. I've learned first hand that there is an insane amount of good chocolate to be had in the city at restaurants and chocolatiers and even grocery stores and beer specialty shops. To take it all in would require at least a month of concentrated eating and I don't know if even that would be sufficient. They have outposts from some of the finest chocolatiers in the world in the city as well as local players who easily compete with them. And for the child with you (or in you) there are the Hershey and M&M's stores in Times Square. Personally I think somebody should take a good boutique hotel in the city, add a restaurant with a world class chef, and make it a chocolate hotel, but that's just my little vision. Anyway, while there you can wander on your own or take a couple of walking chocolate tours through Chocolate ZOOM as a great guided introduction to the city's chocolate. And while you're there you have everything else that New York has to offer right at your fingertips. And if you time things right you can do the New York Chocolate Show as well. As far as I'm concerned this is the ultimate chocolate destination in the US. As I travel more I may change my mind, but for now I don't see how anything could beat the Big Apple.

But if you open your eyes beyond the borders of our little country you get some even more interesting possibilities and even a destination that puts New York to shame. There are chocolate cruises offered throughout the year and I've seen a few cruises offered where a chocolatier will be along to teach and share on the cruise. And since a lot of cruises go down to Central America it offers the chance to go out and visit an actual chocolate plantation. There was, at a time (can't find evidence of it now), a class you could take where you would spend time at the plantation working on making chocolate and making chocolates and that, to me, would be an amazing experience.

But possibly the most over the top and extremely awesome chocolate travel idea is a trip to Paris and a chocolate tour led by the incomparable David Lebovitz and Mort Rosenblum, too!). Even as great as I think New York is, I can't imagine that there is a better city in the world for chocolate than Paris and when you set aside the chocolate for a minute you realize - it's Paris! I suppose if you want to take it even further over the top you could make it part of a Mediterranean cruise or a whirlwind chocolate tour of Europe. Any way you offer it up, it's a heckuva way to tell somebody you love them.

So those are a few ideas that I happened to have while putting together my list. They aren't your normal every day chocolate gift by any stretch of the imagination, but if you're looking to give something over the top extravagant then this might help get you started.

December 26, 2007

Post Holiday Frenzy!

Well, another Christmas is behind us and that can only mean one thing - sales! It's time to start looking for the post-holiday bargains and I plan to do just that. I have more candy than I need already, but have a hard time ignoring chocolate at a steep discount. Not that I plan to buy much - I never really do - I just like to find a little bargain item here or there. It's fun. So far I've been to one place with no prices marked down, just a sign that select Christmas items were 50% off. They only had one thing I would have bought and their normal price for it was too high so I gave it a pass for now. In another couple of days when it's 75% off I might go back, though.

But sales aren't the only thing the passing of Christmas means, at least around here. I've been caught up in my holiday prep for the past couple of weeks and, as such, have been distracted from posting as much as I'd like. But I have a number of topics I need to touch on that came up as far back as the week before I went to New York (early November!). A few things to expect over the next couple of weeks:

  • A little more holiday chocolate talk
  • Betsy Ann Chocolates
  • Sugardaddy's Sweeties
  • Patric Chocolate's Madagascar bar
  • Amano's limited edition Cuyagua bar
  • Lindt's Intense Orange bar
  • Charles Chocolate's Tea Collection
  • Jones Soda Christmas Cocoa

Hope all of you had (or a still having) a good holiday!

December 12, 2007

Holiday Chocolate

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is probably the premier chocolate holiday and I always like to look at all of the lovely chocolate products that they come up with each year. It just makes such a great gift (or a little something to keep to oneself while shopping). And on the subject of gifts....

As is obvious we have this lovely coupon from Charles Chocolates for everybody to use and I think that they have a lot of items that would make wonderful gifts, but they may not have something for everybody. And so I'm putting together a quickie list of gift ideas and people who are having promotions or sales and might make somebody happy this season. The list will be horribly incomplete and will, sadly, only feature places I actually know. If you think something else belongs on the list by all means leave a comment! Your ideas may be tons better than mine!

When It Has To Be Chocolate
The chocolate lover on your list can be one of the easiest or most difficult persons to shop for depending on their tastes. For some only the finest dark chocolate will do and some just want to try everything and others like to stick to varietals for their fix. It can be difficult to get things just right for some people, but I have a few options that should help with any taste.

The first and possibly easiest option is Chocosphere. They carry an amazing array of chocolates from around the world and do up custom gift bags, baskets, and boxes with the option to make special request as to their contents. So you can specify the tastes that the person you're shopping for has and they can fill the order appropriately. They can make it easy to shop for even the most discerning chocolate connoisseur or just somebody who loves to taste chocolates from around the world. Of course, if you know exactly what they like you can order the specific items and build your own special package. They also have a great section of gift ideas including some great samplers, gift certificates, and a chocolate of the month club.

The next option is to go to any of the chocolatiers with a solid online presence and see what they have to offer. It might pay to go with one in your general region to help guarantee delivery at this semi-late hour. I’m not going to go over all of the options as there are a million and a half. I will hit a few who have specials going on, though. Vosges (Chicago) has some fantastic gift items available with free ground shipping through the 15th, John and Kira’s have free shipping on orders over $75, See’s ships their gift cards for free, if you’re in the UK then Charbonnel et Walker give you free drinking chocolate with each order over £30 and free shipping to boot, and there is always the 15% off from Charles Chocolates (San Fran).

The online chocolatiers are great and all, but there is a lot to be said for the local chocolatiers. If you can give a good and thoughtful gift and support the little guy (or gal) then by all means do so. You don’t have to worry about shipping, you get to see exactly what you’re getting and more than likely pick out exactly what goes in the box.

And, if things come down to the wire then there are always the mall shops (Godiva, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory) and semi-regional stores (Betsy Ann in the Pittsburgh area, Anthony Thomas in Central Ohio) to fall back on. And they can be fantastic options, too. Whenever I have brought Betsy Ann around to work people have raved about it. The thing is this: buying chocolate at the grocery store doesn’t say much. Buying from a specialty store does. Nuff said?

And now a few, erm, specialized categories.

For the Tea and Chocolate Lover

  • I already mentioned Charles Chocolates but I feel I should mention their Tea Collection. For the dark chocolate and tea lover there really aren't many ways you can do better than this. I have heard wonderful things about it though I have not yet tried it (I used the coupon to get myself some), but given their track record I expect it's fantastic.
  • MarieBelle, who some may remember from Hot Chocolate Week last year, have their own ideal gift in this category: Dark Obsession Chocolate Rose Tea. The actually have a lot of teas and hot chocolates and offer up a nice combo pack with tea, coffee, and hot chocolate.
  • And that's not all! SerendipiTea have a lovely box set of Chocolate Tea that they offer. It's actually a really beautiful set that comes in a nice wooden display box with separate canisters for each of the six teas it comes with.

For the Fruit and Chocolate Lover
And speaking of caramel….

For the Caramel Lover

Something Different?
  • For the chocolate lover who might find themselves in New York City there is the option of a walking tour from Chocolate ZOOM.
  • If your chocolate lover loves to bake then cookbooks are a wonderful way to go. I have a fondness for one called Chocolate Obsession (though I consider Cocolat from Alice Medrich to be the prize of my collection and almost always the first book I consult).
  • Help the chocolate lover on your list make their own chocolate with the help of Chocolate Alchemy.

I have another list of sorts, but it’s beyond the realm of typical gift giving so I’m going to hold it for a separate post.

December 11, 2007

Share The Love With Charles Chocolates

What makes a better gift than chocolate? Well, good chocolate, of course. But how do you one up that? Use a coupon code and use the money you save to buy more chocolate!

And to make that happen Chocolate Obsession is happy to share with you an exclusive coupon code for 15% off at the Charles Chocolates online store. The coupon is good through next Monday, the 17th so act fast!


Click the lovely little graphic above to access the store and use the promo code CHOCOBSESSION and you'll get a quick and easy 15% off. If you're a regular reader you'll know by now that I love Charles Chocolates and recommend them without reservation.

So share the love, save some green, and have a happy holiday!

December 8, 2007

Safari Report Part Six

Here it is, the wrap-up I promised some days ago. I’ve gotten caught up in holiday stuff and life in general and just haven’t had the time to put it together. Until now.

After Monday I had class for the rest of the week so my only real option for getting more chocolate was the two hours between when class ended and most places closed. I planned to use those two hours as best as I could. So Tuesday when class finished up I jumped on the subway and headed down to Union Square to visit Max Brenner and Michel Cluizel.

Max Brenner is an actual restaurant with a bit of a chocolate shop in the front. They were giving out samples of some fabulously evil nuts that they did something to (looking at the website I think it’s “Caramelized pecan rolled in praline cream and fine cocoa powder”) and I could easily eat all day. With that in me I decided it was time to get something more inside of me and see how other things are there. The restaurant was pretty crowded so I just ordered a Dark Chocolate Granita (a frappe) at the drink bar and then grabbed some chocolate from the shop. I don’t remember much of what I got beyond what I think was a blueberry truffle. I do know I enjoyed everything I tried and the Granita was great as well.

With my chocolates secured and my drink in hand I walked the short distance to ABC Carpet & Home where the Michel Cluizel store is located. Lurking in the back of the store and down a few stairs is the only Michel Cluizel store in the US. And to me it’s like some sort of magical paradise. I didn’t know it at the time, but the chocolates I picked up there were some of the best I would get during my trip. The highlights were a number of excellent liqueur bonbons, a Grand Marnier Thistle (white chocolate filled with Grand Marnier – has a wonderful crunch to it and a lovely liqueur hit), and the mighty Cacaoforte which is a 99% cacao mass slab of goodness that has to be tried to be believed. I tried the Cacaoforte that night back at the hotel and fell in love with it on the spot. I really wish I had tried more of the pieces while I was there so I could have bought more to bring home, but I was really eating a lot of chocolate from a lot of places and I figured I would cut things short and not overdose.

Wednesday night I went to see Young Frankenstein the Musical (one of the few shows not shut down by the stagehands strike) and didn’t really have a lot of time for chocolate. The show, being a adaptation of one of my favorite movies, was great fun for me. I love the energy of a Broadway show and this one was ideal for me.

Thursday night, my last night in the city, I had been planning to go up and hit Serendipity3 for the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate since I had missed it earlier in the week, but, as I had mentioned earlier, they got closed down for some vermin issues. I had planned on hitting Dylan’s Candy Bar and Bloomingdale’s while I was up there and when I realized that Serendipity3 was off the menu I just forgot about the other places and changed my plans to going back to Cluizel for some more Cacaoforte for my rabbit sitters and myself and then tracking down some dinner. I rather overdid dinner with some fish and chips from A Salt And Battery down in the Village (best meal of the trip) and picked up some beers at Whole Foods to enjoy with that night’s big football game back at the hotel.

The next morning I got hauled off to the airport and headed home.

And immediately started to miss New York.

Anyway, the summary is what we’re after tonight. The places I really wanted to hit and didn’t get around to actually visiting:

  • Bloomingdale’s (so I could try some Martine’s)
  • Dylan’s Candy Bar
  • Chocolate Bar NYC
  • Economy Candy (forgot about it entirely in the rush of planning)
  • The Chocolate Room
  • Bierkraft (they have chocolate as well as beer)
  • Cocoa Bar
  • Christopher Norman Chocolates
  • Room 4 Dessert
  • Shake Shack
  • Varsano’s Chocolates
  • Lombardi’s Pizza
  • All the museums

Things I learned:

  • The Chocolate Show is very crowded on Sunday. Friday may be the best option.
  • There are no ATMs at the Chocolate Show and there is no re-entry once you leave.
  • Some of the exhibitors at the show are set up for credit cards. This is good.
  • The Subway is awesome.
  • New York City has an amazing array of chocolate to sample.
  • Being in New York City during both a writers strike and a stagehands strike is a terrible thing.
  • Even if everybody is on strike it is easy to have a great time in New York City.

Can’t wait to go back.

December 3, 2007

Safari Report Part Five

Well, I lost what I had started on the final full day of freedom in the big city, but I will not allow this to stop me! Starting over!

Day two was looking pretty ambitious as far as what all I wanted to get done. I had three Japanese bookstores to hit in addition to Nintendo World (to try Mario Galaxy out), Saks, Rockefeller Center and, oh yeah, there were about a dozen chocolate destinations I wanted to hit as well. I had this great plan all laid out with my subway directions and where and when to break for lunch and hauling stuff back to the hotel and I actually followed through on a lot of it.

The first stops of the morning were at Kinokuniya and Book-Off for some manga. The opportunity to get my hands on some of the manga I was missing was too much to resist so I had to go. But once I was done with them it was off to find chocolate! After going to Nintendo World (they actually had wii in stock - I so should have bought one or three and mailed them back to myself). I figured I'm a big kid at heart and a minor Nintendo fanboy so I more or less had to go. They had just had their big Mario Galaxy premiere party the previous night (which I had considered attending) and I figured that they would have it out for play and they did. Messed around with it a little and decided that it was time to move on.

My next stop was one of the places I had really been looking forward to visiting - La Maison du Chocolat. They have quite the reputation going for them so I really wanted to stop in while I was in town. After a bit of really confused searching (I came close to walking into Godiva and asking for directions to their competition - that would have been awkward) I finally found the place and sat down for (what else) some hot chocolate. They have a more bitter European style and a sweeter American style and I immediately opted for the European and turned down the cream on the side. I wanted it straight up and was really glad I got it that way. It was good strong stuff. After a few minutes of watching them shuffle around the new shipment (they get weekly shipments from the home office) I decided that the remaining half of my hot chocolate would really go nicely with a macaron. So I got a raspberry macaron and enjoyed it with the rest of my hot chocolate. The good, "bitter" (I didn't consider it bitter so much as just not overly sweetened) hot chocolate was really good with the nice sweet macaron. Having blown a good bit of money on chocolate the prior day and on manga that same morning I decided to limit myself to no more than $10 per chocolatier and my hot chocolate and macaron put me up to the limit for La Maison. I had decided, though, that at some point in the future I would have to go back to work over their selection of chocolates. This time around I was more there just to be there and try a little something. And having done so I moved on.

Next on the list was a side trip to another Kinokuniya just to see if they had anything different that I wanted but once done there I quickly moved on to Saks. And while Saks may sound like a normal touristy shopping destination I was there for more than just the enormous Jhane Barnes section (not that it wasn't worth the trip - I love Jhane's clothes). I was there for Charbonnel et Walker who lurk on the top floor of the store. They have a nice bright café with this cool single strip chandelier thing going around the counter area and a conveyor belt of chocolate dessert fun to boot. Of course they also have the all-important chocolates. I got a Pink Champagne Truffle and a Buck Fizz Truffle and pushed on. Both were excellent. I’ll definitely go back next time I’m in town.

The next stop had me sort of backtracking across the street to visit Teuscher. Their store was quite friendly and fun with lots of neat stuff to check out on the way to the counter where the real fun happens (at least to me). I’m pretty sure that they had a good bit of holiday action going on, but I sure can’t tell you if it was Thanksgiving, Christmas, or both. I was really mainly worried about picking just a few pieces of chocolate from the case. This actually turned out to be pretty easy. I just went with what sounded good to me. A Champagne Truffle, a Zebra Gianduja, and some raspberry log thing (I think it was). All were tasty.

Next on the list was Richart, another place I had been looking forward to visiting. They have a really nice relatively simple store with a few pieces from a couple of artists adorning the walls opposite the counter. They state on the website that the stores are minimally designed so the focus is naturally on the chocolate. I really don’t remember at all what I got there, but I know that I picked up three different pieces and I’m betting money one of them had raspberry happening in it somewhere. I remember liking them, but can’t for the life of me say what they were. Sorry, it’s been too long and I’ve had too much going on.

I can tell you exactly what I got from my next stop, though. The final pre-late-lunch stop was Pierre Marcolini, where I ended up talking OSU vs Michigan while trying to decide what I wanted in the way of chocolate. I ended up with a Coeuer Framboise (bitter chocolate raspberry ganache in white chocolate all in the shape of a heart), a Citron (Earl Grey with lemon and lime zest coated in dark chocolate), and a Thym Orange (with thyme and orange peel). All were very good, especially the Citron.

At this point I wanted some lunch and I figured it was enough past the lunch rush that I could get a seat at Serendipity3, home of the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate and some insano expensive desserts with gold spoons and the like (I try to ignore that sort of thing – I’m more about the food than the money). I’d heard good things about the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate and so I figured it was worth a stop. I got seated immediately (they had a little table fit for one so I got right in) and started looking over the menu. Figuring that I’d been eating mostly chocolate all day I figured it was time to order a sandwich so I settled in on a spicy black bean and salsa burger and figured I’d chase it with the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. And then I saw another table get served their FHC (tired of typing it again and again). The thing was huge. It was a dessert fit for four and I really wasn’t ready to face it down so I just ran with my sammich (which was pretty good and satisfying). Sadly (or not?), I was going to go back for the FHC on Thursday after class, but stopping in my room first I saw on the news that they had been shut down due to flies, mice, and roaches. I’d seen nothing when I was there, but my eye was sort of caught by the lovely décor (decked out for the holidays) and the crazy big desserts they were serving up. I hope they can get their stuff together. I like the style of the place with all it’s Tiffany Lamps. The worst things I could really say (given the limited tasting of their menu that I had) was that the place was super crowded and cramped and seemed pricey to me, but most of New York seemed pricey to me so what do I know. Anyway, I had my lunch and left.

After that I walked right past Dylan’s Candy Bar and Bloomingdale's and started to head downtown to unload my stuff back at the hotel. Bloomie's and Dylan’s could wait. I had three more nights in the city and would, in theory, make it in. If you’ve been reading this whole travesty then you’ll have spotted the pattern. I did not make it back. I didn’t make it in due to a combination of Serendipity3’s infestations and my love of Michel Cluizel who I’ll talk about more in the wrap-up sometime in the next couple of days.

December 1, 2007

Safari Report Part Four

I really wasn't entirely sure how to proceed with the next part of this. After the Chocolate Show I cut back on what I was spending at each individual chocolatier to the point where I only picked up a couple of pieces from each one (with certain exceptions). And I made my way through the city at a pretty quick pace so some of the places sort of jumble together in my mind. I figure the best I can do is to try and just give my impressions of each place as best I can and call it good enough.

When the Chocolate Show got to the point where it was just too crowded for me to enjoy myself any more I decided it was time to head back to the hotel to unload my haul of chocolate. Once I had unloaded everything I figured that I might as well take the opportunity to head down to SoHo since I had missed out the previous night.

So it was time for me to finally face the subway. I had read all sorts of things about the subway, both positive and negative, and therefore had no idea really what to expect. But I bought my MetroCard, swiped through the turnstyle and jumped on the train as it pulled up all quite painlessly.

A few minutes later I emerged from the Houston Street station and started hoofing it over to Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven. The place feels really comfortable and relaxed while at the same time maintaining a casual class about itself. I had been partaking of chocolate all day (and was planning on having a hot chocolate at my next stop) so I only bought some pieces to go as opposed to kicking back and having a Wicked Hot Chocolate (which I love). I figured I'd have all week to head back for one so why rush to do it all on day one? Of course I didn't make it back. In the end I had a few pieces from the case and a package of dark chocolate covered marshmallows (which I could eat all day).

After a bit of routing trouble with the entrance to the Holland Tunnel I managed to make my way over to MarieBelle (who just opened a new place up on Madison Avenue - cool). I'd say it's a bit more elegant than Chocolate Haven, but still manages to be relaxed and comfortable. In the back of the store, behind the main counter, is their Cacao Bar and Tea Salon, which is where I had been planning on having a cup of their Spicy Hot Chocolate or at least a cup of their Dark Obsession Chocolate Rose Tea (ooh, that sounds all kinds of tasty), but they were crowded. Lots of people in the store and full up in the Cacao Bar. So I added it to the list of places I would return to later in the week (and the list of places I would fail to return to) and pushed on empty handed (noooo!). I wanted to take pictures, but the place was pretty crowded and while it's one thing to take pictures of a business and the people working there it's quite another to take a picture of the place and all the customers as well. At least to me it is. So I didn't even bother asking if photos were ok because even if they were I would have been unhappy taking pictures with lots of innocent people who have nothing to do with my blog.

The next stop was, in theory, Kee's Chocolates, but I got sidetracked by the art vendors along the street and ended up buying a piece (which was brutalized in my luggage on the way back home - the glass in the frame was shattered and there is a small dent in the picture itself which is a watercolor of a bunny - decor for Sophie's room). Alas. In the course of buying it I needed to get some cash (since the chocolate show had taken it all away) and some lunch so I stopped by Famous Ben's Pizza of SoHo and got a slice of white pizza (which was good - not great, just good - but not the way I like my white - I like garlic and fresh basil on top and this was bare) and hit the atm.

So, full of pizza and loaded with street art and a bit of cash, I turned my attention to finding Kee's. The shop itself is really simple as I remember it. Brick walls leading back to a small case where the chocolate is. And the chocolate looks fabulous of course. This was one of my primary destinations for my trip so I got a box of a dozen assorted pieces from the case (somehow I missed the macaroons - I don't remember seeing any at all and I would have probably bought some if they had registered in my brain at all). Everything I've had from it was really good, but the standout piece for me was the Pistachio (a white chocolate and pistachio truffle). I need to go back at some point and get a selection for tasting with a eye toward time and careful thought as opposed to the grabbing a piece from the box when the fancy takes me (which is how the box I bought went). Very pleased that I got to visit.

The final stop on my quick run through the streets of SoHo was Vosges Haut-Chocolat. At this point I was ready for that hot chocolate that I had missed out on back at MarieBelle so I ordered their Aztec Elixir which is the hot chocolate that I managed to forget to order for hot chocolate week last winter. Quite good. Drinkable (as opposed to some of the thicker hot chocolates out there) and nicely spicy. And, since I had been dying of curiosity (however it's spelled), I bought a box of the Itialiano Collection to try out. After seeing how well the combination of cheese and chocolate could be from the Smokey Blue Truffle I was really looking forward to trying the Rooster. At that point I still had the strange misconception that it was a chunk of cheese covered in chocolate (they show those spikes of cheese and a rooster next to it and my mind rushes to the wrong conclusion). After I let one get up to room temperature back at the hotel I was pleased to find that it's a truffle and a really neat tasting experience.

At this point my rush of planning fell apart. I had planned a good bit of what to do when I made my SoHo run, but since I had planned for it to be my first night in the city I had also added onto the end of it some optional places to go to top off the night and one of them was Alison Nelson's Chocolate Bar NYC. I had every intention of going there the first night and once I got past the first night and out and about town I forgot it entirely. So that's one more place I missed.

It was late afternoon at this point and I had a full load of stuff again so I hopped the train back to the hotel and went in search of dinner and found my way to Whole Foods for some dinner (where I skipped the chocolates in the case - Knipschildt I believe - I just don't trust that they'll be fresh from a display case like that). And then I settled in to relax a little (with a little chocolate) before setting out to wander the city a little more on foot (I did this a lot - it's a fun place for people who like to walk). And that's pretty much where day one ended.

Most of the write-up for day two is done so it should show up tomorrow. Then I can wrap up the whole mess and turn my attention to some items that have been happening since I got back. Not to mention holiday chocolate.