Chocolates at Pierre Marcolini.

I’m feeling very depressed today, friends, so I’ve decided to cheer myself up by writing about chocolate.

Mainly, I love it.  I don’t, however, love it in the sense that look down upon mass-marketed chocolate and only allow artisinal types to pass my lips.  I’m happy with a bar of Dove dark chocolate — a square of which is melting on my tongue right now, in case you were wondering, and I know you were.

That said, when I was in Belgium, I knew there was no way I was leaving the country without having some of the chocolate the country is famous for.  Pierre Marcolini, Avenue LouiseWhich is why Darlington*, Keith and I sat outside of Pierre Marcolini on Avenue Louise for well over an hour, eating chocolate.

Before we got down to the eating, we first had to get through the picking.  The chocolatier makes the vastest array of pralines, truffles, macarons and biscuits that I’ve ever seen; we decided to make our own mix of flavors, rather than buying a pre-assorted box (though I have to tell you that the packaging on these little containers is slick, sleek and a bit sexy — just like the chocolates themselves).

Darlington Brussels, 4Though Keith also snapped up a slender strip of vanilla-bean marshmallows, the three of us mainly made our choices from the praline and Palets Fins collection, which was not easy.  We each tried three or four different chocolates, and I scribbled notes on our reactions.  Here’s some of what I was able to interpret out of my excited chickenscratch:

  • Keith on Quatre Épices:  “This one is really good.  I would buy a package of these.”**
  • Darlington, on the Pavé de Tours:  “Mm, it’s like a reverse wafer cookie.”
  • Nayiri on the cassis:  “You pierce it, and your mouth gets flooded with this really fierce blackcurrant.”

As we smacked our lips at each other and considered the flavors spreading across our tongues, we saw a young Belgian man amble out of the store, carelessly popping square after square of chocolate into his mouth.  I took notes of our thoughts on that too:

N: I love how that guy just bought a bag of fancy chocolate and is just scarfing them down.

D: Why would you do that?

K: Yes, why isn’t he writing notes about them, taking pictures of them in the bag, out of the bag, of the empty bag and the inside of the bag?

Though I was initially aghast, I realized that I would do the same thing, if I were accustomed to such awesome chocolate and living in Belgium.  But I never thought I’d say this: I’m glad I don’t.  Otherwise a sunny afternoon spent sitting on a bench with two lovely people and a bag of chocolate wouldn’t feel remotely as special..

* Darlington took some of these photos.
** This is a big deal, as Keith isn’t into chocolate at all, generally speaking.
This is a list of companies who produce chocolate, not chocolates. That is, they process cocoa beans into a product versus melting chocolate for use as coating or molding into truffles, pralines, or other chocolate confectionaries.

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