Well I have been in Belgium for almost a week now. There are lots of things I could talk about and lots of things we have done so far, but I'd rather talk about chocolate! Yesterday afternoon Janee and I got out of our neighborhood and went for a walk and tour of what I am going to refer to as the chocolate district. It is really just a nice area of town that has all of the famous chocolate shops in it. We tasted our way through--It was kind of like a wine tasting...but tastier.
We took the tram and got off at the palace and had a walk through the gardens (which are supposedly mirrored after the gardens of Versailles...although they were not that impressive). There was a statue of an angel baby slaughtering a pig (pictured up top, although it is a bit difficult to make it out). I thought that was interesting.
We saw an American flag flying at one of the buildings bordering the gardens, and after Janee told me that it was not the embassy we went to investigate what it was. After staring for a while I crossed the street to ask the guard what it was. It was the embassy. OK, so it was the back side (which apparently looks really different) so I guess that is why she was so confused. Anyway, the guard then told me that I couldn't take a picture (not that I wanted one) because if I did the van full of cops next to him would cross the street and delete it from my camera. OK. I kind of thought he was joking at first, so I asked him if I should try it out. He said I could, but that it was kind of scary. All right. Duly noted.
Anyway, from there we went into all the different shops looking at, smelling and tasting all the best chocolates.
We stopped at the only Côte d'Or chocolate shop in the world and picked out some interesting fresh chocolates including pecan and peppercorns, cranberry almond, marshmallow nougat, pistachio and sea-salt, pineapple, and cherry and green tea.
From there we went into a couple of well known shops such as Leonides which is really good and probably the most reasonably priced.
Then! We went into what Janee called the Tiffany's of Chocolates. Everything gets wrapped up in black boxes with black bows and, no joke, there was a consultant explaining different kinds of chocolates to a couple at a desk helping them to purchase what they wanted. Everything was also ridiculously expensive. They had fresh chocolates you could pick out and buy by weight, so considering it was the best of the best chocolate I figured I would splurge on a single piece. The guy behind the counter recommended his favorite--dark chocolate with a caramel espresso filling--and then gave it to me for free! I don't know if it would have been worth what I would have had to pay for it, but for free, it was a delicious bite of chocolate.
We stopped at the real Godiva shop for some fresh truffles.
Then we rounded out the day with a trip to Neuhaus for one last bite.
These were milk chocolates with toffee and a coffee/fudge/caramel-y center. Delicious.
All in all it was a great day! For one thing it was nice to just be in a different part of the city and it was a good reward for the 1500 ESL fliers we stuffed into individual mailboxes the evening before.