Sunday, January 22, 2012

Food for Thought

Yesterday we took our ill-advised monthly trip to Belgium, to pick up some urgent supplies. By urgent, I mean my chocolate stash was teetering on the brink of depletion. Fortunately DEC's cellar of exotic brews was equally dwindling, so we decided to brave the snowfall and drizzle to undertake the six hour round trip. Little did we know that our GPS had decided to no longer take us direct routes, preferring instead to route us the... shall we say...creative...way through rural backroads. When it's pouring down with sleet and there is no street lighting nor other cars to illuminate your path, there's no better route than through the mountains doing hairpin turns. Fun times.

I could barely constrain myself from kissing the ground when we finally made it home long after nightfall. I'm not sure how much longer I could have put up with the Chimay cheese fragrance emanating from the trunk. I could have sworn someone snuck a Limburger into our grocery bag.
At least I am now able to enjoy a couple of my favorite items once again:

1. Pere Joseph & pears
Pere Joseph (I realize it's missing it's accent, thank you) and pears make for a delicious food pairing. Pere Joseph is an "abbey" cheese, purported to have been developed by monks. Mmmmh oh heavenly creaminess. The grainy sugary texture of pears offsets the richness of the cheese nicely. Sprinkle on a bit of Paprika powder and you've got perfection. Williams pears of course go well with most cheeses, but my favorites are Pere Joseph and Caprice des Dieux, the latter being a French Brie.

2. Lavazza & Cote d'Or
As a tea (with milk!) drinker, my knowledge of the finer points of coffee is limited.
I became a convert to Lavazza (and, to a lesser extent, Illy) when I discovered it didn't need sugar or milk to brew a very enjoyable strong espresso.
But no coffee is complete without my favorite flavor-enhancer: Belgian chocolate. Who needs sugar when you have chocolate? I'm particularly fond of Cote d'Or (again, I'm aware of the missing accent) dark chocolate. Cote d'Or "fondant"-"puur" has a minimum of 48% chocolate content. If you prefer even darker chocolate there is Cote d'Or Noir de Noir (blackest of black), which has at least 54%. Any more than that and I think it becomes too bitter, crumbly and better used for baking than eating straight from the pack.

But enough about food! The third thing on my mind this Sunday is Summer! After the horrendous weather we had yesterday and the biting cold we've had to endure without the benefit of beautiful snow or skiing opportunity, I think I am ready for the sun. How soon is too soon to start showing off my new Lilly Pulitzer duds? I'm thinking about phasing in a Murfee soon, just to defy the dreary uniform of Barbour and wellies.

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