Local Heart, Global Soul

October 14, 2013

Tools and Experience Prove to Produce a Trés Bon-Bon Result…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch are visiting the Chocolate Museum in Brugge (a.k.a. Bruges) in Belgium with our good friend “Velveteen”.

These are the diary pages of our last summer’s travels, as we cram as many places and experiences that we can into every day.  Of course it’s best to leave the very best of the Chocolate Museum until last: what’s a Chocolate museum without  real, edible, delectable chocolate?

As we finish our tour of the place we come to the bit that the kids have been waiting for since the beginning: the bon-bon making demonstration where the visitors get to partake of the results.

I often make my own soft filled chocolates and know that it’s not always as easy as it looks, mind you: having a “trilling” machine at home to make the shells in seconds and remove all of the air bubbles would have made my chocolate making experiences easier too.

The lady doing the demonstration is a master of the art,  it’s totally clear that she does this every day, she has both the machinery and the experience to make it speedy and effortless. Hmm,  a temperature controlled vat to keep the chocolate at perfect temperature needs to go onto my “if I won the lottery” list with the trilling machine too.

We arrive a little while before the demonstration starts so wait and get a spot near the front for our patience.  Once the demonstration is over, the tray of praline bon-bon is passed around the  crowd and so many hands reached forward for a treat that I didn’t have a hope of getting close up photos of the tray.

Himself and I concentrated on scoring a bon-bon each for the kids and everyone was unanimous in their opinion of the goodies… we could easily have polished off an entire tray had we been left to our own devices.

We stop at the museums shop on the way out and the kids score a few more pieces of chocolate from reception by turning on the charm, whilst I spy second hand heavy plastic chocolate moulds on sale and purchase one to take home. I’ve since used it quite a few times and whilst my efforts aren’t  quite as tidy as the professionally made ones, the forms turn out fabulously formed chocolates.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

October 13, 2013

Moulding A Drool-Worthy Collection…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Bruges: Chocolate Museum,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags:
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following on from yesterday’s post, we are still in the Chocolate Museum in Brugge, Belgium, and at the moment we have hit a section of it that have my visiting Singaporean Foodie friend “Velveteen” and I drooling and wishing we could spirit away most of the pieces to go and play with in our own kitchens.

(We did figure that they would notice, but fellow foodies will most surely understand the feeling). I have a small (very small) collection of old chocolate moulds at home, collected from local street markets during my last 20 years in The Netherlands, and was delighted to see that I share one piece in common with this exhibition.

It’s a half-shell mould for an Easter egg, which I scored when a local baker retired and the shop became a bicycle shop instead of a bakery. It’s probably the most basic of all the eggs forms and I’ve managed to make my own hollow Easter egg with it (after rather too many sad attempts when I didn’t get the temperature of the chocolate right and the chocolate stuck fast inside the mould).

The variety of moulds here is drool-worthy,  all of the main themes are here and more: Christmas, Easter, St. Nicolas, animals, fish, geometrics, ones with logos,  figures, flora and fauna, everything you could possibly want to make filled bon bons and chocolate bars. I think that Velvetine was maybe hinting  that she wanted to sit here all day, because  she took the photo of the two seats situated inside the chimney breast… strange place to park them I know, but this is still a central city European building and space is at a premium so let’s call it “ergonomic”  shall we?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The mould I have at home is the same as the one at top right of this photo, the “cracked” egg shell pattern…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

October 12, 2013

The History Of Chocolate (…Even The Kids Suddenly Become Studious..)

Filed under: BELGIUM,Bruges: Chocolate Museum,HISTORY,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page from my travel journal of last summer : Visiting Singaporean friend “Velveteen” and Family Kiwidutch are currently in the Belgian city of Brugge (a.k.a. Bruges) and are having a look around the Chocolate Museum.

I know that Switzerland tries to take all the accolades for producing the world’s finest chocolates, but in my personal opinion Belgium is top of the heap when it comes to the fine art of chocolate making.

Part of the reason stems from their strong colonial roots in various cocoa producing countries around the equator, but also because the country specialised in the coco trade when other neighbours like The Netherlands specialised in other things like spices.

The Dutch soon cottoned on to the fact the some of the world’s best quality coco was conveniently close at hand and even today any Dutch Chocolatier desirous of keeping an excellent reputation, imports their chocolate from Belgium.

The history of chocolate is illustrated here in the Chocolate Museum in detail, far too much to feature in even a series of blog posts, so if ever you manage to visit Bruges, a visit here is a must. Velveteen loved the fact that some of the facts an figures were supported by displays made from children’s Play mobile models, I concentrated more on the display boards so our two sets of photographs ended up being complimentary.  Let’s take a look around…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

October 11, 2013

The Chickens And The Chocolate Factory… (Well Chocolate Museum At Least…)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

The children jumped out of bed bright and early in Brugge (Bruges) , Belgium, so that they could grab a dip in the hotel pool, but if I’m really honest I also just used that as a lever to get them out of bed so that  I could bring them to their first real treat of this morning: A visit to the Chocolate Museum!

Located on the opposite side of the central city to where our hotel is, it would be a decent walk for an able bodied person, but since it’s really too far for my less  able bodied self, we sling my crutches in the back of the van and go there by car. This ended up being easier said than done, as we were quickly confronted by a rabbit  warren of narrow one-way streets so in the end Himself dropped us off as close as he could and took the van further out to find a parking space.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Museum is an original style Bruges building with lots of stairs, which I spent way too much time and effort on until someone helpfully pointed out there was a lift, and covers pretty much every aspect of chocolate that you can think of.

A massive chocolate egg as we  enter announces that the museum was established in 2004, and there are numerous other chocolate statues on display,,,  but fortuitously tucked behind a barrier so that little fingers were not tempted to test if it really is all chocolate (I asked, and was assured it is!). I recognise  some of the chocolate characters as  the chicken “cast” from the movie “Chicken Run” … the rest of the figures were of a more free-style nature, although the one in white chocolate did a very fair imitation of marble.

Both Velveteen and I spied a very large antique cabinet that housed chocolate making items… the cabinet caught our interest as much as the chocolate did, therefore I ended up with a few extra photographs of that. (What can we say, we apparently have short attention spans and get distracted easily). There are little pieces of chocolate by the front entrance desk for the kids to enjoy, which immediately gave our two the idea that somehow this place wasn’t going to be a bad place to linger around at all… Let’s check out some of the art work on display…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) use with permission

Choco-Story
Wijnzakstraat 2 (Sint-Jansplein)
8000 Bruges

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