Local Heart, Global Soul

October 23, 2013

Sweet Treats To Enjoy…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another post from my last summer’s travel diary, and still in a little traditional chocolate shop in Brugge (a.k.a. Bruges) in Belgium.

The chocolates here looked so good that it was hard to know when it stop adding just one more to the box.

There were also rounded balls that I’ve never seen before but found intriguing: the labels told us that the filling inside them consisted of the flavours of figs, apples, blackcurrant, orange.

After buying one of each we later found that there was a firm outer flavoured shell, and inside the very centre a more liquid filling, also of the flavour of that particular ball.

We carefully cut these up and divided them amongst us and they were “interesting” … very flavourful, but different.

The chocolates are more traditionally flavoured: Porto (port), Thee (tea), ananas  (pineapple), kokos (coconut), Baanan (Banana), Speculoos, (a special spice mix used in biscuits/cookies).

There are also some very photographic pieces of Nougat…  it’s fun checking out the contents of the shop and it’s even better sampling them later too! Now we are back on our way… there is a very very special piece of artwork just a few street away that I want to show Velveteen.

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(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

(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 © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 22, 2013

In Search Of Chocolates, A Rest, But Sadly No Tea In The End…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this page of my  last summer’s travel diary we are in Brugge (a.k.a. Bruges) in Belgium. My Singaporean friend is with me and after going to the Chocolate Line to see and buy some very unusual chocolates, we are now on the lookout for some more mainstream flavoured ones.

We were in fact making our way to a different and very famous landmark in Bruges and have already passed at least a dozen other chocolate establishments but this one enticed us in because we liked the idea of being able to sit for a cup of tea in the tearooms. After all, all this window shopping is a very tiring business, and also this is the longest distance I have managed on crutches since my accident and I was certainly feeling it.

Velveteen almost squealed with delight when she got in, and it wan’t entirely because of the chocolate selection: it was the entire cupboard of local honey’s that had her captivated and she spent half the time trying to decide how much of it should could haul back to Singapore.

Several kilos of honey later, she had made her choices… and there ended up being a bit of a story about that honey back in Singapore, because although she packed it deeply wrapped in her clothes in her suitcase, one of the lids of one of the containers broke and there was honey galore in her clothes.

She managed to salvage the half  of the broken one that was still in the pot, and the other jars arrived intact but it was a definite lesson that in hindsight packing the honey in a layer of sealed plastic before packing it between the clothes might have been a good idea.

After checking out the honey selection, Velveteen steered her camera lens to the gift section in the shop, being particularly interested in some little fairy decorated metal boxes in the shape of little handbags and also some of the decorative items around the shop, including a cast iron waffle iron hanging on the wall.

The cup of tea however never eventuated because the café section was upstairs,  and even though I’m used to steep stairs in The Netherlands, I took one look at these ones and decided that it would be asking for trouble to even attempt them on crutches when I was this tired. We are already extending our stay here by an extra day because  there is too much walking and too much to see in the time we originally had planned. There is of course also the main item we came in for… but that’s another topic for tomorrow…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A building across the street…

(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 © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 17, 2013

Get Ready to Blow Your Taste Buds And Your Mind…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Bruges: Chocolate,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

The reason we have come to the Chocolate Line in Bruges, Belgium, is less about the fact that it sells chocolate and more about the type of chocolates they sell.

This is no ordinary plain vanilla, caramel and strawberry collection, these soft centres are all about creating individual taste sensations.

In fact the Chocolate Line aims to blow your mind as well as your taste buds, and listing just some of their flavours will give you an idea of  just how far “off  the beaten track” they really are.

All of the name cards were in Flemish, which is like a linguistic relation of Dutch so I’ve included a translation of the text you can see on the cards.

The chocolates were behind a glass window for hygiene reasons so photographing them was rather a hit and miss affair in the low light but Velveteen and I gave it a go.

Finally we emerged with a small selection, and later, back at the hotel we took a knife and carefully divided each chocolate into either thirds, quarters or fifths, depending on the flavour and if the kids were feeling brave or not. Some flavours were not just surprising, so was our reaction to them. For instance we all expected to adore the bacon flavoured chocolate, but we found we were unanimous in having mixed feelings: loving bacon flavour in general but finding it included in a chocolate rather a weird sensation that we couldn’t quite reconcile ourselves to.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Some of the flavours were very strong, some of the combination flavours started conversations like “I get the sun-dried tomato but I don’t get any… oooh,  wow!  …now I get the olive and hey! …now I get the basil!“.

It was like the flavours came in layers and hit you one after the other. Some flavours like the cola were definite favourites of the kids, the Framboise was intense: almost more raspberry than raspberry and delectable,  others like the wasabi and curry or the olive oil  were certainly an acquired taste.

Several of the chocolates included minuscule pieces of what I’ve translated as “crackling candy”, it’s a sort of sweet that pops, fizzes and explodes in your mouth,and everyone loved it except Himself, who face was a wonder to behold when he found it in his mouth.

There was even chocolate paint (But didn’t dare ask where to paint it). The only thing I need to do now is to leave you with a list of just some of the  flavours on offer.  We tried a good selection  (about 20)  but didn’t manage them all. We knew we would be travelling in a hot van and wouldn’t be able to keep them cool enough to save some of the rest of the trip without risking a molten mess so we only took what we could handle in the days we were here.

This isn’t the sort of chocolate you’d take home for comfort eating on the sofa with a movie, and possibly not ones you’d gift to anyone with conservative tastes in food, but it is certainly a taste sensation adventure if you like to try something completely and utterly different for once.

It’s certainly been an experience we won’t forget in a hurry. I’d go back for some flavours but not for the whole range… but with so many wacky choices available there’s sure to be one to suit every taste and personality. We went with an open mind and we came away at the very least highly enlightened about the magic that are flavours and chocolate.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Atlanta: Ganache, amandelpraliné, cola, knetters (Ganache, almond praline, cola, crackling candy)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Asian Confetti: Karamel van rijstazijn, soja praliné van sansho peper en knetters (Caramel of rice vinegar, soy praline of sansho pepper and crackling candy)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Saké: Bittere ganache met Japanse rijstwijn (bitter ganache with Japanese rice wine)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Julius: Melkchocoladeganache met een infusie van laurier (Milk chocolate ganache with an infusion of bay leaf)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Bollywood: Witte chocoladeganache gearomatiseerd met saffraan en een zachte curry (White chocolate ganache flavoured with saffron and a mild curry.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Manon cognac: Slagroom met Cognac en walnoot (Cream with Cognac and walnut)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Egel: Zachte hazelnootpraliné (Soft hazelnut praline)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sicilia: Bittere ganache van Italiaanse olijfolie (Bitter ganache from Italian olive oil)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Framboise: Ganache met puur frambozensap (The name of the chocolate is Raspberry)(Ganache with pure raspberry juice)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Madame Butterfly: Ganache met Japans kruid Chiso (Ganache with Japanese Chiso herb)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Miss Piggy: Melkchocolade met amandelpraliné en gerookt spek (Milk chocolate with almond praline and smoked bacon)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Appeltje: Karamel van appelazijn en lichte appelpraliné met nougatine (Apple vinegar caramel with light apple praline and nougat)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Pavillon: Ganache met stukjes Valenciasinaasappelen (Ganache with Valencia oranges)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Monkeys’ Favourite: Karamel van koriander en een gezouten praliné (Caramel from coriander and a salted praline)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Red earth: Confituur van rode biet en lichte hazelnoot praliné [met een crunchy van rode biet]  (Beetroot preserve and light hazelnut praline) [ and an untranslatable bit that doesn’t make sense “with a crunchy of beetroot”]

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Bangkok: Melkchocoladeganache geparfumeerd met vers citroengras en kokosmelk (Milk chocolate ganache scented with lemongrass and coconut milk)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Green Tokyo: Bittere ganache, marsepein van Japanse wasabi (Bitter ganache, marzipan from Japanese wasabi)

Cebolla: Amandelpraliné met krokante, gefruite ui (Almond praline with crispy fried onion)

Italiaanse Javanais: Zongedroogde tomaten, zwarte olijven en verse basilicum (Sun-dried tomatoes, black olives and fresh basil)

Chapeau Napoléon: Marsepein, kirsch en bittere bananencrème (The name and shape of the chocolate is Napoléon’s Hat) (Marzipan, kirsch and bitter banana cream)

Espelette: Ganache marsepein met zachte chilipepers (Marzipan ganache with mild chilli peppers)

Fondant violet crème: violetblaadjes (Violet leaves)

Mava: Ganache van originele chocolade uit de regio Tabasco, Mexico (Ganache from chocolate originating from the Tabasco region in Mexico)

Soleil: Ganache met passievruchtenpurée ( (The name of the chocolate is “sun””) (Ganache with passion fruit purée)

Arthur: Lichte hazelnootpraliné met stukjes feuilletine (Light hazelnut praline with pieces of flaky pastry)

Cabernet-Sauvignon: Karamel van “Cabernet-Sauvignon” and pijnboompittenpraliné (Caramel from “Cabernet-Sauvignon” and pine-nut praline)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(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

http://www.thechocolateline.be/

October 16, 2013

A Little Bit Dark, But Just Like The Products, Delectable Inside…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Bruges: Chocolate,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

Family Kiwidutch and our Singaporean friend “Velveteen” are in Bruges, Belgium, and have stopped outside the well known Chocolaterie  called”the Chocolate Line”. The shop is small and there is a steady stream of customers, so taking photographs entails waiting for gaps in the foot traffic and being quick with the shutter. Inside is  not terribly well lit but it’s impossible to miss the shelves packed with rows of chocolate delights. There are staff working out the back but in truth most of the chocolates in the shop have been made in  the companies large factory on the outskirts of Bruges.  I do have to say that I was surprised to see that they open on Sunday’s (most shops in Belgium don’t). Let’s take a look…

(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 © 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

So today you see the shop we are in… tomorrow you will learn why in all of  the chocolate shops in all of Belgium, we have made a special effort to be in this particular one…

http://www.thechocolateline.be/

October 15, 2013

Despite The Window, There’s Nothing Fishy About The Chocolate Line…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page in my last summer’s travel diary as Family Kiwidutch and visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine” are visiting new places together.

Now we are in Brugge (a.k.a. Bruges), Belgium and whilst the whole country is is famous for chocolate, one of the most famous cities for chocolate is Bruges. In the centre of the city it almost feels like there is one chocolate  shop lined up after another, there are so many.

The chocolate shops  come in all styles, there are ultra modern ones, quaint olde worlde ones and everything in between.

Standing out from the crowds of chocolate shops can’t be easy, but one shop is steadily gaining an international reputation by being very different. Not just a little bit different, Very very different.

The chocolatier in question is Dominique Persoone, and the shop is called “The Chocolate Line”.

The outside display window is also most unusual, and features an underwater scene with  scary looking fish. I did notice however that some of the small fish laying on the “sea floor” bear a very striking resemblance to the the fish in one of iron chocolate moulds I saw in the chocolate museum and photographed a few posts ago. The chocolates are hand made, as are most of the chocolates in Bruges, and like the others these are not cheap either. Typically you pay Euro 3,75 for three pieces, Euro 8.25 for 8,  Euro  14,–  for 17 pieces, up to Euro 56,– for 70 pieces. Mind you, quality never did come cheap and we are here for quality.

(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 © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.thechocolateline.be/

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