Viewing: chocolate

Churros con chocolate

Odd fact about me: once or twice a year, I am struck with a debilitating craving for churros con chocolate. (The same thing happens to me with raw oysters.) I get really picky about it: the churros must be perfectly crisp and the chocolate hot, thick and not too sweet.

When I was living in Singapore, I couldn’t find any churros that passed muster. After enduring this craving for two long years, I finally had the chance to travel to Spain and enjoy them there. I haven’t had much luck with churros in Amsterdam either, so I pounced upon the opportunity to have them on my last day in Granada.

I’m starting to think perfect churros only exist in Spain. Maybe, like Icelandic horses, genuine Spanish churros aren’t allowed to leave the country.


Expecting graceful little loops of dough, Marlon and I sat down at a churreria on the Plaza Bib-Rambla and ordered two servings with chocolate. Boy, these churros gave me the shock of my life. They were immense. Like two huge bunches of bananas!

They were so big that we started giggling in embarrassment when the plate was served. People actually turned to stare; I’m sure they thought we were complete pigs. And we were. We finished every last one of those churros, because they were perfect: golden, crisp, light and airy.

Don’t even get me started on the hot chocolate.

Churros con chocolate

Goopy, rich, and perfect for dipping—the Spanish sure know how to make hot chocolate. One decadent cupful can almost make one forgive them for centuries of oppression. I kid, I kid.

This ends the week on a sweet note, but be sure to drop by on Sunday for this month’s installment of Let’s Do Brunch. Till then, have a great weekend!

How to make your own Ritter Sport

Head to the Ritter Sport Bunte Schokowelt on Französische Straße 24, Berlin. Just off the Gendarmenmarkt and very near Berlin’s most popular monuments, it’s a sweet end to a day of sightseeing. You may stare worshipfully outside for a few moments before entering. This, after all, is your temple.

Ritter Sport Schokowelt Berlin

At the time of your visit, there may or may not be hordes of weary parents and sugar-crazed children. Gently but firmly make your way past them to the end of the queue. Wait your turn to pay for the number of chocolate bars you wish to make; a standard-size 100g square costs €3.90 (US$ 1.25 or about Php 210).

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Chocoholics anonymous

I tried not to shop on my last two trips out of the country. I succeeded in Prague, but failed miserably in Köln. Unpacking after both weekends, I discovered that I’d managed to acquire multiples of my favorite things. The first was shoes; the second, chocolate. 

The full stash, clockwise from top left:

  • Stainer 75% Cocoa with Cinnamon, from Italy. Cinnamon and dark chocolate, two of my favorite things. This brand has gorgeous packaging, metallic gold with field-guide style botanical and zoological illustrations.
  • Madecasse 63% Cocoa with Sea Salt and Nibs, from Madagascar. Am I the only one thinking “I like to move it move it”? I suppose “nibs” means it’s crunchy.
  • Casa Amatller Chocolate a la Taza, also with cinnamon, from Spain. The Amatller family made chocolate and lived in Gaudi’s famous building in Barcelona. Sounds like my kind of life. One bar should make four cups of chocolate. I should have broken it out this week, it might have taken the edge off my extended-winter blues. 
  • Ritter Sport Nugat from Germany. My absolute favorite German import. I’ve been addicted for over a decade.
  • Becks Cocoa in “A Clockwork Orange” from Germany. Hot chocolate flavored with Moroccan oranges plus a classic film reference, ooh. This requires a precious cup.
  • Emils Gustavs Dark Chocolate with Pink Peppers, from Latvia. Finding treats like this (from “one of the best confectioneries in Eastern Europe“) is why I love living in Europe. I mean, Baltic chocolate. Really, who eats chocolate from Latvia? Now, I do! 
  • How could I leave out the humble Chocnut? Cas handed me and Marlon two packs of homegrown peanut buttery goodness when I watched the Glee Club in Oberweyer, a gesture that delighted me… and my taste buds. 

The best part about this stash? Only the Ritter and Stainer have actually been consumed. Willpower for the win!

Studs and chocolate

Apologies for the non-activity on this blog. I’ve gone out of the country on each of the last two weekends, been busy in between, and it’s caught up with me. I’ve spent the whole day in bed with a bad cold and a slight fever.

I have lots to post about our spectacular weekends in Prague, Czech Republic and Köln, Germany—also about a few new developments at home. But those will have to wait until I feel better. In the meantime, let me leave you with by two of my favorite impulse purchases from last weekend.

So, between:

a) These gorgeous studded Balmain (Balmain!) leather brogues for €49 (Php 2,800)… or
b) A Ritter Sport Nugat chocolate bar as big as my freaking face for €2.65 (Php 150)

… which was the better buy? Help me decide. Shoes versus chocolate, it’s a tough choice!


Just off the Meir, Antwerp’s most important shopping street, is the one of the city’s most important monuments: the Rubenshuis. (Note: in Dutch, the vowel pairing ui is pronounced “au,” so you literally say Rubens’ house.) I was surprised at how massive it was; clearly, unlike other famous Dutch artists—Van Gogh comes to mind—Peter Paul Rubens enjoyed commercial success during his lifetime.
Unfortunately, with all the eating and shopping, Marlon, Yeho and I didn’t catch up to the Rubenshuis before closing time. To console ourselves, we backtracked to an interesting building just around the corner from the Rubenshuis—the Paleis op de Meir
A 250 year-old building with an illustrious list of owners from Napoleon to William I of the Netherlands to the Belgian Royal family, the Paleis now houses a brasserie, heritage foundation, ballroom-turned-party-venue, and a chocolate shop. A visit to Belgium is not complete without a box of Belgian chocolates to take home, so we stepped into the latter for a visit. 
The Chocolate Line is a Michelin-listed chocolatier established by Fabienne DeStaerke and Dominique Persoone in Brugge. This second shop in Antwerp works out of Napoleon’s former kitchen, which you can step into for a view of the chocolatiers in action. 

Also on display in the the kitchen was a gown created for Miss Belgium entirely out of Belgian chocolate. I immediately notified our resident pageant expert, but he was unable to ID the candidate and year. If it were me, this dress would probably not have made it out of my boudoir. #nomnomnom 

Dominique Persoone calls himself a “shock-o-latier” due to the unique and inventive flavor combinations used in his chocolates. The only thing I really found shocking in his shop was this giant photograph of nude models strewn in an alley, like corpses drizzled in chocolate. It reminded me of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre as depicted in the French film Queen Margot with Isabelle Adjani. Yikes.

Naturally, we couldn’t leave without sampling the goods. We settled on a box of 250 grams, or about 14 pieces, for €14.50.

Our box included such flavors as mocha ganache, coriander and salted peanut, basil with olives and sun-dried tomato chutney, and lavender.

What’s left of our box now: pralines with sake, wasabi, saffron and curry powder, and bacon. Yes, bacon. I’m saving that for last.