Thursday, November 7, 2013

PEARLS at the V&A, London

"A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls" Coco Chanel

Or at least look once at such "ropes", and what better place to do that now, than at London's V&A Museum. Together with the Qatar Museums Authority and sponsored by Shell, the V&A museum presents until the 19th of January 2014 an exhibition around the topic "pearls". These are one of my favourite items of jewelry, however, I have not just admired them, but I have had the chance to learn a lot on my visit there: history, art, biology, conchology, struggle for survival, symbolism, fashion, can touch all these topics while admiring some of nature's most wonderful gifts to us.

(Photos taken by me at the V&A museum London)

What I regret most was, however, that you are not allowed to take pictures or even sketch drawings, however, there is a great video online which shows you a lot from the exhibition I encourage you to visit while you still have the chance.

Enjoy the wonderful voice of Zoe Wanamaker while you sit back, relax and watch this video, before getting out of the house to see the real deal at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

(Video source:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

zChocolat - Share the Joy

Although we tend to live in a fast-paced world, where capitalism drives traditions into becoming commercial acts, such as seeing Christmas decorations in shops in mid September, like I was "lucky" to see in Stuttgart this year...or Easter bunnies hopping all over starting February...there is still a part of us that expects those holidays because they mean more, if you want to! They bring happiness, joy and smiles on so many faces, because holidays and traditions especially are meant to bring the loved ones together.

It is also a time when we tend to relax, slow down the pace, lay back and ...why not...relish...
So what better time than to receive another amazing package from zChocolat?!

I have mentioned zChocolat in the past as well on my blog, for their summer offering, and will quote the most important from that post: 

The chocolates are handcrafted in France by the World Champion Chocolatier and Meilleur Ouvrier, Pascal Caffet. For him, chocolate is an experience, which you will surely understand once you taste one of his 26 recipes created especially for ZChocolat, for which he uses no preservatives, no artificial colouring, 100% pure cocoa butter, modest sugar, high cocoa content, no alcohol, and only the best choice for the other ingredients as well, such as Piedmont hazelnuts, Iranian pistaccio, violets, raspberry, Sri Lankan coconut etc. However, not only choosing the best chocolate was a priority for this brand, but offering a customizable service of offering was also top of the list. The handmade packaging can be chosen as well, and it can be personalized with messages, just like my box was. You can choose the name of the receiver to be attached to the box, to give it the ultimate personal feel, you can also have an image put there, choose the personal assortment which will be, for example, sealed in the box with a coded heart-shaped lock...just let your imagination wander,...and ZChocolat will offer you the service

For the winter holidays, zChocolat has another seasonal line to offer: the holiday zBox, basswood or mahogany box collection. I got lucky and received the amazing mahogany Holiday Ruby box. What a delight - to finally hold the entire collection and taste all those different creations!

I took some days to do this, because THIS chocolate is not something you just eat,...but one praline is enough to fill your entire day with joy, taste, colour, music. It is amazing how many stories you can cover/go through by just one bite. It is time to close one's eyes and disappear...enjoy the experiences!
So here are mine - decided to let you in on just some I hadn't presented last time (see previous post), because THOSE were particularly amazing and the best reason to explain WHY this box is just the PERFECT seasonal gift ... This small box helped me travel through time and space and helped me reunite with people and moments which are set a long time in the past. Enjoy!

#22 - immediate beaming to distant places - the citrus and coriander combination embraced by Ivory Coast milk chocolate seamed a rather strange one, however I have immediately fallen in love with it. It's not that cold outside, but one does need a sweater and a warm jacket when you go out...but I didn't need to go all that trouble because my mind was already in warm climate countries thanks to this amazing chocolate. Even 10 minutes after tasting it, my palate was still embracing those distant places

#21 - I must admit, if I had to choose between white, milk and dark chocolate - the latter would always win my heart - so #21 is one of my favorites - dark with dark with almonds and roses...mmmmmm...the flowery note just adds that little something which was missing to perfection. I would order a box only with this one. I most specially adore the creaminess of it all - almost like a pleasant sin.

#19 - crunchy texture wrapped by smooth dark chocolate, a fine combination of contrasts. Best for those who cannot decide if they are tough or soft :)

#15 - dark chocolate delight with a fresh citrus note. I would compare it to a good night's sleep and to the refreshing start into the next day...relaxing but also offering new energy

#12 - this one would fit perfectly with #22 - sesamy, crunchyness, all these make me think of oriental deserts or even amazingly tasting salty main dishes. It's like I've been to a feast with only one bite.

#0 – crunchy, nutty… There used to be a time when gifts for Christmas consisted also in hazelnuts – and this praline wrapped in Ivory Coast chocolate is exactly as those type of gifts.

#1 – reminded me of my year spent on the Cote d’Azur, especially of the flower market Sunday in Nice. Although Provence is well-known for lavender, it was in Nice that I used to buy it. This vanilla-lavender filling in the 70% dark Venezuelan chocolate is again a time and space travel for me. All the good moments I associate with lavender just exploded in my mind once I let this praline melt on my tongue. Amazing how flowers are not just nice to look, not just nice to smell, but also give a distinct taste, a strong personality to things they mix with.

#4 – peanuts – remind me of parties and get-togethers with good family friends, where peanuts wouldn’t miss. It’s normal for me/us to serve something for guests, even if it’s just a small snack to go with drinks, but peanuts would never miss. It seems just normal that once I tasted this praline with peanuts and covered in 40% Ivory Coast milk chocolate, that I would feel so familiar and that I would think of all the loved ones.

#5 – dark. Inside and out! Sinful! Perfect

#6 – mmmm! Like a wafer in a small deluxe dark packaging.

#7 – this one was a strong one. Like a shot of espresso coffee, but crunchy and chocolaty! And very international: coffee beans from Kenya and Nicaragua and 70% Venezuelan dark chocolate.

(Photos taken by me)
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