Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Amano Artisan Chocolate, by way of Blake Makes!

I feel that, in order to fully explain the magic I experienced yesterday of opening a fedex box with chocolate inside, I need to share about my day yesterday first.
It all started out just like every other day of my life. I woke up at 5 til 7am, got dressed for work, talked to my mom for a minute, and out the door I went. I worked all morning and took lunch when I normally do... until a phone call changed my whole day. I got a call that my mom was rushed to the emergency room via ambulance because she was having intense vertigo and fainting spells. When I got over there, I will never forget as long as I live the sight of my mom hooked up to tubes and IV's and everything else, looking nothing like the strong, tough, healthy woman I normally know as my mother. It honestly took every cell in my being to not burst into tears, because I knew it would agitate her and she needed to be calm and relaxed. Blood work and CAT scans were run and thankfully everything came back normal, but they were still worried that she might have had a small stroke. They admitted her and got her into a room, where she was quizzed by the hospital's neurologist and internist about her health. They performed an MRI late last night, and as of right now we still don't know what's wrong.
Finally, by the end of the day yesterday, I was utterly exhausted and I felt emotionally defeated. Jason took me to Whole Foods after we left the hospital to try to cheer me up, and not even that cheered me up! I got home, climbed into bed, pulled the sheets up to my chin, and began to feel sorry for myself, when I heard a knock at my bedroom door. It was my sister, letting me know that I got a box in the mail. I had my bridal tea on Sunday, so I thought it was a gift... But why did it say "chocolate" on the box? Who would be intelligent and creative enough to send Jason and I chocolate for a wedding gift?

Alas, it was not a chocolate relief of Elvis, but what I recieved was so much better. I remembered when I looked at the beautiful packaging of the chocolate bars that I entered a contest on where we had to creatively tell Bridget (Blake's wife) why we wanted organic, artisan chocolate. I wrote a Haiku. I didn't actually win the contest, but Amano was kind enough to send chocolate to everyone who even entered!

This morning before I left for work, I decided that I would need some chocolate therapy before I left the house. I openned the box of Madagascar chocolate and broke off a small peice.

Let me just tell you about the symphony it created in my mouth! It was the most rich, beautiful, full bodied taste I have ever experienced. Chocolate was meant to taste like this. It is 60% cacao, blended with pure cane sugar and tahiti vanilla pods. When you first bite into the chocolate, you taste the nutty warmth you usually expect from dark chocolate. Just a tad bitter, subtly sweet, but mostly cocoa bean. As you continue eating it, by the second or third bite, you begin to notice all of the subtleties... A soft, fruity, fresh tasting twang and a creamy sweetness. The texture of the chocolate is amazing as well. When I snapped a small peice off of the bar, I noticed that it was slightly brittle (as it should be)... But as I bit into it, I noticed that there is a very slight creaminess to its texture as well, which I liked.
Two little squares of that chocolate was all I needed to give me the oomph to get out of the house and into the office.

Thank you, Amano, for your perfect timing and equally perfect chocolate. Photo above courtesy of Amano Chocolate.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Pasta Presto Nights!

Hey everybody! In an attempt to get in the kitchen more, I've begun participating in various blog challenges. There is an excellent blog I subscribe to called Once Upon A Feast, and they have a weekly blog challenge called Presto Pasta Nights! The requirements are that the recipe has to be a pasta recipe (obviously), but also that it needs to be something that you can cook during the week with limited time. It's a great way to find mid-week recipes when you only have 45 minutes or so to cook before the hub gets home, and it's also a great way to find other food blogs! Another interesting thing is that Ruth, the keeper of the blog challenge (hee hee), seems to get tons of interesting regional dishes every week from all over the world. It's neat to see what comfort food means to different people, and it's not always the same thing! One thing is for certain though, whether it's a comfort food or not, it's all delicious. I highly suggest you check it out, especially because this week, my Magic Chicken Noodle Soup will be one of the many recipes featured! Buon Apetitto!

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