[This is our first post from the road. To read about the background of our trip, please click here.]
We arrived in New York on Oct. 2nd after leaving Edmonton, and this evening we fly to Paris. We’ve spent the last few days in Manhattan sorting ourselves out and getting mentally prepared for what will probably be the biggest trip of our lives. I’ve discovered that there isn’t much one can do in terms of preparations except to just dive right into the great unknown.
On Tuesday we met up with Clay Gordon founder of this site as well as The Chocolate Life. My husband Cyrus, my children Darius (11) and Ilona (5) and I had a wonderful time eating pizza at a fantastic place called Roberta’s in Bushwick, Brooklyn. As you may know, Clay operates a web site and social network where chocolate makers and chocolate aficionados can congregate to discuss all things chocolate.
We will be posting updates of our chocolate travels here sharing our experiences our discoveries and our insights. (We highly recommend that you take look at The Chocolate Life if you are passionate about chocolate.) With Clay’s help we hope to visit some of the great chocolatiers of France while we are there. Clay also told us about some great bean to bar makers in various countries such as Brazil, Guatamala, Mexico and Ecuador. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to visit all of these countries, but we will try. It will probably depend on the kids and how much more schlepping they can endure by the time we reach Central and South America. I personally hope to spend a lot of time in Chiapas and in Mexico as I’ve developed a bit of a love affair with the culture of this country.
I have done a bit of research regarding what plantations to visit and where. In Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, I’ve scouted some good bean to bar chocolate companies who I will try to contact to set up a visit. I’m impressed with a company called “El Ceibo” who makes their bars right in Bolivia with the help of Chloe Doutre-Roussel – the chocolate expert and former buyer for Fortnum and Mason. I’ve been impressed with chocolate that uses Bolivian cocoa beans such as Felchlin’s Cru Sauvage and a visit might be in the cards.
I suppose the best way to organize the trip is to take one continent at a time. Our first stop is Europe where we hope to meet as many chocolate makers as we can at the Salon du Chocolat to set up plantation visits and possibly visit a few chocolate factories as well. The kids will have fun going to some of my favorite chocolate shops and patisseries in Paris (Jaques Genin, Patrick Roger, Jean-Paul Hevin!). I’m excited to go to my home town of Speyer near Heidelberg, Germany to revisit the places of my childhood and share these memories with my kids. We’ll probably gorge on the chocolates that I loved as a kid, the ones I found in the candy aisle of the Supermarket. I’ll consume many cakes plied upon us by aunts and long lost relatives. I hope I make it out the same dress size!