Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sunday Scribblings - Chocolate

Ever since I saw the movie Chocolat with Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche I have loved it. I love it for its magic and its bewitchment as much as I love it for its celebration of chocolate. For many years I did not eat chocolate. I would react quite heavily to caffeine so anything with caffeine in it was off limits. I started eating it again some time ago but even now I have to be careful. Too much of the cheap stuff and I end up with terrible eczema. But let me tell you, once you have eaten the good stuff - the really really good stuff - you will never look at a Snickers the same way again.

Whenever I would watch the movie Chocolat I would dream of finding a shop like Vianne's. I would still love to have a place to go that is full of the kind of passion and friendship and feminine closeness of that fictional shop. There doesn't seem to be room for that kind of place in a world where McDonalds and huge box stores are king.

Last autumn, Mark and I went to Edinburgh to visit our friends Sean and Mike. It's a remarkable city. It's full of magic and ghosts and oozes history from every cobble. We spent a lovely few hours walking up a street called the Royal Mile. It stretches from the Palace of Holyrood House at the bottom of a hill, to Edinburgh Castle at the top. Along the way there are a number of quaint and unusual shops nestled beside each other. We had Scotch bottled for us from a cask, saw new-fangled leather kilts, and generally had a wonderful time.

Ready for a refreshment, we tried to find somewhere special. One shop was closed but referred us to its sister shop that was back down the street a few doors. (HOW could I have MISSED it the first time?!?!?!) It was called, Plaisir du Chocolat. Mark looked at me as we went in and said, "Oh, Meg, you aren't going to like this at all!" There it was in front of me - Vianne's shop. Decorated in sumptuous Art Deco style, with swirls and chandeliers, in shades of green and soft beige, it was mouth-wateringly beautiful. After lingering at the counter to decide upon a delicacy, we were taken to our seats and given the extensive tea and coffee and hot chocolate menu. I had "Green Tea Memory" that tasted like cherry blossoms smell. With my simple chocolate tart, I was in complete chocolate heaven!

Sean and Mark both decided that as they were probably never going to be back in this 'tea salon,' they would indulge. They ordered huge pieces of cheesecake and chocolate cake. Sipping tea and eating so much sweetness soon took its toll and the three of us were soon chocolate-drunk! Nibbling and giggling soon turned into full blown tear-spilling laughter as we finished our treats. Before we left I couldn't resist buying a few beautiful chocolates for Mike. It was truly an afternoon to remember.

So now, whenever I think of proper chocolate I think of it as an experience - a morsel to be savoured. I remember how beautiful the surroundings were. I remember how truly special it all seemed. I remember being high on cocoa, laughing with people I loved, and enjoying the whole experience. Chocolate will never be the same again.

30 comments:

Caroline said...

The Scottish tourist board ought to be paying you - I'm tempted to visit on the strength of this!

(I've put links to the uk hk web site in my reply to your comments on my page - good luck)

tara dawn said...

Yummy...that is the best word to describe this whole experience! What a wonderful time...the rich, savory taste of chocolate, shared with friends in the beauty of a real-life Chocolat shop. I could literally taste the morsels of heaven through your words.
Love to you!

Alexandra S said...

"oozing history from every cobble"- I love that! I don't know if thats a curse or a blessing to not be able to consume too much chocolate-good for the tush, bad for the tongue! Plus the soul needs chocolate. That would be very fun to have a blogger week where all we do is travel by private helicopter from chocolate shop to chocolate shop. We'll start with your wonderfully described place in Edinburgh, ok?

Susannah said...

Megg, what delicious memories! and have you tried Green & Black's Maya Gold? it's like gold dust in your mouth...

i'll give you one guess as to what's sitting on top of my TV right now, ready to be watched after Strictly Dance Fever... it's one of my favourite films too... sigh... :-)

Kara said...

Your story sounds like a heavenly experience - like it should have been captured in the magic of the big screen. And your love for the movie Chocolat made me think of these mayan chocolate elixirs Mark creates in Santa Fe - here is is web site
www.kakawachocolates.com.

Paris Parfait said...

What a fabulous description of a wonderful chocolate-indulging experience! One thing I never knew until I moved to Europe-----the chocolate here is much stronger; usually about 85 percent cocoa, as opposed to 15 percent or less in a candy bar like in the States. So yes, there is a difference! More caffeine, more taste, more everything. Lovely post!

liz elayne said...

Oh this shop sounds delightful. I want to go...and your description of your experience with your friends there makes it even better. I also love this movie...and the book is also a feast for the senses.

Jennifer said...

I loved that movie too! Your chocolate memories are to savor.

Anonymous said...

What can I say. Sean here - from the memorable Edinburgh expirience Meg wrote about. Beatifully written & even nicer to recall. It's funny how we identify with things around us based on the emotions we expirience. And yes I must agree I was fully of life that day as a result of you 2, but I must say as well that I was WAY to full of chocolate!

Cate said...

What a beautifully written memory, Meg! Your descriptions are gorgeous: I felt like I was there with you at Vianne's, enjoying the companionship, chatter, and chocolate!

You made me think of Serendipity in NYC (okay, add to my "to-do" list: must go back to Serendipity, thanks to Meg!). You've also made me want Chocolat (you and Caroline, both!). T

Cate said...

Oops, what am I thinking: that "T" was supposed to be a "Thanks!"

Living Part Deux said...

I adore the idea of being chocolate drunk - it seems much more magical than being drunk on other more unseemly concoctions (however probably delightful). The movie is one of my all-time favorites, and your description of your wonderful visit - lovely, lovely.

Bohemian Girl said...

what a delightful way to enjoy chocolate.

i love the phrase "tea salon".

chocolat was a romantic and passion film in regards to chocolate. i thought it was so well done.

in fact, when i saw the topic of Sunday Scribblings, that film was the first thing that popped into my mind.

Laini Taylor said...

This is divine! So makes me want to go explore that haunted city. It also reminded me of a teahouse in Prague, that I discovered ten years ago on my first trip there, and Alexandra subsequently found, and that Jim and I returned to last year. Up a winding lane, the most inviting, painted doors, and inside, amazing tea concoctions served in unusual handmade ceramics, and dessert... ah, the strudel! But a chocolate shop, that of course beats tea!

Shannon (Sentimental) said...

What a great description of chocolate, the very morsel of goodness to be cherished! I loved it!

bella said...

beautiful post about dreamy chocolate.

Jennifer (she said) said...

love. this. i want to see the movie & eat something other than andes mints. your writing makes me want to see what you've seen.

chest of drawers said...

I´m so glad we both mentioned that amazing story in our posts...chocolate does awake a passion doesn´t it. Those memories you have make it all the more delicious.

la vie en rose said...

i'm gonna be writing about my thoughts on the movie a bit later today.

Joy Eliz said...

Just like a clip of a movie...wonderful and luxurious.
I don't know if I can get thru the rest of scibblings without getting some chocolate:)

krista said...

You are so right. I can't stand those cheap chocolate easter bunnies now that I;ve had the good stuff. You just can't go back.

Left-handed Trees... said...

I loved "Chocolate as an experience". You're really tapping into something there about mindfulness and that resonated for me. Also, as others have said...that is one delicious movie.

susanlavonne said...

Don'tcha just LOVE life's little revelations?! How something so ubiquitous as chocolate can become as you so aptly describe it...an experience? LOVE this story and the wonderful way you well...revealed it.

Kim G. said...

mmmmmm . . . I could smell the chocolate and see you all laughing at the table. What a wonderful memory! Thanks for sharing it with us! Another round of chocolate barkeep . . . I'm still sober!

Jamie said...

How magnificent! I can almost taste it. And this way it doesn't go to my hips!
I especially love that you found a place you believed in but didn't think existed. Magic!

AnnieElf said...

Hi Megg, I bought Chocolat yesterday and now have a whole new list of books to read, all by Joanne Harris. This has turned out to be such a great Sunday Scribble topic.

Earth Monkey said...

hi megg,
thanks for the chocolate prompt! This experience sounds incredible. I am trying to sway the hub towards Scotland since we are planning a visit to Europe next year. He is vascillating on so many places. I am just like...uh... pick one! But I would LOVE to visit Scotland and if we did I would HAVE to visit this delightful delectable delicious place. It sounds so magical and we are the biggest tea fans... so... sounds perfect. Plus the heavy Scottish accents are so great! cheers to chocolate!

tinker said...

Luscious imagery! And I loved Chocolat (both the movie and the book). Thanks for bringing it back to mind!

harmonyinline said...

Sounds divine.

Maggie said...

I know this is really late but I just got back from holiday and am catching up on my blogs. I was so excited to read this post--I was in Edinburgh in February and went to Plaisir du Chocolate as well. It was a cold day and it was snowing so hard. I spent the morning at a used children's bookstore nearby on the Royal Mile and then went in and had the best hot chocolate of my life. Thanks for bringing back wonderful memoriees!