Chocolate on tap

IMG_2620What is it about writers and chocolate? With a name like Kandy, I was predestined to have a sweet tooth, and chocolate is my favorite sweet treat by far. But I don’t have to look far among my author colleagues to find an abundance of writerly chocoholics.

Is there a link between creativity and chocolate consumption? It’s said eating chocolate releases endorphins—feel good hormones—in the brain, so that might help kick along the creative process. Chocolate is also said to affect serotonin levels in the brain, which could help relieve stress (deadlines?) and depression (writer’s block and deadlines?)

Who knows? I’m not really looking for an explanation—more likely an excuse for the scatterings of chocolate wrappers around my desk!

I loved the strawberry and pistachio the best from this delectable array

Lindt chocolatiers’ taste experiments – I loved the strawberry and pistachio the best from this delectable array

Being a self-confessed chocoholic, I didn’t hesitate to accept an invitation to the “chocolate carpet” launch of the Lindt Chocolate Café concept at the site of the original Martin Place site in the heart of the city of Sydney, Australia.

Okay, so the carpet was actually red, not chocolate, but the second my “plus one” daughter and I got inside we were surrounded by chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!

IMG_2587

Lindt Master Chocolatiers at the Maître Station

I’ve visited the Lindt Café before (what self-respecting Sydney chocoholic hasn’t!) but  now it looks quite different. The most prominent new feature is the Maître Station where you can watch the Lindt Master Chocolatiers at work creating their delectable creations. The scent of so much chocolate so close is intoxicating!

The Mocha Macchiato were a hit

The Mocha Macchiato were a hit

There’s also the Chocolate Tap, an outsized metal tap from which Lindt Chocolate copiously flows. I nearly swooned! On the launch night, the baristas made use of the chocolate tap to create potent chocolate shots, as well as Mocha Macchiato comprising dark chocolate, milk and espresso coffee topped with a chocolate shard.

LIndt Australia Master Chocolatier, Thomas Schnetzler, tempting me with the best macarons I've ever tasted

Lindt Australia Master Chocolatier, Thomas Schnetzler, tempting me with the best macarons I’ve ever tasted

Highlights of the evening? Meeting Lindt Australia’s charming Swiss-born Master Chocolatier, Thomas Schnetzler; taste-testing experimental new chocolates; and eating the best-ever macarons, which Lindt calls délice. I also watched, amazed, as a fellow guest emptied out some of the abundant displays of Lindor Balls to fill a bucket to take home. Who could blame him!

We took home lots of treats

We took home lots of treats

We went home with a goodie bag which kept the Lindt experience going for several days afterwards. I didn’t need to be persuaded  to “Surrender to Indulgence”!

Oh, and my beautiful university student daughter had her photo taken for a foodie blog and the Sunday newspaper social pages—she was beyond thrilled!

Visit the Lindt Chocolate Café, 53 Martin Place, Sydney, NSW, 2000. (What a great place for a writers’ meeting!)

KandyShepherd_ReinventingRose800Kandy Shepherd writes fun, feel-good fiction. Her new release is the contemporary women’s fiction (aka chicklit!) Reinventing Rose, where the main character indulges in chocolate at the merest hint of feeling down!

Kandy’s romances include The Castaway Bride, Something About JoeLove is a Four-Legged Word and Home Is Where the Bark Is.

Advertisements

A taste of chocolate

What fun to be invited to a chocolate tasting!

The lovely people from the  Australian office of Swiss chocolate maker Lindt  invited me (wearing my magazine editor’s hat) to a tasting of some scintillating new dark chocolate flavors in Lindt’s Excellence range sold in Australia.

Chocolate tasting

In a room at the beautiful Art Gallery of New South Wales, a tasting plate with a square of each new flavor was set up in front of each of the media guests. Before we were allowed to taste them, Lindt’s Master Chocolatier, Thomas Schetzler, explained to us we needed to use all our senses to fully experience the chocolate.

We examined the smooth, glossy look of the chocolate; felt its soft smoothness; inhaled the rich aroma; listened to the snap as we broke a piece; and then finally savored the different flavors. We tried 70% Cocoa, Strawberry Intense, Coconut Intense, Passionfruit Intense, and A Touch of Sea Salt. It was difficult to nominate a favorite–the strawberry was the sweetest, the coconut amazing, the passionfruit an enticing blend of sweet and sharp, and the sea salt truly a pleasant taste surprise.

Chocolate tasted

I looked around the room and, like at a wine-tasting, everyone just tasted the chocolate without devouring each piece. Much as I would have liked to behave like a greedy pig and eat it all, I refrained–just murmured my appreciation in a quiet way I hoped sounded professional. (Lucky I went home with a goody bag containing each flavor!)

Lindt Master Chocolatier, Thomas Schetzler, explains the chocolate-making process

I’m a total chocoholic with my tastes running with the majority in favoring milk chocolate. However more people are becoming switched on to the joys of dark chocolate. I left the evening’s tasting a convert!

Years ago, when I was first taken to a Lindt chocolate shop in Berne, Switzerland, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Lindt wasn’t as easy to get in other countries then and my luggage went home weighted down with big bars. Now it’s much easier to indulge if you live outside of Europe.

The characters in my novels also like chocolate. In The Castaway Bridethe hero and heroine are shipwrecked on a tropical island with their only food supply a panic bag packed with chocolate. No wonder they have so much fun!