09 Jun2006

zxoco1

Yes, Barcelona has a Museu de la Xocolata! Tells you how much they revere this ingredient… In every city that we visit, we ask our daughter to pick a museum or place that she wants zxoco2to visit so that she participates in our itinerary and she has some control over the sightseeing…in Amsterdam, it was the Children’s Science Museum (very interesting), in Barcelona, we got to the Aquarium (a disappointment compared to Asian Aquariums) and she wanted to see the Chocolate Museum (good grief, a chocoholics dream). It was a bit of a walk from our apartment so we took it slow, meandered and stopped here and there. We spent about 30 minutes in the small but nice museum, beside a patisserie school, viewed the STUNNING works of chocolate art (including reproductions of great monuments, buildings or well-known art work such as the Sagrada Familia and the Pieta), some Dutch houses, rodeo scenes, cartoon characters etc. You could read about the history of chocolate, how chocolate is made, watch short films, explore old equipment used to make chocolate and generally just get intoxicated with the smell of chocolate coming from the in-house café that served hot chocolate and chocolate desserts. It was one experience a chocolate lover should not miss. Otherwise, it was good for 10-15 minutes if you happened to be in the neighborhood…

On our way back, we stopped by the Picasso Museum (yes, on this day, the Chocolate Museum was considered the main destination) and zxoco viewed the interesting collection of works mostly donated by the Picasso family. Also, around the corner was E & A Gispert, a superb food store that carried freshly roasted coffee beans, nuts, chocolate, jams, etc. Around for over a century, it was a throwback in time and yet incredibly chic. It’s the kind of store I would like to own, but it would lose a phenomenal amount of money. We also managed to taste several helados on this day as well as pass by dozens of wonderful storefronts that you just don’t see too often back in Asia… a hat store, a costume store, a card and board games store, art galleries, etc. Finally, we stepped into Caelum, a beautiful small shop that specializes in food products/delicacies produced in monasteries and other religious sources. Here you could find polvorons, things that looked like yema, and all other sorts of munchies that were probably the basis for much of our own sweets here in the Philippines. Next up, a tapas post then helados for dessert and it’s off to Florence!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Apicio says:

    For the longest time before the introduction of the corn mill, urban Filipinos fixed their chocolate fix by hailing itinerant moledores, men walking about balancing on poles on their shoulders on one end a heavy piece of stone whose hewn profile resembles a Scandinavian lounge chair and on the other a sturdy work table on which he sets the metate and proceeded to laboriously crush your toasted cacao with a torpedo shaped pin also hewn out of stone called the metlapilli. My grandfather mused whether it was not the sweat of the poor Chinaman that gave their hot chocolate that ineffable taste dimension. You see, the Spaniards introduced cacao to their far-flung Pacific out-post attached to the technology of its use. If you ever wondered, Robert Linxe imaginatively employed the silhouette of these pair of chocolate implements as his logo for Maison du Chocolat.

    Jun 9, 2006 | 6:52 pm

     
  2. Marketman says:

    I have handled dozens of boxes of the stuff and NEVER once thought about that logo on the dark brown boxes of La Maison du Chocolat. I have learned something tonight…

    Jun 9, 2006 | 9:28 pm

     
  3. Larees says:

    Hi Mr. M! Thanks for replying to my question on a previous post! I just might make Spain my next destination; I’m in need of a good vacation. All your posts about your trip are just superb. Happy weekend!

    Jun 10, 2006 | 3:22 am

     
  4. Manila streetwalker says:

    That photo of the chocolate Sagrada Familia is outrageous! but nothing comes close to seeing the real Gaudi thing…

    Apicio,

    I was informed by the last tablaea maker in Binondo that in the old days, his grandfather would sell chocolates using the pingga- bamboo pole as you so correctly described it- and if you wanted the sweetened version, then they would have haul big blocks of sugar to crush and sweeten the cacao seeds, whew!

    Jun 10, 2006 | 11:08 am

     
  5. Apicio says:

    Yes, that is the correct Tagalog term for the bamboo pole. I skirted using it in deference to the Spanish and Portuguese speaking MM fans. It is their ribald term for another sort of pole.

    Jun 10, 2006 | 8:36 pm

     
  6. Marketman says:

    Heeheehee.

    Jun 10, 2006 | 9:11 pm

     
 

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