Thursday, November 27, 2008

Is there such a thing as too much chocolate?

Rather than wax rhapsodic about turkey on this day of turkey, aka Thanksgiving, I thought I would discuss a food that we daily give thanks for, chocolate.

Ah, chocolate, made from the seeds of the tropical cacao tree, instrument of pleasure and even, occasionally, pain. Associated with virility and fertility, this product of the cacao bean has a long, rich history going back hundreds of years. And in Chicago this Wednesday, the spouse and I, along with our daughter, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and two fellow (unrelated) chocoholics got to experience if not the ultimate chocolate fantasy certainly a chocoholics dream afternoon.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a Chicago Chocolate Tour, 90 minutes of chocolaty goodness in the Windy City (aka Obamaland) condensed into one blog post.

After meeting up at the main floor Concierge Desk at 900 N. Michigan Ave., on Chicago's Magnificent Mile, we headed upstairs to Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland, home of "The best Champagne truffles on the planet," per Zagat -- and the J-TWO-O family:

Then we braved the wind and cold to go to More Cupcakes, a feast for the eyes and tummy, run by a mother of five. There we sampled chocolate/chocolate cream and chocolate/vanilla bean cupcakes:

After stumbling out of More Cupcakes in a sugar- and chocolate-induced haze, our band of merry chocolateers headed to Sarah's Candies & Pastries, the creation of longtime candy and pastry lover Sarah Levy (who is only in her 20s -- and proof that chocolate is the secret to happiness), where we got to watch a nice man enrobe candied orange peel in chocolate -- and then eat some.

After all that chocolate, things began to get a little fuzzy (and a little too milk chocolaty) for me. We headed to Water Tower Place, to Lindt, where I vaguely remember standing in front of The Wall of Truffles and eating an extra dark truffle and being cajoled to eat/buy more chocolate, and then stumbling out of the shop in search of some water, in a chocolate-induced haze.

Then we headed downstairs to the Frango store, where I did not even attempt to eat the chocolate-covered minty creations, though my daughter gamely downed both the original and limited-edition candy cane variety of Frango Mint (which has just not been the same since Macy's took over Marshall Field's, a Chicago institution).

Stumbling out of Water Tower Place we headed across several blocks to our final chocolate destination, Argo Tea, where we drank what can best be described as "liquid candy cane" but was some kind of white chocolate mint tea concoction, and were given samples of brownies, which, like the Frango Mints, I shoved into my goody bag.

Engorged with chocolate we waddled back to 900 N. Michigan and to our car -- and headed off to Whole Foods to do some last-minute Thanksgiving shopping.

And speaking of Thanksgiving, as I sit here in my heart-covered velveteen purple pajamas, I wish one and all a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving (one hopefully filled with at least a little dark chocolate, which as we now know is filled with healthy antioxidants).


Little Miss Cupcake said...

So, my first immediate response to your blog title was one of shock and "NO!" There can never be too much chocolate. Then I read the post, and my mouth is watering. Man, does that stuff look good! I used to make a sepcial trip to NM when in Chicago for Frango's! Happy turkey day!

Moishie, in Knoxchocoville said...

I am surprised, as is my brother, Sheimoi, that the cautionary tales of Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, and Mike Teavee, did not give you pause before you entered Chocolate World.

We hope you are recovering and that you did not encounter any Oompa-Loompas.

g said...

Oh, my! I think you tested the limits of chocolate capacity. You must have been positively vibrating with antioxidants, sugar and caffeine! but happy!

Love that tour of the Mgnificent Mile. We spent a few days there last December, and it really is just a perfect place to feel wintery and holiday-ish.

My Frango connection goes far back to when Marshall Fields stole the recipe from Frederick & Nelson in Seattle - mmm. Frangos.

Anonymous said...

Catherine aka Cathmas Dec 25

You must be so disappointed I did not bring you chocolates from Ireland......SOOOO SOOORRRRY !Promise next time. Happy Thanksgiving. xox

czechyoself said...
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AlyssaGoodman said...

I think we WILL go!! AG