; movieschocolatebooks: September 2014


Thursday, September 25

Godiva Creme Brulee Dessert Truffles and Crunchy Granola by Lake Champlain

Or how European sophistication meets American taste of home. Or how I have switched from plain to trendy. Or how this new land of mine -for it feels like my own- came to seduce me with its new flavours and dry air. In a word, two very different varieties and the way they have come to beguile my senses.

First, it was the long lost taste of childhood that made me blink my eyes in anticipation. Godiva Creme Brulee Dessert Truffles is all about French sophistication and some culinary classic that I grew up on. My mother's favourite desert became ours and I tend to have this love and hate relationship with Creme Brulee. I love to hate its burnt taste, yet I adore how it contains all shades of caramel, yellow and brown and how its frailty feels empowering. However, under the soft layer of Godiva chocolate, the miracle takes shape before your own eyes and the truffles are nothing but layered happiness: caramel, white chocolate ganache and crunchy toffee crumbles. That kind of seduction that makes you take a bite and look into the shape of your teeth with anticipation and a sense of possession. Well, it is either that or my own dirty mind.

Apparently there is this great guy, Godiva Chef Chocolatier, Thierry Muret, who is responsible for the Ultimate Dessert Truffle Collection and for tricking your mouth into thinking it is the dessert you are actually enjoying and not the chocolate itself. You can only imagine how sophisticated my mouth has become and how hard it is for me to satisfy my sweet tooth. It is exhausting and frustrating not to be able to find comfort in ordinary stuff that people can buy anywhere and everywhere. This makes me so happy that Thierry Muret is imaginative and crafted and that I can actually find Godiva chocolate almost everywhere in these nice fifty states or less. Still I hear that there is nothing like the molton chocolate that they dip strawberries into. Talking about a mouth orgasm there....Oops!

And of course, there is this place called a'Tavola Gourmet Marketplace and Café in Boise that it is like heaven on earth. Someone really passionate about gourmet food did her best -I can feel it is a woman involved here- to populate this cute, cosy place with tastes and flavours unseen and unexpected. It has bakery, espresso, fine cheeses, charcuterie, beer and wine, take-away foods, and more. In addition to their signature salads, soups, and bakery items, the a'Tavola Marketplace has a lot of chocolate. So I try to be very virtuous about it and stay away of all temptations and mirror my figure everywhere as a reminder of the dangers. Most of the times I can do it. I leave the place sad and frustrated but I am able to do so. Yet, every now and then, I succumb to my own limitations and this is how I met Crunchy Granola by Lake Champlain. Dark and crunchy and apparently the most unexpected combination. You know me, conservative and too fond of my own tastes aka Lindt Excellence here to go wild, yet this felt like love at first sight and then it was again love at first taste. It is silky and has these soft little bits of granola just enough to give you an idea about it yet not feel like average breakfast food. It is also a bit spicy and hides a shred of cinnamon. And so far I have totally disliked both dark and cinnamon, so I do not know what to make of it....Is it the dry air or the strange land? Regardless of the answer, I have totally enjoyed my little bar of unpredicted pleasure.  Apparently, Lake Champlain Chocolates has been crafting specialty chocolates in Burlington, Vermont, for 30 years and they are good at it.

In a word, I do not seem to have enough time to elaborate on my little daily passions and discoveries, but I am soo grateful for all the nice people that cross my path and all the lovely places my inspiration or simply fate take me to here in Boise, allegedly America's best kept secret.

Organic Milk Chocolate Granola Bar

Friday, September 19

Ce ne spunem cand nu ne vorbim de Chris Simion- o recenzie by NICO

“Ca sa inteleg Iadul, a trebuit mai intai sa trec prin el”

Asa incepe o carte ce te pune pe ganduri, ce te plimba prin intimitatea scrierilor dintre doi indragostiti, pe drumul si hatisurile unei erori. O eroare prin care personajul face cunostinta cu iadul. In aceste hatisuri il reneaga, chestioneaza, interogheaza si cearta pe Dumnezeu.

Aceasta poveste este spusa altfel- este facuta numai dialogul si corespondenta unui cuplu de indragostiti si din drafturile ei... mailuri netrimise, jurnalul ei dincolo de corespondenta, memoriile si preumblarile ei prin ideile, amintirile, visele si cosmarurile trecute, prezente si fara viitor. Este scrisa intim, foloseste ceea ce fiecare ascunde de ceilalti, foloseste sinele si sufletul... pune sufletul in cuvinte, ii da o forma... cuvintele devin suflet, se scriu impreuna si se creaza impreuna cuvant-suflet.

As putea spune ca are mai multe planuri: unul al relatiei si comunicarii dintre cei doi, unul al ei cu sinele si ratacirilor ei si unul care te zdruncina si chiar te enerveaza pentru ca te scoate din imaginea pe care ti-ai facut-o initial despre poveste si te arunca printre incertitudini si palme de trezire.

Primul plan al cartii este o poveste despre o eroare umana ce schimba vieti, schimba viata unei EA... o face fara viitor, o face sa traiasca prezentul, dar nu oricum. O face sa traiasca prezentul avand cutitul deasupra capului, intrebandu-se in fiecare seara daca a doua zi se va trezi si in fiecare dimineata daca aceea va fi ultima zi... gandindu-se la ziua de ieri, de alaltaieri, la saptamana trecuta, la anii trecuti, la EL- care nu mai face parte din prezentul ei. Cartea te face sa te intrebi ,,oare ce ai face daca...?'' Sincer acum...ce ai face daca ai fi diagnosticata cu cancer -numit de Ea ,,crin salbatic''? Chiar... ce ai face? Stiind ca esti in relatia vietii tale, stiind ca esti tanara, EL te iubeste si este parte din tine, respirarti acelasi aer, ganditi exact la fel, va completati perfect, va rmonizati intelectual, sexual si spiritual. Ei nu pot trai unul fara celalalt, snt o singura persoana pentru ca:

“Nu coboara nimeni in suflet ca tine”

Ce ai face? Ea a ales sa fuga si sa se retraga din relatie, a ales sa lupte de una singura pentru ca mai apoi sa se intoarca la el si sa reia totul, a ales sa nu ii spuna ce are pentru a-l proteja. Ea si-a facut alegerea, bazandu-se pe ceea ce stia si simtea ca are impreuna cu El... dar oare el este de acord cu alegerea ei, se impaca oare cu fuga ei? el stie un singur lucru si se agata de acesta cu disperare si anume, ceea ce ea ii repeta mereu : “Vreau sa traiesc cu tine tot.” ,,Sa nu crezi niciodata ce iti spun. Sa crezi doar ce simti” si el stie ce simte ea dincolo de cuvintele care il indeparteaza.


Ceea ce doare cel mai mult in aceasta carte (foarte plina de cuvinte de iubire, chiar excesiv de multe si la un moment dat obositoare... parand chiar false- pentru ca uneori si tacerea dintre doi oameni este placuta, nu e nevoie de cuvinte sa exprimi chiar tot, uneori cuvintele chiar strica atmosfera si conexiunea dintre doi oameni) sunt drafturile, unde vedem cum Floarea Soarelui- Ea este pierduta, dezorientata si singura fara el- Zmeul Albastru. Unde fetita din ea ramane fara aparare, copilul din fiecare este pierdut si lasat descoperit in fata vicisitudinilor vremii si oamenilor. Vedem cum verdictul bolii si mai apoi aflarea erorii duce la disperarea si pierderea orientarii si aproape pierderea mintilor, citim despre coborarea in infernul deznadejdii si a abandonului, a luarii de la capat, a nevoii de Dumnezeu prezent si despre nevoia credintei in iubirea de sine, iubirea de aproape, iubirea pamanteana si nepamanteana.

Ultimul plan al cartii este cel ce te palmuieste cu indoielile povestii, te scoate din atmosfera plina de iubire si te arunca in ironii, cautari, explicatii, revolte si iar alte explicatii prin care sa ne convinga ca aceasta poveste ar avea un sens real.... aleg sa ma dezic de aceasta parte pentru ca nu mi-a placut. Nu imi plac explicatiile ce dureaza mult si te invart si te ametesc si te incarca prin si de cuvinte multe. parerea mea este ca daca apar aceste explicatii multe ceva trebuie si se vrea ascuns. - dar aceasta este doar parerea mea...

Cartea per ansamblu este o noutate atat ca forma cat si ca fond, subiect. Pune semne d eintrebare. te pune in ipostaza empatiei, te forteaza sa empatizezi cu floarea soarelui ( EA isi creaza paralel cu lumea reala , o lume de basm, dar de proportii mici si atragator de vesele in tristetea faptelor expuse)

ce ai face daca doctorii ti-ar pune verdictul cancer? ... pentru ca apoi sa afli ca a fost o eroare..

Friday, September 12

Magic in the moonlight at The Flicks

Watching the latest Woody Allen movie in a fancy theater, in good company, a glass of exquisite wine should be the premise for a great evening. Magic in the moonlight  is like the candy box that promises the best chocolates in the world and fails to deliver the excitement you have been waiting for. It is either that or we have come to think so highly of this man and expect to be swept off our feet by his every picture.

Well, do not get me wrong, here. I was not sorry a bit for spending two wonderful hours with Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden or Hamish Linklater. I loved the music, jazzy and reminiscent of The Roaring Twenties, the costumes and the setting. It actually made me travel back in time and feel like a flapper for one night, at a glorious, decadent party, foxtrotting my way through the chin-length bob beauties around me. It could have been the lovely wine but then again, there has to be some magic in this life, according to the director. I think this is the part I loved the best- the promise that we can go through all the misery and hardships, through the impervious, long hours of our time, hoping for the magic dust to slowly flicker above our heads and for a moment, make us feel alive.

The story is sweet, predictable and deprived of any shred of chemistry. Stanley Crawford, the greatest magician alive who plays his tricks in Chinese style, arrogant, skeptical and stiff, takes upon himself the task of unveiling Sophie - Emma Stone-  the young mind reader as a delicious, yet authentic fraud. To please his friend and stay true to his reputation, Stanley allows himself to be deceived and played, to fall in love and change his colours, all for a pair of big, green eyes. Sophie is a young woman, who along her mother, is staying with a rich family on the French Riviera, where she has the son smitten with her looks and the mother with her apparent ability to speak to her dead husband.

Magic in the moonlight made me remember of another famous magician in The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, who messes up with people's minds to get his hand on the mighty rock. It is yet another movie about faith versus reason and deception versus gullibility. In almost all Woody Allen movies, there are credulous characters that end up in either unfortunate situations or simply allow themselves to be mislead. It is never just the women or simply the men, it is actually our inner need to hope and dream that great movies and extraordinary books make sense and can be easily translated into our own lives. Underneath all neurotic, intelligent conversations, this is the thing that touches me the most when it comes to his movies- the buoyant nature of his characters who stumble and sometimes hit rock bottom yet always make it out if not safely at least elegantly. This particular movie feels like walking familiar ground, a sweet mixture of My Fair Lady and Henry James's Daisy Miller, a personal, yet idiosyncratic voyage into his mind and our own expectations that could never settle the debate over loving him utterly or hating him deeply. The nice change is that in this particular movie, the female character is the one who never gives in and works her mysterious, seductive ways on Stanley; romance is the ultimate winner, though chemistry seems to have faded somewhere on the way.

I pretty much felt like Sophie here, in a funny way. I may not be the American girl abroad nor am I into cunningly seduce magicians' minds, but rather inclined to believe that a shred of self-delusion could make your life a bit more tolerable. After all, ain't it all just a swindle ?