Chocolate tourism. How could that not be a win? That said, I am personally not a huge fan of the Heindl chocolates, so temper this post with that understanding. Ha! Temper! Chocolate humor. (1)
The occasion for this sojourn was a class trip with Hope's third grade cohort. There were 40-odd eight- and nine- year olds involved and much shuffling about on public transport. The trip registered an "11" on the Stress O' Meter. I was on a class trip last year where we actually lost a kid, so, you know, I'm scarred. (2)
But that is water under the bridge. Today we are talking chocolate! Heindl begain in 1953 as a family enterprise in Vienna. Today it is run by the children and grandchildren of the original husband and wife team.
They have shops around Vienna, and offer many products that are chocolate and fruit. Or nuts. These are not my personal favorites. I am not dissing these confections in any way, mind you, just pointing out that in my world, chocolate with peanut butter is divine. Chocolate with hazelnuts? Dramatically less so.
Sissi is of course present, as she is everywhere in Vienna. (3) I really should do a post on her, because you might be all, like, Sissi who? One of the children mentioned her to Jeff the other day, and he made the mistake of expressing exactly that Sissi who? sentiment and got a full body eye roll in exchange. They were all like, "Really? How can you not know who Sissi is?"
My children, on a first name basis with a long dead princess.
From the Heindl Website: "The famous 'Sissi Taler' is an exquisite combination of fruity apricot-marzipan on truffle cream covered in finest whole milk chocolate. Every single 'Taler' with the picture of the unforgotten empress is a sweet salute from Austria to the world. And Sissi Veilchen: the unforgotten empress Sissi loved violets as sorbet and caramelized. Our interpretation of her favourite sweet is delicate dark chocolate with a violet raspberrycream and truffle cream filling."
So, fruit and other stuff with the chocolate. Stamped with the face of the dead princess. Again, not my speed.
THESE, however, choco Santa and choco Easter Bunny are exactly my speed. The Heindl milk chocolate is truly wonderful.
In the museum, they have interesting chocolate exhibitions. This is a shoe. Do not try this at home, kids. Chocolate shoes will melt right off your feet.
This was our favorite. You could taste milk, "white," and dark chocolate. They were seriously good. Who can pass up hot, melty chocolate? I had to beat back the children for my third sample, but it was totally worth it.
Creepy, eh? Sissi with Hope's face. While this is entertaining for the children, I don't recommend using it as your Christmas photo. You're not fooling anyone.
Then there was the chocolate art. These paintings are done with chocolate. The teachers and I all thought it was cool ... but ... agreed that it was best that the children were not actually executing chocolate canvases. I'm not sure how well a chocolate painting would fair in my home. Bugs? People licking it as they went by? Which would be worse?
We did get to taste bits of chocolate as we toured; and, the children got to take these chunks of marzipan and chocolate marzipan and make stuff out of them. Entertaining and it tasted good, too.
Best news of the day? We got back to school with every single child we left with. Win!
Next: Nackte Männer (NSFW!)
(1) Tempering refers to a process of heating and cooling chocolate to prepare it for dipping and enrobing. The tempering process ensures that the cocoa butter in chocolate hardens in a uniform crystal structure. Chocolate that is tempered has a smooth texture, a glossy shine and a pleasant “snap” when bitten or broken. Chocolate that is not tempered might be cloudy, gray, lumpy, and sticky at room temperature.
(2) You might wonder at that, the losing of the child. In that case, we traveled from the school via tram to the Ubahn whereupon we got on another bus. With 40 nine and ten year olds. Do you see how it might be possible to misplace one of them? No? Right. It was awkward.
(3) The Empress Elisabeth of Austria ever present, and known as "Sissi," is considered an historical icon. The Empress is now thought to have been a non-conformist who abhorred conventional court protocol, as well as a free spirit, who valued an individual sense of freedom above anything else. Wiki
PS: If you are looking for a post on Microwave popcorn, that was a joke.