Defying the Recession: Straight out of Bruges, the most amazing Belgian chocolates
This month, our Storytelling series in the Portfolio section invites you to describe some of the little luxuries you have maintained, despite the economic gloom. Click here to read previous stories.
I was scrimping, but two weeks before Easter I gave in to my desire and e-mailed an order to Francoise for a kilo of chocolates. They arrived from Belgium the day after Easter.
The cost of postage alone was frightening, but worth it: I enjoy a few minutes of utter delight each day as I eat one or two fabulous candies.
Some years ago, when money was a bit more plentiful, I was visiting the captivating city of Bruges. My sister pushed my wheelchair from the Memling museum to the Old Chocolate Shop, designated by our driver as a convenient pickup spot. While we waited there, we made the acquaintance of Francoise, who sells the chocolates her husband makes.
We tasted the chocolates. I was hooked. They are indescribably delicious.
I do without a lot of things now, but the chocolates call to me from across the ocean. And I'm not giving up -- I'm giving in.
-- RUTH REILLY, Squirrel Hill
I thought nothing would ever replace my obsession with peanut butter but I was wrong. A new love has captured me, one I will never be without. It is a young love, perfect, sweet and newly attainable, a protege of the Dutch seed company Enza Zaden. Its name is Campari and it is unlike any other.
A tomato is the object of my affection. Yes, it is. It may be hard to understand, but this one is beautiful and never tasteless. In the dead of winter, with Campari, you would swear it is summer it is so juicy, sweet and firm, unlike the pale wannabees and pretenders, picked before their time, displayed on grocery shelves so green that it must be envy.
Bite into a Campari any time of year, close your eyes and you could be at a roadside stand holding a basket of just-picked summer tomatoes, long-awaited, warm from the sun, deep red and slightly sweet. Greenhouse-grown, they are the result of state-of-the-art technology.
When I used to take my lunch to grade school, it was always something and mayonnaise on a sandwich of white bread so soft I could see the imprint of my fingers. Layered inside, making the bread deliciously damp and blending together all of the flavors were slices of tomato.
Ah, the memory. Today I have whole wheat bread with probably too much mayo and -- you guessed it -- two Camparis.
So, there it is. Even with the terrible economy I never feel so rich as when I have a plastic container of Camparis in the refrigerator. And in spite of bailouts, taxes and foreclosures and no matter the cost, I cannot live without them.
-- HONEY ADELSHEIM, Mt. Lebanon
First Published April 22, 2009 12:00 am