Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Taste for Chocolate

When one hears the word, "Belgium," several things come to mind: fries, waffles, pastries, lace, and invariably, chocolates. I've had the lifelong misfortune of being allergic to dairy products - not an intolerance to lactose, but an allergy to milk protein (caseine), which is even contained in other foods such as canned meats (except Spam, which, contrary to popular belief, is quite good when prepared properly). I came to Belgium expecting to enjoy the fries & the waffles, and leave the chocolates to everyone else. However, my curiousity got the best of me, and I started looking at the ingredients of Nutella (a hazelnut chocolate spread) and similar products, and I found one that had no milk! That lead to more important discoveries. Côte d'or, the brand of the spread, is a popular chocolate brand here, so I checked out their regular dark chocolates - they also contained no milk!! I later found out from a Belgian that real chocolate (that is, dark chocolate, not milk chocolate) usually doesn't have milk! What a discovery! It has opened many doors of opportunity and has awaken a liking for chocolate in my tastebuds - a interest that hadn't before existed. I suppose that, of all places, this is the best place to have first tasted chocolates.

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