Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter, Italy, and Twitter

I have to tell you, I'm having a hard time letting Easter go. I still have Easter candy I have not blogged about. (Geez, I still have Valentine's Day candy I haven't blogged about.) My eyes are bigger than my blog.

I also have a twitter account which an increasingly large number of people are following me on. And I have yet to tweet. It's not that I don't have anything to say - anyone who knows me will tell you I have far too much to say. I just am overwhelmed by all the different electronic options. No tweet today, maybe tweet tomorrow.

Facebook is great, but also annoying. I don't want to be kidnapped, sent a virtual drink, or engaged in a virtual snowball fight (although there was a chocolate snowball that I found pretty funny). I love all the people that do these things and I don't want to not play, but for God's sake - I have to get some work done! How does the rest of the world do it? Between dealing with my e-mail, writing this nutty blog, actually working and let's not forget managing my love life - I AM OVERWHELMED! My Facebook and Linked in accounts languish. I am a social media slackard. I'm sure my online connections think I'm a beeoch - I just can't handle it all. It's hard enough for me to stay focused. As you can see.

Back to Easter. I decided to dedicate my final Easter post to Italy. After all, they deserve it:

"The April 6 quake, the worst to hit Italy in three decades, killed more than 290 people and has left tens of thousands more homeless."

Can you imagine how terrifying that earthquake must have been? No way to escape, nowhere to hide - houses, streets crumbling around you? It's easy to forget things if they don't happen in your country/state/city/neighborhood. We're all pretty self absorbed. We're fascinated with ourselves. (Tweet, Tweet.)

The Italians have given us many gifts - especially in the realms of art and food. I have yet to visit Italy, but it is on my list. And I'm moving it up even higher after eating these Easter chocolates!!

The first I bought at Williams Sonoma, but they are made by Caffarel:

The song that plays when you go to their website is beautiful!! I have no idea what the words mean, but it is gorgeous! It MUST be about the love of chocolate - there really is no greater love.

See how pretty these are? Five different colors of paper wrapping three different colors of foil and three different flavors of chocolate egg. They are a treat to open! And because they are so carefully and beautifully packaged, you know they will be delish! This is a case in which you can judge the chocolate by its wrapper!

The three flavors are torroncino - this one was a challenge to find the translation of - many times it was referred to as an ice cream. But what it is (as far as I can tell) is almond paste with lemon flavor. It is really wonderful. The lemon is definitely noticeable but doesn't ruin the confection at all.

Gianduja (or, more commonly, gianduia) is a sweet chocolate containing about 50% hazelnut paste. It takes its name from Gianduja, a Carnival and marionette character who represents the archetypal Piedmontese, the Italian region where hazelnut confectionery is common. (Can you say Wikipedia?)

mandorla - this one is also an almond paste - tastes like almond extract which has always somehow reminded me of cherry. It was my favorite.

Now we're in the big league with these eggs - this ain't no Hershey or Mars. These are "traditional Italian Easter eggs created by and for chocolate connoisseurs." Oh hell yeah! Let me continue from the label: "An Italian Easter tradition, these exquisite chocolate eggs are created by a renowned Turin confectionery, founded in 1826 (we didn't even have chocolate in the US back then) by Pier Paul Caffarel. The bittersweet chocolate shells are made from couverture, produced using the finest South American and African cocoa beans. (I don't think there are any other kinds of cocoa beans, but hey, it sounds great!) Place these festive eggs in an Easter basket or scatter them on a table for a decorative Sunday brunch." Oh la la! Or get thee to Williams Sonoma and see if you can get some for 1/2 price and keep them all for yourself! Eggs this high speed should be wasted on no child. And no egg should be left behind.

All hail the Italians!!

Next up is this cutie from Vosges:

Not made in Italy, but this is Vosges Italian Bunny - and on the package he speaks "I enjoy the beautiful scenery of my native Sicily. My long ears help me hear very well and my large hind feet enable me to leap high. Nibble on my paw and you'll see that hazelnuts, almonds and deep milk chocolate run in my family! Buon Appetito!"

Not sure a chocolate bunny would actually encourage anyone to devour him, but hey, it's creative in a creepy kind of way. This is a solid gianduja bunny - made of almonds and carmelized hazelnut paste and deep milk chocolate. Now THAT rocks!!! Palmer and Russell Stover ain't got nuthin' on Vosges. What could be better than a chocolate rabbit with nuts? Why hasn't anyone thought of that? And isn't he just adorable?

So we finish Easter with a gourmet flourish and a tribute to a country that has given the world much beauty and pleasure. Send them good thoughts as they recover and rebuild and be grateful that your home is still standing and your loved ones are safe. We are much, much luckier than we ever realize or appreciate.

Here's to Italy, here's to chocolate and here's to you! (Just pretend that's a Tweet.)

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