Sunday, July 19, 2009

Good chocolate

I like chocolate. Around home, I always have a couple of bars of dark chocolate on hand, and it takes me a few days to nibble through each one. I broke this habit right away when I got settled in Minsk because I just couldn’t find any chocolate I enjoyed well enough to munch on. It wasn’t a big deal, of course, because it’s summer and I’ve been very well entertained snacking on fresh fruit. Still, every time I saw a new brand of dark chocolate I’d buy it, hoping to stock my selves with a few bars I’d enjoy nibbling.

I had pretty much given up on the chocolate project when I discovered the Korona supermarket. (Actually, they don’t even call it a supermarket. It’s a hypermarket. For my American readers, it’s something between a shopping center, Costco, and a gourmet supermarket.) Korona has a bigger variety of products than any store I’d ever seen in Belarus, so much so that Alla was overwhelmed and wanted to flee. I bought real Parmesan cheese, which was the priority that brought us there in the first place, and bought one of every kind of plain dark chocolate they had on their shelves.

I was pretty excited about all the chocolate. I prepared a piece of paper with all the brand names and took notes every time I tried a new one. They were generally a little better than the stuff I’d been buying previously, but not always by much. My favorite of the lot was A. Korkunov 72%, made in Moscow. I found it a little sweeter than I would have liked, and the texture seemed a little soft, but I thought it was good enough to buy again. Actually, that was the only one I thought was good enough to buy, but there aren’t many at home that I buy repetitively either. (Scharffen Berger!)

A couple of days ago, however, I went into a little supermarket Alla discovered really close to our house. It’s closer to us than the place where I did most of my shopping, but I didn’t realize it was even there because it’s in an underground mall I didn’t bother to explore. These guys had more brands of chocolate even than Korona, and I splurged on a couple more bars that looked promising. Wow! My new local favorite is Favarger Noir Plain, from Geneva. I like it well enough that I no longer wonder about schlepping a supply of chocolate on my next trip over here. Hooray!

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