Most birthdays in 2020 have been (and still are) unique. Mine, which was in July, was no exception. With social distancing in place, I had a blast celebrating at home with my loved ones: in-person and virtually (thank God for technology!). Although it was vastly different from my regular birthday celebrations, I’m grateful and thankful for each and every blessing in life!
One of the gifts I received for my birthday is a pack of Belgian chocolates (thanks Mom!). Just like bulk of the goodies in my snack stash, my birthday present isn’t only a new chocolate experience: it’s a mini ‘getaway’!
This chocolate is from ‘Belgian’, home of the salted brownie Belgian chocolates! I’ve never tasted this hazelnut chocolate in particular, so it’s a new experience for me. Apart from loving chocolates from Belgium, I ADORED ‘roaming’ Antwerp through my screen. Before we embark on a return ‘trip’ to Antwerp, let’s dive into the sweet tooth portion of the post – tasting chocolate.
This chocolate came in a large pack that contained 12 chocolate bars. Each serving size is perfect, as it isn’t too chunky or too thin. Belgian milk chocolate is decadent and rich, which hits the sweet spot. Rather than sticking to conventional textures, this chocolate is a slight remix of the two stars’ collaboration in the chocolate realm.
To my surprise, the hazelnuts are well-concealed. Nothing pointed to nuts just from a quick glimpse, which was my first encounter with the chocolate. That’s because they’ve been crushed finely! You’ve got to look at the chocolate carefully to notice the specks – like millions of stars dotting a night sky. They appeared when my eyes scanned the bar for signs of nuts!
Texture-wise, it’s like creamy versus crunchy peanut butter (team crunchy for the win!). Kind of like peanut butter, hazelnuts are typically either smooth (hello, Nutella) or chunky in chocolate. This chocolate is more of an in-between of creamy and crunchy. I like the texture, which made my crunchy peanut butter-loving palate happy.
The fudgy-looking bars are equally yummy when they’re refrigerated. With summery weather upon us, I wanted to preserve its shape before the sun got to it! Flavor-wise, milk chocolate stands out the most, hence making it the star of the show. Hazelnuts have a supporting role in the star-studded line-up, to my flavor palate at least. They’re both blended well, nevertheless, and each bite was enjoyable.
All in all, I loved munching on this yummy treat! This straightforward chocolate combo is a classic that’s been executed well in my books.
And now, let’s say hello to Antwerp, Belgium!
Antwerp oozes with creativity. One of the places that represents Antwerp’s creative spirit is PAKT, in the city’s Green Quarter. An industrial site in its previous life, PAKT bubbles with inspiration today – it’s an oasis for creative minds in the city and a hub for the creative industries. Also, it is home to restaurants and cafés. I can picture sitting in a comfy café at PAKT, sipping on a nice cup of coffee and diving nose-deep into a good book. PAKT is also home to rooftop gardens, which supply produce to surrounding eating establishments. Hooray for sustainability!
My birthday chocolate reminds me of PAKT, as the package’s radiant green hue reflects gorgeous produce, and the milk chocolate blocks remind me of PAKT’s brownstone buildings. Living in a concrete jungle myself, I can relate to the creation of rooftop gardens: they’re brilliant for cultivating and connecting with nature in the midst of a big city.
Finally, I learnt that Antwerp has a passion for fashion. Renowned for diamonds and precious pieces, there’s more to Antwerp’s fashion scene than meets the eye. Fashion draws a similarity to Belgian chocolates: there’s a selection of styles to suit individuals’ tastes. Antwerp is taking on the fashion world, one fabulous step at a time. There’s even a fashion museum called ModeMuseum (referred to as MoMu)! The museum is re-opening in 2021 after undergoing renovations. Although MoMu is closed, they are currently conducting “fashion walks”: guided tours around Antwerp that revolve around fashion.
I hope you enjoyed ‘tasting’ this chocolate and ‘exploring’ Antwerp with me!