Mid-Week Tangent: My Personal Heaven (aka Valrhona Cite du Chocolat)

Much like last Wednesday’s post, I’m going to warn you right off the bat that this has nothing to do with fitness, running, training or health.  This post is about the most fabulous place a chocolate lover (like myself) can imagine. If you must link it to fitness of some sort, I’ll encourage you once again to consider chocolate the perfect reward for a tough workout. With that out of the way, let’s move on to my own personal heaven.

Picture yourself in an impossibly large room filled entirely with chocolate products.  Breathe deeply and inhale all that rich, chocolate aroma lingering in the air. Envision entire walls of chocolate-filled tubes, pouring out endless samples to fuel your gluttony.  Stand back and see that beyond the chocolate tubes, every single chocolate product features a bowl of samples into which you can repeatedly dip your greedy, greedy fingers. Are you understanding the magnitude of this chocolate fantasy? Honour-system endless chocolate samples.

Let that sink in.

Only this isn’t a fantasy. No, this was the lucid reality of my visits, because yes I went more than once, to the Valrhona Cite du Chocolat in Tain l’Hermitage. Sure, my initial reason for visiting this part of France was its famed Syrah-producing hillsides.  I won’t lie, though, when I found out that the town also featured a city of chocolate, nothing was going to get in the way of my visit.

Photographic proof that I didn't hallucinate this wonder of chocolate samples.
Photographic proof that I didn’t hallucinate this wonder of chocolate samples. Look at them all. SIXTEEN types to sample…and that’s not all the samples.
Chocolate chocolate everywhere and...many samples to taste (tell me someone out there gets the lame Rime of the Ancient Mariner reference)
Chocolate chocolate everywhere and…many samples to taste (tell me someone out there gets the lame Rime of the Ancient Mariner reference)

There, in this almost unimaginable world of chocolate generosity, I discovered a deep love for blonde chocolate, a variety that I’ve somehow gone my whole life without experiencing.  There, I discovered more varieties of milk chocolate than I ever thought I could taste in a five-minute time span. There, I learned that I can consume at least 11 chocolates within ten minutes and still go on to school a galette within a half hour (more to come on the wonder of galettes in another post).*

In other words, there I learned the true meaning of happiness. Go. Visit. Taste. I promise you that you will not regret it.

*If you’re curious about the 11 chocolates consumed, I believe they were the Tanariva, Bahibe, Caramelia, Dulcey, Ivoire, Orelys, dulcey covered Almond, milk chocolate covered fig, dark chocolate covered salted caramel, and a white chocolate covered dark chocolate and raspberry ganache. No, I did not feel ill after eating them. I am a pro.



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