But not for much longer... We are almost in the final countdown to the NZ trip, less than two weeks to go. On the one hand, I kind of regret that we will be enduring most of the winter here anyway, but on the other hand, I didn't want to use up such a big chunk of holidays so early in the year, and when we come back, hopefully spring will be here. Plus, NZ in February is much nicer than January. At least, I hope so. Every time I check the weather forecast, it seems to be sunny but with rain predicted for the coming days. Not sure whether that means it has actually been sunny all the time or not...
Couple of quick things before I probably go into hibernation again and then hit you with an unending stream of posts from New Zealand. (Eeeeee!)
Our joint Christmas present to ourselves was a shiny new Magimix food processor. Points to note: my god, it takes up space! I knew the size of the processor itself (we bought online, but had seen it in a shop). What I didn't know was how much room all the blades and other accessories take up! It's true, by the time you fit the blade and clean the machine afterwards, half the time you could have just chopped the carrot yourself, but it's a lot of fun. And we've made some things like pommes de terre dauphinoise or sliced leeks or julienned carrots where I definitely wouldn't get the things as thin or uniform. And it does come into its own when you're making a big batch of whatever. We made soup yesterday with 2 cups each of diced carrot, celery and onion, and that saved a lot of grief. If you have any recipes that require a lot of chopping/slicing, send them my way!
|Plus it's so shiny and red, and looking at it gives me a smug middle-class sense of self-satisfaction|
Luckily, I was talking to a colleague who let me in on a little Brussels secret - the Neuhaus factory shop! Neuhaus is already one of my favourites, so I was super excited to visit, especially when I heard you can eat as many free samples as you like. Basically, the boxed chocolates are not so much cheaper than what you get in the retail stores, but the real bargains come in plain, single-variety cardboard cartons. I picked up three kilos of chocolate for 40€.
|You can eat as much as you want from the open boxes|
|And then splash the cash on the plain packaging|
As far as I'm aware, the plain boxes aren't "seconds' in the sense of being defective or whatever. We were looking for later expiry dates on the boxes we bought, and they all expired by like the end of April, so I'm guessing that's more the reason why they are in the factory shop. Apart from that (I'll just assume my family will eat their chocolates quickly!) the only downside is that there's only three different varieties of chocolate in the three kilos and I'll have to fiddle around in NZ packing them into individual portions. On the plus side, it will be a lot easier to transport them than the equivalent in 10 different boxes.
I suppose I've lifted the veil of mystery for anyone who may be reading the blog and also getting chocolates from me, but oh well. I figure most people would rather more chocolates in a less fancy package (and also that I don't bankrupt myself).
We went by car, but apparently you can take the metro to the last stop and walk a short way, so definitely an option if you're ever visiting Brussels. Beware though, we didn't have breakfast, and I would have thought I could eat basically endless quantities of chocolate, but I got sick pretty quickly! If you're coming on a mission, e.g. for the bulk-buy chocolates, make sure you taste those first, because by the end I horrified myself by having to take a bite of different chocolates and then throw the rest away. (A dark day for humanity.)