Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chocolate, Cheese, and Gelato Delight


I am a dedicated foodie, and any activity revolving around food is tops on my list. One Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago five members of my family experienced what is known as the Decadent Food Tour. It was 2 ½ hours of food tasting, talking, walking (not so much), and generally having a good time.
The first stop was a gourmet grocery store. Our guide gave a short talk detailing the cheese-making process, the difference between real cheese and faux supermarket cheeses, and the different types of cheeses. Then the fun began. It was taste testing time. There was a selection of hard and soft cheeses, sharp and mild ones. They were all excellent, expensive, wonderful domestic and foreign varieties. My favorite was a goat cheese.
The cheese tasting was followed by a short walk to a chocolate cafĂ©. There were a total of thirteen participants and the tour guide. We sat around a low circular coffee table. Each one of us had a small plate of chocolates in front of us. Before we could taste, our guide explained how chocolate is made, from cocoa beans to finished product. It was difficult staring at the chocolate and not eating until the lecture was over (but it was interesting). There was white chocolate, milk chocolates, dark chocolates, and a truffle that was absolutely out of this world. There were so many kinds of chocolate, and several of each kind, that we could not finish them all. The guide passed around cute little pink boxes so that we could put the extra chocolates in the box and take our gourmet chocolates (read: expensive if purchased) safely home. No one asked about the calories, but there has been much written lately about the benefits of chocolate…
After another brisk, short walk we arrived at a gelato store. I would guess the two walks totaled about 20 minutes, and only because we walked slowly. We probably expended about 20 calories total. I realize that doesn’t come close to making up for all the tidbits we ate. I am sure just one piece of chocolate was way more than 20 calories…Anyway, back to the gelato store. We sat around a long rectangular table. Placed in front of us was a set of dishes with six scoops of gelato, each a different flavor and different color. Our job was to taste every one and guess the flavor. There was pumpkin (it was October and Halloween season), basil (who but the Italians would think of making basil gelato!?), and four other flavors I cannot think of offhand. One was a chocolate variety, and of course that was my favorite. Sometimes I am not very adventurous.
After having a great time sampling all the wonderful goodies, it was time to find a place for dinner. But that’s another story...
If you are looking for a different kind of city experience and live in or are visiting Philadelphia, try one of the food tours offered by City Food Tours: http://www.cityfoodtours.com/. (By the way, this is not a paid advertisement! I just enjoyed the tour and thought others might too.)

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