Sunday, April 23, 2006

With chocolates, timing is everything

Very near our apartment is a delightful chocolate store, Regis, with the best dark chocolate truffles I have ever had.

Not those awful monstrosities that abound in American chocolate shops with the hard, tasteless shell and the bizarrely flavored goo on the interior, but the ones that taste like a little dollop of mousse au chocolat made just that much more intense and perfect by being bite-sized.

Anyway, Regis is the spot to get these beauties and like so many other foodstuffs around here I have developed a bit of an addiction to them. Nothing I can’t handle, but there you are.

So I breezed into the shop last week and asked the woman for my weekly fix. She gave me a horrified look and then said, “but monsieur, truffles are for Winter time! Truffles are for Christmas! It’s Spring now, we have no more truffles.”

Now I can understand that strawberries have seasons and peaches have seasons but never would it have occurred to me to declare an arbitrary beginning and ending to the truffle season.

I managed to console myself with the chocolates du Pâcques, although this time I am going to be careful not to make it an addiction. Even I can tell that those cute little chicken and egg chocolates are not going to be around for long.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

(Momentarily) proud to be American

We just returned from four days in Normandy touring the D-Day beaches. The scenery is beautiful and green in the way that only occurs in places which get rain 3 days out of 4 year-round.

The various D-Day museums dotted throughout the area are well done, bringing an extraordinary chapter of world history to life. Even better, they bring back a (simpler?) time when being an American was an unalloyed good thing.

World War II played to all of our strengths - the American tendency to see everything in terms of black and white, as well as our over-the-top commitment to causes and ideals. In short, all of the things that have gotten our foreign policy into trouble since World War II!

We were staying in a lovely chateau near Utah Beach (, where the walls in the drawing room still sport damage from the battles in June 1944. The picture above is of the main chateau building.

Over four days visited the Memorial Museum in Caen, the Utah Beach memorial, the Paratrooper’s museum in Mer St. Eglise and the Pointe le Hoc memorial. Each of these covered the D-Day battle from a different point of view and they were small enough that the boys did not get too bored walking around all the exhibits.

Between the brisk sea air, the fresh oysters and the reflected glory of one time anyway where America was unambiguously on the side of the angels in history, a week in Normandy made for a delightful family break.