Wow it feels like the weekends- besides that tiny little thing I have tomorrow that involves getting up at 7.30am in the morning called class. Anyways, so this week I went to two places I normally wouldn't go if I were here as a tourist.
This weekend, I went to the Salon du Chocolat, which is basically the chocolate exhibition where chocolate houses all around the world gather in one big room with little booths and give out samples. It was awesome. We just walked around for 2 hours and stuffed ourselves full with samples. My favourite one was a booth near the front called De Chocolat Neuville (shown above center). It was delicious. Apart from the sampling, there were also lots of demonstrations of people carving chocolate (above right), making brownies and shaping chocolates.
Then there was the show. According to the schedule it is suppose to be a chocolate fashion show, but since I had no idea what the mc was saying in French, it could also very well be the ms chocolat contest I was trying to watch. I didn't get a really good look at the clothes because it was so crowded that I could barely see the stage. But judging from the pictures, the clothes don't look like chocolate. . . . so I don't know. But anyway, it was still a great experience and I highly recommend it to everyone who happens to be around the city the chocolate show is going to be at. Their next stop I believe is New York!
Then on Wednesday the French holiday, we took a 1.5hour train ride to the town (or is it a city?) of Reims, Champagne. We visited the absolutely amazing Cathedrale Notre Dame de Reims- this picture does not do it justice. At the height of gothic architecture, it is fabulously intricate and elongated. I just studied this cathedral last year in class, so it was even more cool seeing it in real life.
And of course, one cannot go to the Champagne region and not drink champagne right? We visited the Piper Heidsieck Champagne House (it was the closes on the map!) and went on their tour + wine tasting package for only 8euros. The tour was interesting. . it involved us sitting in an automatic car touring the underground cellar where they explained the process of champagne making with demonstrated by cement grapes, hands and people on the way, which was kind of freaky. That place would make the perfect setting of a horror movie. Afterwards we sat in the bar area and had our champagne though, which was nice. So yes, this is a must go if you're ever have the time.
To end with a piece of random knowledge, did you know that champagne cannot be called champagne unless it is made in the Champagne region of France? Any other champagne made in the world can only be called sparkling wine!