Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chocolate in Brazil

Blue, white and yellow always capture my eye.

I found this dome at a garage sale in Colorado

It was one of three that were part of a table base.

Go figure.

I found these wonderful French looking napkins
at a store in Durango, CO. Dietz Market
The napkins remind me of Piere Deux fabric.

These little dishes for baking apples were my moms.

You just cut off the ends of the apples fill them with

brown sugar, or syrup, cinnamon and a little butter

and stick them in the oven to bake. Delicious.

I love these dishes that my daughters found for me
at Target in St. George, UT. They gave me a set of four and I loved
them so much I had my daughter-in-law look in California
to see if she could find more......long story short, between
my daughters and daughter-in-law I now have 24!

My daughter, The Style Sisters, gave me these plates "Cafe du Soleil"

and I adore them. They are so summery and I am so ready

for summer. It is freezing here in Utah.

Where has all the Sunshine gone?

I thought this would be a great setting for a little brunch of
baked apples, Swedish pancakes and eggs.
Each place setting has their own pitcher of syrup
and I think the other pitchers would be great for
powdered sugar, and other flavors of syrup.

One of our granddaughters gave us these cute
rooster salt and pepper shakers.

I found these glasses at a thrift shop for .50 ea.

And under the dome sits my wee little pot of tiny

lemons on top of a gorgeous blue bowl my daughter gave me.

Lemon juice is also great on those Swedish pancakes.

NOW .....On to Brazil

One morning, or should I say early afternoon, after my husband left to work with the Brazilians I decided that I would like very much to have breakfast brought to my room. I called down to the front desk and ordered what I thought was croissants, fruit and one of their silver pots of hot chocolate. To my dismay that is not what I got. Since it has been eons ago I can't really remember exactly what I received but it was not what I had envisioned. I called them again and carefully told them my desire. Again, it was not what I had ordered. By the third time I was not sure that they would even consider sending me anything let alone what my taste buds were relishing. So, I just got myself together and went down to dine alone with all the scrumptious goodies. It was lovely but I truly had wanted to lounge in my own room reveling in my delicious breakfast.

We did meet some lovely people, several who showed us where to buy semi-precious stones, a number of great places to dine and some of the local shops that were similar to our outdoor art shows. One evening while dining I thought I would like to try their national dish, Feijoada. One gentleman came to my rescue by informing me that the dish would make me quite ill. When I questioned him about it he said they put everything into this recipe, the pigs snout, his feet (that part didn't bother me because as a child I loved pickled pigs feet...now I would tell you yuck!) hair, entrails, the entire creature. It's good to be watched over. He did tell me however, that he would make it for me and it would be made with only the finest of meat and whatever else goes into it. Never did get to try his dish.

We were there in their spring time and when the trees blossomed it was magnificent! One thing that really impressed me was the upkeep of their cars. Even if their cars were old they were clean and well cared for. Amazing feat because they did not stop at intersections they just honked and went on through. They had lovely shops in large malls and their prices were very reasonable, I might even say cheap. The area that we were to live in was gated and their were armed men, armed? they carried bazookas. They provided a wee bit of concern on my part.
We would have had the luxury of a maid and chauffeur, but BAZOOKAS? NO! NO!

When we finally determined that Brazil was not the place for us, for a myriad of reasons, we returned to the states, kissed the ground and I began my quest for a new and exciting business.

I was inspired to investigate the chocolate industry. I spent one entire year researching the hotel chains and their needs. If you ever endeavor to start a business I would highly recommend this approach. You really need to know what your customer bank needs or wants. Some of us, just go out into the world of alligators thinking we know what everyone is seeking and assume they all need what we have to offer. Get it straight from the horses mouth, best to know first hand what is needed.

Those that I called on were delighted to tell me their concerns, wants and needs. Now saying that, you need to know that some of them took off on other roads that had nothing to do with what I was selling. I do believe that at one point I was more of a councilor than a saleswoman.

But all in all it gave me a wider spectrum of products and services that I should consider. I had a business consultant that told me once, "Joan you need to take someone that is highly successful in their business, buy them a very expensive dinner and pick their brain." I didn't have to do that though because he was a "quasi" friend and he was free and did not expect me to wine and dine him and besides his wife was my dearest friend in the world. That was a stroke of luck.

After one year of researching I was ready to hit the street selling. But what would I sell?
I went to the offices of the European Consulates in Los Angeles hoping to find a great company that wanted to export their chocolates. I found an exceptional one in Belgium.
The French Consulate also gave me several companies in France to contact.
All of a sudden I had samples arriving daily. They were all very generous and I ate

every little or large sample they sent. I think perhaps that could be why I gained 45 pounds.
Fortunately I have lost most of my chocolate fat.

It is now time to place this chapter on my blog.

P.S. Don't forget to enter our give-away.
You have two more days to enter.

I am participating in Tablescape Thursday

Chocolate, the continuing saga and yummy giveaway

Wouldn't you just LOVE one pound of these gorgeous delectible things?

Well this is our giveaway....One pound of Continental Chocolatier's Desert Tortoises.
1 Entry- Leave a comment
2 Entries -blog about it and use my pictures
3 Entries- Facebook or twitter about this
Winner will be announced May 1st!

They come packaged in this box and wouldn't they make

a great gift? Gift my foot, I think every blogger deserves

at least one chocolate tortoise a day, don't you? I have to

have my daily dose.

All this past talk about lovely breakfasts in Brazil has me wanting
omelets. I adore setting things up where everyone can
choose what they want in their omelet.

My kitchen is full of silly chef items, most given to me from
my dear and wonderful family and friends. Do you see my beautiful

eggs in their chicken basket? They come from my very own dear little
chickens, but my favorite are the pastel colored ones from
the Aracana chickens.

I'm hoping my tomatoes, peppers an onions will look this
good. They are from Costco and they are as good as they look.

I love my Bon Appetit sign and I utilize in lots
of different ways. It added a little "French" feel
to this buffet.

I used 3 tea towels that have wonderful

colors for a table cover. I just wanted something

simple with bright colors and casual

Love this fat little chef, he just tickles me every time I look at him
The cheeses are a Wensleydale with apricots
and Goat cheese with fig. Yumalicious!

And now .....the continuing saga

This marriage was my second and I came into it with great hopes for a happy life for me and for my 12 year old daughter. My other two children , a daughter 24 and a son 22 had married at the same time I did, all within 3 months of each other. Three marriages in a row! Was I insane or what? Yes I was and maybe still am, but just a little.

So just 6 months or so after I married, off we went to Brazil.

We were forwarned by our Brazilian tutor before we arrived in Brazil that the only difficult thing he thought we would encounter would be the smell. They burn fuel for their cars and homes that is produced from corn or something like that. Our tutor was so right, it was breath taking for it took my breath away and not in a good way, but the time spent there was exciting.

Their Chocolate is so very different from ours but I loved it! Each morning I would rush to the hotels lovely breakfast buffet that was at least 75 feet long and loaded with delectible pastries, eggs, meat and fresh fruit and always a beautiful silver pot of hot chocolate. Oh Heaven!!

My husband was there to nationalize their computer security systems. He was to meet with these people each morning (we thought morning) but it always seemed to be early afternoon before they arrived to pick him up. (You see when you have a two or three hour siesta in the middle of the day then you must work till all hours of the night to accomplish anything and so therefore morning does not come early for them.) Sometimes I was included. Note: Neither of us spoke Portugese and they spoke very little English. Interesting meetings. They were trying to develop a catalog and my husband thought that I could help them with the wording.

Not so. We had several confrontations or should I say differences of oppinion. The gentleman I worked with was certain that his description of the security system made sense but he was way wrong. He used terms and descriptions of products that did not compute. I would ask " Is this what you want to tell them?" and he would agree, "yes, that is what I want it to say" soooooo .......I would write it the way we Americans can understand it. NO that was not what he wanted and that's how the days went. Of course many times throughout the day they would bring demitasse cups of the strongest coffee brew ever imagined, that would get them going, WOW, did it ever. That brew really put them on a nervous, tense plateau. Maybe if we would have joined in and had a few cups we could have better delt with their explosive personalities. After several of these meeting I elected to remain in the hotel, much safer there I might add, no confrontations.

During my alone time I had much opportunity to contemplate what else I wanted to do with my life. I had had several businesses throughout the years, I was a manicurist, had a plant business, jewelry business, an antique store in Laguna Beach, CA to name a few and even though I loved being a wife and a mother more than anything, I so desired to have a really successful business.

Oh, oh it's time to cook again and erase the chocolate from around my mouth before my true love arrives. We will meet again in Brazil so please stay tuned.

Don't forget to enter our CHOCOLATE giveaway !

P.S. Did you know that chocolate makes your breath sweet? Really, it does.
I am participating in Tablescape Thursday

Tea Party Table Scape

I will have to seriously consider the time it takes
to post table scapes in the future. I love doing them
but I am not too sure that is where I need to spend
my time. However, I will continue to offer giveaways
in the coming days so stay tuned.

It's time for a teeny tiny tea party with my grandchildren

This is one of my collection of tiny

tea sets that I have had for many years

I don't know if you can tell how small the
silverware is but it is only about 4 inches long.

My grandchildren love the colored sugar to put in
their "pretend" tea.

The paper napkins were a gift from a friend
cause she knows how I love tea parties.

I have just finished watching the movie -"Julie and Julia" for the third time, and "Chocolat" for the 20th time. Both movies get me moving and striving to just DO IT!

First: Julia Child did not receive her claim to fame till she was nearly past her prime. What hope that gives me.

Second: She continued with strong determination, though it took 8 years, to accomplish
her dream; to publish her cook book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking".

Third: She capitalized on what she loved to do.......Cook!

In "Chocolat", our heroine overcomes difficult situations, nasty people who would throw her out of their town and through perseverance does finally realize her dream.

I, at the marvelous age of 70, will continue to develop my love for CHOCOLATE by developing my business "Continental Chocolatier" regardless of the many set backs I have experienced.

I hope that through this blog I might encourage those in the autumn of their years to work at those things that they really love, and develop the business they've dreamed about. What is there to lose? A few bucks, and maybe a few hair pulling days, but it will be worth it, guaranteed.

To begin my story.......

I married in Oct. of 1984 and a few months later was whisked off to Brazil where I thought I was going to live for several years, make gazillions of dollars and come home to just relax, cook, garden and live happily ever after. HA! So much for foolish dreams.

However, being in Brazil for a few short weeks I had the opportunity to try lots of wonderful types of food, most especially CHOCOLATE. And there my friends is where my story begins.

But today I must return to the requirements of the day....housework, taking care of my responsibilites in my church calling (which I might add are gigantic) and of course food for the king of the house, my true love.

Story to be continued.................