It’s all here

I had the most delicious hot chocolate in town yesterday. I won’t need any more chocolate for at least a year, I thought afterwards. (A short-lived resolution.) It occurred to me today that it was better than Angelina’s in Paris which is famous for its hot chocolate.

Yes, that is chocolate around the rim of the glass. And a square of chocolate beside the spoon. It’s a good idea to check your face for smudges of chocolate before you leave the cafe!

Because we live in a country which is so far from the rest of the world, New Zealanders love to travel. It’s part of growing up to ‘do your OE’ (Overseas Experience) which I did in 1981 for most of the year: South America, Europe, Canada. Subsequently I travelled to various Pacific islands, and to Australia, Japan, the US and China. I have been back to the UK and Europe a few times. I finished my last “must sees” in 2018, travelling to Scandinavia and Portugal. Thank goodness I did, since it hasn’t been possible to travel much at all since 2020. It is my intention to see more of New Zealand rather than travel overseas again.

I enjoyed learning about different cultures, art and architecture, and seeing different ways of living as we did first-hand when we were backpacking and naively taking all sorts of risks in 1981 when we were in our twenties. It was exciting, while middle-aged travel is more sedate somehow. I never travelled for the shopping as people used to when they hankered after things we didn’t have here. Now you can get whatever you might want anywhere in the world.

In Bon Marche, Paris, I liked this sculpture of ragged people juxtaposed with a Prada display and gesturing wildly as if to say, ‘Get me out of here!’

After that hot chocolate, I realised we are producing our own unbeatable delights. It helped that I was sitting under a delightful chandelier and I could see into the kitchen where the chocolatiers were at their craft.

The copper filaments inside the bulbs are different shapes.

There were overwhelming varieties of hot chocolate to choose from. At Angelina’s there was just one. It may have been Audrey Hepburn’s favourite cafe, but she hadn’t tried this! The place is She Universe. It’s at the Riverside Market, a hugely popular venue which reminds me of indoor markets I have visited in Ireland, Finland, Portugal and elsewhere – but with distinctive, hand-made New Zealand-designed products, and a multi-cultural and fresh vibrancy.

I also visited the Copenhagen Bakery this week for the first time. It’s a little piece of Denmark right here. What an excellent place to meet friends for a treat and great coffee.

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