Tag Archives: Easter eggs

Le Petit Chocolat.

This was determination. With a chocolate moustache painted across his upper lip, Little Man was stretching his tongue as far as he could, savouring each and every last smudge. Unlike his meals at home, none of this was going to waste!

Indeed, even as a rambunctious two year old, he knew there was chocolate and there was CHOCOLATE!!! This delicacy was so incredibly rich and creamy and as much as he loved his Freddo Frogs, this was an altogether different experience.

The older lady in the black dress had given him a chocolate. And then, even another!

DSC_0147

Wow! Little Man gravitated towards the shelves. There were chocolate Easter rabbits everywhere! He’d never even seen so much chocolate before in his life but the rabbits themselves also looked exquisite. It was almost like his magical picture-book world had suddenly sprung to life and he’d become absorbed into a chocolate fairytale. His big brown eyes were bursting out of their sockets. The smell was so intoxicatingly good, that even his nose was twitching!

Ooh, yes! Our Little Man didn’t need to tell me that he’d stumbled into chocolate Heaven.

I knew.

It might have been 25 years ago but I still remembered the very first time I walked into Du Plessy Praline holding my mother’s hand and experienced those chocolate rabbits myself. As a child, any chocolate is appreciated but this was pure heaven. The shelves were lined with an eclectic collection of handmade chocolate rabbits…racing car rabbits, a rabbit on a tractor. Indeed, there were rabbits everywhere . Of course, the rabbits for sale weren’t wrapped in foil like their poor relations at the supermarket. Rather, they were elegantly wrapped in clear cellophane, which was like looking through a window into heaven itself. Although I was definitely not allowed to touch ANYTHING, I could already taste all that divine chocolate.

Naturally, as much as I love that shop, it was also a hard place for a kid to visit. All of that chocolate and you’re under Mum’s thumb. I vowed then and there that when I grew up. I was going to buy and eat every single chocolate rabbit in the shop…even if it made me sick! After all, when you’re a grown up, you can do whatever you like. Mum can’t say: “No!”

Fortunately, the Easter Bunny had excellent taste and a Du Plessy rabbit would always arrive every Easter Sunday. Most years, it still does!

Du Plessy’s was nestled underneath Peterson’s of Pymble where we used to buy my school uniforms. Stylish yet simple in black, “Madame” was Du Plessy Praline. Naturally, Madame was French and in Sydney back in the eighties, that was synonymous with sophistication. Madame did not disappoint. In addition to their Easter chocolates, Du Plessy specialised in very thin, flavoured chocolate slices. This being the era of Red Tulip’s After Dinner Mints, needless to say, there was no comparison…only superlatives!

Madame’s understated elegance went way beyond the chocolate. Even the packaging was impeccable…an art form in itself. The box was meticulously wrapped in quality white paper etched with Du Plessy’s signature logo and tied with a piece of gold string. Looking like a little treasure chest, you could take that little white box anywhere on the North Shore and it didn’t need an introduction. It spoke for itself.

Although I knew her face so well, we didn’t know Madame in quite the same way we knew the butcher or the fruit man. No doubt, Mum had been in a rush on these visits, preparing for yet another dinner party. She’d pick up half –a-round of French Brie from Cheese Please next door and dart into Du Plessy’s for those inimitable after dinner chocolates. When you’re a kid, adults always move so fast. Even after all these years, I can still feel Mum’s intense busyness trying to get everything ready on time and that exasperating sense of impending doom. After all, who isn’t trying to raise The Titanic from the murky depths of the Atlantic, every time they have guests?!!

Indeed, when it comes to our place, The Titanic sank many moons ago and is long past resurrection. It’s gone!

These days, I still return to Du Plessy’s and its offspring Otello with my own children and the magic continues. While my daughter and I were in Sydney yesterday, we popped in. I was hoping to show her their Easter display but unfortunately we were two weeks early. We live about an hour away so it was unfortunate timing.

DSC_0150

Savoring A Chocolate Mouthful!

Remembering the photos I’d taken in their Turramurra shop, I asked whether they would like me to email them through. These were taken exactly ten years ago, as I mentioned, just after Mister had had his first haircut at Mum’s hairdresser.

It’s funny because I was a bit shy about mentioning the photos. I’m not sure why but I blame the usual self-doubts. However, who wouldn’t want to see photos taken in their family business ten years ago, especially when they involve chocolate?!!

Of course, they were thrilled. I was introduced to Madame’s daughter-in-law. As it turned out, they have no photos of that shop. I was so excited that my photos would at least fill some of that gap. This was almost like the return of a ghost, except unfortunately there were no photos of Madame. I’d had just enough pluck to ask her if I could photograph the kids in the shop but didn’t take that extra step. That’s an extra step you have to take as a photographer because more often than not, that is THE shot.

I really wished I had. Somehow, just having that picture of Madame in my head is no longer enough. She was such a uniquely special part of my childhood…the lady with all those magical chocolate rabbits! Who wouldn’t love her?

DSC_0129

Mister getting his hair cut.

After some searching, I finally found the photos. They were taken exactly ten years ago in Easter 2006. Our daughter was only 10 weeks old and Mister had just turned two. We’d just taken Mister for his first hair cut and the chocolate shop was just around the corner. Mum, the kids and I made what you could only describe as a pilgrimage to this very special place from my childhood so I could pass that magic on. After all these chocolate rabbits had become such a part of our family’s Easter tradition.

DSC_0146

Little Man with his letter sister and Grandma.

I often find revisiting photos rather enlightening. So often, I miss things at the time and it’s only when I come back, that I finally see between the lines.

In this instance, I found were photos of a lively, curious 2 year old boy feasting on chocolates inside the shop!!

That’s right. Mister is actually eating chocolates inside the “look but don’t touch” chocolate shop.

What was the meaning of this?

Well, Madame had given him a couple of chocolates…petits cadeaux!

That was really special and really touched my heart and unfortunately, I didn’t appreciate the significance at the time. That gesture of love and Madame’s appreciation of our Little Man.

After all, as you might have experienced yourself, little men usually aren’t welcome in shops. Or, for that matter, in a great many locations. They’re boisterous, loud and seemingly have more tentacles than an octopus, sticking their little fingers into everything. Even when my son was being perfectly behaved, he’d somehow get in trouble. It seemed being a little kid, especially a boy, was enough!!

However, obviously my son had found his way into Madame’s chocolate heart, which was melting all over his mouth, little fingers and creating a scrumptious chocolate moustache.

Now, that my Little Man is almost 12 and recently started high school, I understand why Madame cherished my son so much. I have no doubt that he reminded her of her own precious son who had well and truly grown up by then. This is the very same son who is now running the business continuing their family tradition of hand-making, incredibly scrumptious French chocolates under our hot Australian sun. More than 50 years later, Du Plessy still lives on!

Of course, he is carrying on so much more than just a family business!

After all, you never quite know when a chocolate heart filled with love, might just make all the difference!

I should know. I’m eating one now…a gift for the random photographer!

This has been such a beautiful trip down memory lane but I need some more chocolate!

xx Rowena

DSC_0045

Too young for chocolate, our very own Miss Bunny Rabbit, aged 10 weeks.

 

Easter is Growing Up!

This year, there was no Easter Hat parade with all the school children singing: “Here Comes Peter Cottontail hopping down the bunny trail…” www.youtube.com/watch?v=0G6F0pyaT7c Both kids are in primary now and considered too mature for such childish things.

Yum! All that yummy Easter chocolate!

Yum! All that yummy Easter chocolate!

To add salt to the wound,  crime to end all crimes, the kids shot the Easter Bunny, Santa and the Tooth Fairy with one very effective bullet not so long ago. For years I’ve been telling them they had to “believe to receive” but seemingly weren’t listening. They weren’t happy when I didn’t leave any Easter eggs out.However, they hadn’t left any baskets out either.

A very Happy Chappy!

A very Happy Chappy!

Somehow, I don't think eating a Lindt carrot quite qualifies for the Paleo Diet!!

Somehow, I don’t think eating a Lindt carrot quite qualifies for the Paleo Diet!!

Further breaking with tradition, we’re on holidays and so we didn’t make it to Church and even though we did try to find a service, we still missed out.

It’s also hard to think about the symbolism rebirth of the resurrection which is more in tune with a Northern Spring than Autumn in Australia where the leaves are changing colour and starting to die  as we head towards Winter.

In other words, our Easter was all topsy turvey and upside down. No regrets because we had a fabulous day. It just wasn’t how we usually spend Easter.

Yet, as John Lennon said:

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.

However, while the kids were too grown up to believe in the Easter Bunny anymore, they were still keen for an Easter Egg Hunt and we invited the kids from next door over to join in the fun. We had a second hunt today and the rain hit just as the search began. Oh yes! Our scruffy Lady puppy dog snatched one of the eggs and tried making a speedy getaway as Geoff chased the dogs out of the hunting grounds. We don’t feed our dogs chocolate but we’ve only had Lady for about 6 months and she knows all about chocolate. She loves it and appears at the light whenever chocolate appears much to her disappointment. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate can kill dogs.

"Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day. I have a wonderful feeling, Everything's going my way"-"Oklahoma".

“Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day. I have a wonderful feeling, Everything’s going my way”-“Oklahoma” Frank Sinatra: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNm76stOJis

We were also thrilled that after two days of solid rain and predictions of more to come, that the clouds lifted and we woke up to bright, glorious sunshine and we were out the door to make the most of what had been “the view”. The dogs were particularly thrilled and as soon as the gate was open they sped down to the beach. However, it was high tide meaning they couldn’t get very far on foot and so we bungled them into the kayak with me and they certainly got more than they bargained. Bilbo’s lucky his claws didn’t get stuck in the plastic. He was very uncomfortable and not the courageous adventurer at all!! You’ll read more about that as the A-K Blogging Challenge continues under K: Kayaking with Dogs.

Kayaking with two dogs onboard certainly is an acquired skill, especially with Bilbo who hates getting his paws wet and prefers terra firma.

Kayaking with two dogs onboard certainly is an acquired skill, especially with Bilbo who hates getting his paws wet and prefers terra firma.

My parents came round for an Easter meal. While setting the table, I discovered the glass table top reflected the clouds and immediately grabbed the camera:

Sunseting over Pittwater with the cloudy sky reflected on the dining table.

Sunsetting over Pittwater with the cloudy sky reflected on the dining table.

Despite wanting to keep this post simple, I couldn’t resist looking up Easter traditions around the world:

Sydney, Australia: The Royal Easter Show: http://www.eastershow.com.au/

France: If you fancy some spring cleaning, head to Alsace in France: http://www.frenchmoments.eu/easter-in-alsace/

Italy: we have Pan di Ramarino: http://sociopalate.com/2015/04/02/golossary-pan-di-ramarino/ and Agnello Pasquale, A marzipan lamb, is a typical Sicilian Easter dessert.http://sociopalate.com/2015/03/30/golossary-agnello-pasquale/

Ireland: http://www.irishcentral.com/roots/how-the-traditional-irish-easter-was-celebrated-120536204-237383821.html#

Germany: A beautiful German Easter tradition is the Osterstrauch. This is a branch or small tree decorated with hollowed-out eggs: http://www.quick-german-recipes.com/easter-in-germany.html

Argentina: the world’s biggest hand-made chocolate Easter Egg:http://globalnews.ca/news/1922341/giant-easter-egg-cracked-open-in-argentina/

Latvia:When I was in infant’s school one of the Mums who came from Latvia taught us how to make coloured eggs boiling up brown onion skins to make the dye. As young child, I was amazed! Check this out: http://www.latvianstuff.com/Lieldienas.html

The Phillipines: https://mangosalute.com/magazine/what-do-filipinos-do-during-easter

Weird Easter Traditions Around the World: http://www.mirror.co.uk/usvsth3m/flying-bell-weird-easter-traditions-5451736

Preparations for the Easter Hunt.

Preparations for the Easter Hunt.

How did you spend your Easter? I hope you had a wonderful day!

Anyway, we would like to wish you all a Happy & Blessed Easter reflecting on Christ’s resurrection while also enjoying all the fun stuff as well…Easter eggs, Easter Egg hunts and making all sorts of Easter arts and crafts.

Love and Easter Blessings,

Rowena

PS Here are some interesting Easter curiosities from around the world:

Chocolicious Chocolate!

Throw out your copy of: How to Win Friends & Influence People. If you want to be popular, the answer is chocolate. Not just any ordinary, garden-variety chocolate but the good stuff. The stuff that is so good, that it’s literally evil.

After all, as my husband explained:

“Life is too short to waste it eating mediocre chocolate.”

While definitions of such superlative chocolicious indulgences can be quite subjective, I’m yet to find someone who doesn’t fall head-over-heels in love with Australia’s Tim Tam Biscuit. All rules of social restraint and decorum go out the window where Tim Tams are concerned. Even the most disciplined health nuts have confessed to inhaling an entire packet of Tim Tams and it’s pretty much a given that  once you open the packet, they’ll all be gone in the blink of an eye. Tim Tams are so good that there was even an advertising campaign showing why a Tim Tam is better than a man.

Simply Irresistible Tim Tams

Simply Irresistible Tim Tams

The Tim Tam is so popular that a sacred ritual has evolved: “The Tim Tam Explosion” or “The Tim Tam Slam” although when I was at university, it was known as “The Tim Tam Suck”. These all describe the same scrumptious and daring ritual where you bite off opposite corners of a Tim Tam and dunk one corner in a hot cup of tea or coffee and suck it like a straw. The drink fills the biscuit and it metamorphoses into a sloppy, delicious mass, which you can hopefully get into your mouth before it disintegrates and falls in your drink. Of course, the chocolate coating melts all over your fingers so this is definitely not the done thing around “polite society”. It’s probably, not recommended on a first date, either!!

However, when it comes to chocolate, there are those special occasions when Lindt is in order and Lindt Balls have a special place in our hearts. Geoff and I took them bushwalking for our first Valentine’s Day together. Being a scorchingly hot, Sydney Summer’s Day, the Lindt Balls were liquid and have been known ever since as “Lindt Smears”. Therefore, indulging in Lindt Smears is rather hazardous during a Summer and you’re lucky if you can get the wrapper off before it disintegrates and implodes. I must admit that I do enjoy a gooey Lindt Ball but there’s a fine line. You can get a lot of heartbreaking wastage as the chocolate merges with the wrapper.

Who can argue with Snoopy?

Who can argue with Snoopy?

Another favourite chocolate indulgence, is a Hot Chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows. I first discovered these when I was backpacking through Europe back in 1992 and ordered a Heiss Schockolade mit Sahne in Koln (Cologne). Wow!! Since then, I have found what I believe to be the world’s very best Hot Chocolate located at the Perisher resort where we go skiing. Their Toblerone Hot Chocolate comes with snowman with three marshmallows on a stick which you dunk into the hot, creamy hot chocolate. There’s also a stick of Toblerone and a cigar biscuit. Just amazing.

Sumptuous Chocolate Soup

Sumptuous Chocolate Soup

Recently, I found a scrumptious chocolate cake which was almost drowning in chocolate soup. That reminded me of the wonders of chocolate sauce. You can read about it here:

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/therapeutic-indulgence-a-rendez-vous-with-laksa-and-a-saucy-chocolate-cake/

Being a keen baker, I have also made quite a few chocolate treats and I encourage you to have a go. In our household, we had a tension between the kids who prefer milk chocolate and the adults who prefer dark and so now I tend to make half of each to keep everybody happy.

Here are some indulgent chocolate recipes for you to try:

Yummy Chocolate Cupcakes.

Yummy Chocolate Cupcakes.

Easy-Peasy Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache:

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/easy-peasy-chocolate-party-cupcakes/

White Chocolate Rocky Road:

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/white-chocolate-rocky-road/

Flourless Nutella Cake:

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/too-much-chocolate-temptation/

Two-Faced Chocolate Caramel Slice (milk and dark chocolate):

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/two-faced-chocolate-caramel-slice/

Chocolate Hazelnut Indulgence Cake:

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/chocolate-hazlenut-indulgence-cake-my-own-creation/

After writing about all that yummy, scrumptious chocolate, my mouth is watering and I’m seriously considering breaking into our stash of Easter eggs. Something tells me, resistance is futile and as any true chocoholic will confess, when you eat your eggs quickly you can always poach the slow poke’s bulging stash.

However, if you are more more virtuous than I and can get through the entire Easter season without even a nibble of chocolate, perhaps you like to read about it instead and should get hold of: Chocolat by Joanne Harris…or even the movie http://www.joanne-harris.co.uk/books/chocolat/.

A great Easter read and also a fabulous movie, which will leave you craving for artisan chocolate and a trip to France.

A great Easter read and also a fabulous movie, which will leave you craving for artisan chocolate and a trip to France.

Easter always seems to bring rain on Australia’s East Coast, at least, and so it’s a great time to curl up with a book, a movie and eat chocolate:

“The greatest tragedies were written by the Greeks and Shakespeare…neither knew chocolate.”
― Sandra Boynton

If you are participating in the A-Z Challenge, what was your C and feel free to provide a link and share your topic.

Love & chocolate moustaches,

Rowena