February 27 – 29, 2015
I love chocolate. Seriously. Chocolate and I have a very intimate and loving relationship. We are on extremely good terms, evidenced by the fact that chocolate has a wonderful tendency to rapidly disappear every time it is in my vicinity.
So what was my reaction when I found out that there was a chocolate market in our very own Piazza della Vittoria, in the centre of our study town, Pavia? Well, I freaked out. Naturally.
Put yourself in my shoes – on the other side of the world from home, battling a cold winter and a month of illness. How is this not a splurging-on-chocolate-inducing situation?! How could I not succumb to such glorious temptation??
So of course I attended the chocolate market. Several times in fact. And oh my, was I rewarded for my devotion to the decadent cocoa gods. Such heavenly Italian chocolate gold was enough to make my eyes well with tears of delight, and my mouth salivate with guilty pleasure. Even the smell as I walked through the piazza – oh my God! So rich! So wonderful!
I escorted three bars of chocolate home for my parents, as any doting daughter would. And for myself … a chocolate crepe (yes, as in, melted chocolate in the actual batter itself), with melted milk chocolate filling, melted chocolate drizzled on top of the crepe, and then a sprinkling of crushed macadamias to garnish the blissful dessert. Needless to say, I didn’t mind combating the messiness of eating a chocolate-dripping crepe with my fingers while walking through the piazza.
A day later and I was late to class because I was in the piazza once again, this time gleefully enjoying my fresh hot chocolate. Which in Italy, by the way, is actually equivalent to melted chocolate – not this poor powdery substitute that you add to milk/hot water. Actual pure chocolate, thick and smooth. Case in point: they give you a spoon to eat/drink/slurp it with.
Add to my handbag three large squares of soft artisan chocolate which surprisingly managed to last for a few weeks, and my chocolate market experience was nearly complete. That is, it was complete after another lovely evening-turned-night walk among the bancarelle, the stalls, with the Duomo of Pavia towering over the piazza and the lights casting a romantic glow on the worn cobblestones. Elderly couples ambled past slowly, sipping their hot chocolates. Parents with prams bent to feed strawberries and chocolate and cream to their toddlers. Teenagers sauntered through the crowd, bags of truffles and weighted chunks of chocolate in hand. Children dodged the taller adults while protectively clutching their cake pops and chocolate-crafted figures. All under the light of the bancarelle lamps.
And thus, as the approaching night chill began to freeze my toes, I contentedly walked back through the streets of Pavia, satisfied and fulfilled, the bustling noise of revellers following me down the main road and hazy dreams of chocolatey goodness warming me with future prospects of indulgence.