Members Area

Facebook Like Button

Recent Blog Entries

Announcements

NEWS:

My Birthday Cookbook by Lee Anne Swinger

Check out some of Lee Anne’s famous recipes. Some created, some borrowed, some handed down from friends and family. All good eating! Help celebrate Lee Anne’s birthday in 2015, our first without her. All proceeds will be donated to breast cancer research. Bon Appétit (best said with a glass of champagne in hand!)

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.


Recent Photos

Newest Members

Recent Videos

No recent videos

Travel Tales

Travel and Chocolate Series 

 

Like Travel Love Chocolate 

Created in a writing class in 2011 

I will wind my way around the streets of Paris to find the quaint little chocolate shop run by a sweet grandmotherly woman who shakes her head to indicate that she does not speak English. I point to the treat that looks good and she wraps it up and hands it to me with a nod and a glowing smile.

The little candy shop behind the promenade in Cannes has chocolates that smell like lavender and leave a lingering taste of ginger in my mouth.

In the castle district of Budapest there is a chocolate shop that has the smell of warm fudge drifting low in the air.  The shop is tucked into an alley away from milling tourists.

The square in Buenos Aires is alive with sexy tango dancers performing for tips.  Chocolate with chili powder is used to make the mole sauce that is poured over the handmade veggie tamales that the street vendor sells.

In an out of the way area of Shanghai is a market that sells everything imaginable; one room after another with winding hallways that lead somewhere you don’t want to go. Making sure to stay with the crowds I find a closet with an old man and woman kneading chocolate on a slab of marble laid across a pair of sawhorses. They work aromatic spices and fragrant herbs into balls of strong dark chocolate and roll out squares that smell delightful and outrageous. 

 By Sue Swinger-Ellbogen

03-10-2011 


Revised Poem:

I will wind my way around the streets of Paris to find the quaint little chocolate shop run by a sweet grandmotherly woman with wrinkles that gather around her eyes and nose when she smiles and shakes her head to indicate that she does not speak English. I point to the chocolate that looks good and she wraps it up and hands it to me. She nods her approval by bobbing her head making the white bun on the back of her neck bounce up and down and gives a glowing smile showing one missing molar on the right side of her mouth.

Walking away from the shop with my treat tucked into my bag I wait until I reach the Jardins du Luxembourg to enjoy the chocolate. The birds are chirping merrily and the flowers are bursting with blooms. I can hear the subway rumbling beneath the ground. I view a kaleidoscope of color with purple orchids, red poppies, yellow and white daisies, purple petunias, white pansies, red geraniums, and pink begonias all nestled among the myriad of statues and fountains. I am mesmerized by a sculptured face partially submerged in a pond.

As I ponder the fact that I am in Paris eating a chocolate truffle sitting in the Luxembourg Gardens just blocks away from the Sorbonne I am transported to another world and another time. The world where Paul Gauguin, Camille Pisarro, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne, Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Rousseau, Vincent Van Gogh, Georges-Pierre Seurat, Henri Marie de Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Matisse, and Marc Chagall all walked the streets at one time or another.  Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway, Marcel Proust, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, George Sand, Alexander Dumas, Oscar Wilde, Voltaire, Gertrude Stein all found inspiration in Paris while Josephine Baker and the artists at Moulin Rouge took the city by storm.

Paris is as magical as the chocolate that slowly melts on my tongue. A lingering flavor of earl-grey tea and ganache in my mouth suggests that there is more art in Paris than just the painters, sculptors, writers, and dancers. The Master Chocolatier is an artist to be revered above all.

Although Paris is renowned for their pastries, chocolate had its origins in South and Central America coming to Europe though Spain and Portugal who had dominant holdings in these countries.

As always Paris embraced the délicieux art form and it is forever and delightfully— Parisian. 

 

The little candy shop behind the promenade in Cannes has chocolates that smell like lavender and leave a lingering taste of ginger in my mouth.  Cannes is a city in the French Riviera that hosts the annual Cannes Film Festival.

As far as the eye can see is the beautiful Côte d'Azur with sailboats and yachts dotting the horizon. In the distance the famous Alps continue their vigil. As I walk enjoying the magnificent sights I keep an eye out for movie stars but spot none even though the film festival is days away. I feel excited knowing that I may be walking past someone famous in disguise.

It is a luxurious feeling to be in the south of France knowing I am experiencing something special. Nice, Saint-Tropez, Cannes, and Monaco are cities that are household names but places many have never traveled.

I find a small café and take a seat facing the sea. I order a café au lait and wait patiently while the barista prepares my drink. When it arrives I hold the bowl of coffee up to my nose and inhale deeply. The coffee smells as delicious as my chocolate treat. The fragrant chocolate melts on my tongue and I wash it down with the robust coffee.

The sun is shining and all my taste buds are exploding. I am happy and relaxed understanding that nothing is expected of me except to enjoy. 


In the castle district of Budapest there is a chocolate shop that has the smell of warm fudge drifting low in the air. The shop is tucked into an alley away from milling tourists who are there to see this historical city that has been a republic only since 1989, a relatively short period of time for a country that has been in existence since the first century. The lovely Danube flows serenely, silently and steadily carrying the atrocities of the past, the predictabilities of the present and the hope of the future with it. The tourists wander through the streets and alleys drinking in the atmosphere of the aging aristocrat welcoming the comforting scent of chocolate.


The square in Buenos Aires is alive with sexy tango dancers performing for tips. Chocolate with chili powder is used to make the mole sauce that is poured over the handmade veggie tamales that the street vendor sells. The tantalizing mole sauce makes the tamales as exotic as the dancers satisfying the sensitivities and the passion of the soul.


In an out of the way area of Shanghai is a market that sells everything imaginable; one room after another with winding hallways that lead somewhere you don’t want to go. Making sure to stay with the crowds, there is a closet with an old man and woman kneading chocolate on a slab of marble laid across a pair of sawhorses. They work aromatic spices and fragrant herbs into balls of strong dark chocolate and roll out squares that smell delightful and outrageous.

Gucci bags or the Rolex watches that may or may not be real hold little appeal. It’s about life and what drives individuals in various parts of the world. This ancient culture with its mystical aura and unreadable faces is a study in contrasts. The primary stimulus here is providing sustenance for your family; but closely behind that lays the determination to do more; to improve the life of your family.


By Sue Swinger-Ellbogen

June 25, 2013