In my work as a travel writer, there are recurring themes.
One of them, I realised the other day, is chocolate.
I was writing a chocolate-related travel article for a major publication, in this case related to London. As I typed, a reference to cacao reminded me that I'd seen a cacao pod in person in Borneo, when I'd visited Malaysia in 2009:
This got me thinking about other times that chocolate had featured in my travels.
In 2010, when Narrelle Harris and I were travelling through Hungary, we dropped into the classic Budapest cafe Gerbeaud. My order was a csokoládé kávé, coffee blended with hot chocolate, amaretto and whipped cream. Alongside it was a perfectly formed slice of Sachertorte:
In May last year I was introduced to great Middle Eastern chocolate, not something I'd been expecting after the terrible chocolate we used to endure when living in Egypt in the 1990s. These locally handmade beauties were on sale at the shopfront of Salma's, a chocolatier in Muscat, Oman:
Closer to home, in 2007 I visited Adelaide and went on a tour of Haigh's chocolate factory. This South Australian brand has several outlets in Melbourne, and it's hard to resist its dark chocolate peppermint frogs. This was the factory shop:
In 2012 I travelled to Quebec City, Canada for the first time and was delighted to discover the Érico chocolate shop and museum, whose exhibits including chocolate clothing:
On the other side of Canada in 2013, Narrelle and I visited an excellent chocolate maker and cafe in Gastown, called East Van Roasters:
And while travelling on the South Island of New Zealand in 2011, I stopped with some colleagues for lunch at She Chocolat, a chocolate-making business with a restaurant overlooking beautiful Governors Bay:
So what's the chocolate-related story I'm writing at the moment? Can't tell you... yet. Follow me on social media (see the links in the right-hand column) to find out when it's published.
I will reveal it has a historic context... and this is how it ends up: