2. visit a chocolate factory and buy one of the nicest sounding chocolates, and one of the worst
A food challenge, thank you baby cheeses. There are two artisan chocolate factories within half an hour drive of my place and I've never been to either. I'm ashamed and I'm sorry.
I chose the one north, because five minutes that way and you're into farmland and rivers and ocean views.
Like that. So, yeah.
Though let's not talk about the terrible drivers I encountered on the way, because some things are best not re-lived. Suffice to say, not everyone reads speed limit signs apparently, and/or don't feel the need to adjust their speeds to the open road.
Chocolate Brown, she's a beautiful wee place. Nowhere near as quiet and idyllic as it looks, it sits in the middle of a busy road with a bustling supermarket and building sites in a town that has apparently decided it doesn't believe in pedestrian crossings. And today, of course, they had a broken eftpos machine. Twenty minutes standing in line to order a scone and a cup of tea and another twenty minutes waiting for it, with nowhere to sit but the busy middle of the busy cafe where everyone had to push right by me to get past.
And yet. Nicest date scone I ever had, and the tea was hot and strong, and who said adventures, even comfortable short adventures up the road to the chocolate factory, were meant to run smooth? No-one. Well, I would say that if I could make it come true, but I can't, AND WHY AM I NOT OMNIPOTENT ANYWAY? I'd much prefer it.
Random hebe. I was trying to calm myself down from the effects of living in a world with other humans in it, and it was a truly beautiful colour. Pity the empty drink bottles strewn randomly underneath the hedge.
Finally chocolates. They were only taking cash in that half of the shop, broken eftpos etc., so I had to leave and go find some. Picking a worse sounding chocolate was harder than I thought it would be, but the manuka honey was a favourite for that category. Manuka honey is really strong and just doesn't go with chocolate. Yuck, ew, gross. But they gave that one to me in a taste tester thing at the check-out, so I didn't want to buy it as well. Chose a whisky fig chocolate because puke whisky! Puke dried fig!
Really wasn't so bad at all. I kind of liked it.
The orange liqueur was my pick for the nicer sounding one - yum for sure, if not spectacular. Because I can, I also chose a pina colada chocolate, the one in the white cone, super gross. Hated it. And a chilli chocolate, the red marbled dome. Woah! They are not messing around with that chilli! Really nice, probably my favourite, but still. Woah!
May or may not have bought a salted caramel bar for next Sunday, if I meet my thesis word count for the week. May or may not have bought my friends some rasberry nougat, and the kids some hard boiled sweets, and Warren a big fat slice of mango peach fudge. May or may not be nominated this year for Best Person in Existence Ever award.
And the point of this whole exercise? Mushroom and bacon on toast, of course.
I wasn't too bothered by the chocolate, didn't care either way if I had some, didn't have some. Surely didn't want to spend a couple of hours in my morning in pursuit of any - three weeks now until my first thesis draft is due, and I've been working all weekend to meet last week's target. And that's how it goes, doesn't it, the days are filled with things we need to do, places we need to be, people we have to meet with. As is the next day, and the next. And we do have to do all of those things, no question. They're important, a lot more important than some half-assed chocolate challenge.
And yet ... the ruts we find ourselves in. If the chocolate wasn't worth the effort, if the drive was most surely not worth the effort, the change of scene, the doing something different, the trying something new, that was. Now I have a new story and a new memory and a little kick in the cognitive backside out of the incessant routine of work and chores and study and more chores. And that little cognitive kick, it sticks around for a while, you know? Back at home, realising I had sent my can opener with my son to University this morning, don't even ask, and so couldn't have canned spaghetti on toast for my lunch, after all, I just pulled out the last few scraps of bacon and a big fat mushroom and fried them up with some herbs and butter and cream. The world wasn't set on fire, but those little pathways of creative neural networks that are somewhat atrophying as I age, they were given a little boost. I almost never cook for myself. I can never be bothered. And today, I didn't even think about it first, my brain just kind of solved the problem for me and got everything together while I stared at the walls. Thanks brain, it was delicious.
Enough of these moments, and who knows what creative path they'll lead down one day? Maybe even the one that leads to mushroom and bacon on homemade toast! Homemade ciabatta toast! But, hey. Let's not get too carried away. Let's just take this whole project one whisky fig piece of chocolate at a time.