Just as well I don’t have any hangups about admitting my age – 46, as it happens – since today’s post makes it pretty easy to work out!
Back in the late 1980s, after finishing my ‘A’ Levels and before going to university, I went off to France to work as a ‘jeune fille au pair‘. There were many ups and many downs to that experience, but one of the big upsides was meeting up with my best mate Nova in Paris every weekend. I au paired for a family located in a village the size of a small field, out to the West of Paris; she au paired for a family in in the far north Parisian suburbs. We met in the middle on our days off.
We were on a tight budget – the job was ‘paid’ by having our lodgings and board covered, and we earned only pocket money, about £35 a week! But we pootled around the (free) Paris sights, spending much of our time at at the Marche St Ouen, Paris’ enormous flea market. We dined on bargain basement ‘prix fixe’ menus and warmed up (it was winter) with hot chocolate in McDonalds, of all places.
And we discovered proper chocolates!
Back in an era when the main British chocolate options were Dairy Milk Tray, Rowntrees Black Magic and Terry’s Neapolitans, and a box of Thorntons’ was as posh as it got, we were utterly enchanted by the products of two Belgian chocolate makers that were both very popular in France. One of those two brands was Godiva, the other one Leonidas, both of which are well-established across the UK today. Neither of us had heard of them back then – though I think they did have a presence in Britain already – and to us they were incredibly sophisticated and delicious.
The way that these two brands are wrapped up in the memories of my first long term period of living away from home, and the memory of how happy they made us, means that they still hold a special place in my affections today.
Earlier this month, I had great fun stepping aboard the Godiva party bus for a quick afternoon tea before we disembarked at Godiva’s Regent Street store to taste their latest collection, Wonderful City Dreams.
Inspired by five of the world’s most iconic cities, and created by a team of Godiva chocolatier chefs, the Wonderful City Dreams collection celebrates London, New York, Shanghai, Tokyo and Brussels.
- New York’s wedge-shaped blonde chocolate shell contains a cheesecake-flavoured mousse and biscuit crumble.
- London’s white chocolate shell, decorated with a London bus, contains strawberry ganache and chocolate mousse with a hint of violet.
- Tokyo combines a milk chocolate ganache flavoured with yuzu enrobed in a milk chocolate shell, decorated with a blue building and tree branches.
- Shanghai’s dark chocolate shell is filled with lychee and white chocolate ganache with roasted hazelnut nibs.
- Brussels showcases Godiva’s classic hazelnut praliné ganache, inside a dark chocolate shell.
My favourite is Shanghai, closely followed by London. I like Tokyo but wish the yuzu were more intense; it’s a little too understated. Brussels is a trip down memory lane, and takes me back to those teenage days in Paris. New York is too sweet for me but my husband loves it so I can look super-generous while quietly picking out my favourites!
Kavey Eats was a guest of Godiva for the launch of their Wonderful City Dreams collection. I was not obliged to write a review, and all opinions are, as always, my own.