“Pic of the Week”, November 6, 2015: La Chocolatta, Puenta Arenas, Chile

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Situated on Chile’s southern coast, just north of Tierra del Fuego, the small city of Puenta Arenas is well off the main tourist paths in South America.  The city is the capital of Chilean Patagonia as it is a gateway to Torres del Paine, and is a port for tourist ships that cruise the Patagonian fjords, the Beagle Channel (and some ships even go on to Antarctica).  Puenta Arenas is a frontier town and a tax haven (to encourage migration and its growth), so it offers lots of shopping.  Many Chileans travel here for the low prices.

We weren’t much interested in shopping for toasters or jackets, and had just a few hours to explore Puenta Arenas before taking a memorable …

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.All Trips / Belgium / Europe

The ART of Chocolate. Brussels, Belgium

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When it comes to crafting great food, Belgians do a number of things exceptionally well.  They make excellent french fries (frites) with an interesting assortment of dipping sauces.  They brew some great beer — many say the world’s best.  But no where is their culinary talent on better display than in their passion for chocolate.  Belgian chocolate is considered to be the gold standard by which other chocolate is measured, even that of the Swiss.

Belgium has over two thousand commercial chocolatiers, a remarkably large cottage industry.  Chocolate is mostly produced in small batches and by hand, this process lending itself to many small, independent chocolate outlets.  More than 170,000 tonnes of chocolate are produced each year, a lot of it consumed domestically …

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