In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures. ~ Gibran

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Field Trip Portland Chocolate Walking Tour, June 18, 2009

Chocolate Tour of the Pearl in Downtown Portland...Oh My!

What a wonderful day! A four hour walking tour of the Pearl and discovering nooks and crannies I had never noticed before! Savina of Portland Chocolate Walking and Tasting Tours took our group of merry makers and shared all her passion about chocolate and the wonderful things of Portland in this village.

We started at Sweet Masterpiece, where Crystal and Derek gave us the lessons on detecting the finer notes of Chocolate and then showered us with samples. This is a fun haunt to grab lunch as well. Some very unique dishes to explore: pulled pork sandwiches with chocolate mole sauce anyone?!

As we walked along a few more blocks, smells of cinnamon and dough wafted up to us as we came to a halt in front of Nuvrei Pastries. This hidden gem now has a retail bakery to explore. We went down into below sidewalk level patisserie to poke around. The owner Marius had bags of scones, cookies and croissants for us to take home! The smell alone was enough to keep us there all day!

Verdun was our next stop. This Lebanese chocolate shop truly was a gem. All the chocolates hand wrapped and glittered in the bowl as we struggled to pick out our samples. The Jordon Almond is a prized item for weddings. Savina shared a wonderful poem with us that explained why 5 almonds are always given in the favors at weddings. I will work on getting that from her. (Here it is...thank you Savina!) Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat
To remind us that life is both bitter and sweet.
Five wishes for the new husband and wife --
Health, wealth, happiness, children, and a long life!

Next we headed down the street where Savina unfolded some local history for us. One favorite stop was the pony rings where I tied up a pony at one of the many old horse rings that line the streets in the Pearl. This is called the Portland Pony Project.

The Portland Pony Project "It seems that we gallop through life in a haze
And don't notice the things we race by every day
Until a time comes when a change will occur
That will cause us to notice, stop and confer
We talk to our neighbors; ask "was that always there?"
"I never saw it before", the neighbors declare.
So it was with the horse rings 'til Scott came along
Thinking "I've an idea that could gather a throng!"
He found some toy horses and tied them up tight
Then sat back to watch and see if they might
Cause people to notice what was always around;
What they had been missing – now they had found.
Now many people will pause for awhile
And others will notice, and they also smile
To see these small horses tied up to the rings
Where once their much bigger brothers had been
And maybe they'll even see a lot more
Of what they've been missing; it's happened before!
His project is spreading and now there's a herd
Of horse-loving folks who've also been spurred
To add some small horses to places near you
Hoping they’ll catch you smiling too.
Watch over our ponies, maybe bring them a rider
And we can make Portland a little bit brighter."
Then Just when we thought we could not fit one more thing, we popped into Cup Cake Jones, a darling shop dedicated to the best in cupcakes! We enjoyed a sample of Downtown Chocolate while Peter explained how it all started. Make sure to check in for the daily special flavors. They publish a calendar for the month so you can make a plan to taste your favorite! Take Fido with you to try the custom baked doggy cupcakes!
On our final sprint to the finish line we dashed into Cacao and took a tour of the World's Chocolate and then made our way to Caffe Umbria where we sat and enjoyed coffees and a beautiful tour of Italian chocolate desserts! Come to Caffe Unmbria during the week and enjoy some Italian lessons!
Winding through the streets of the Pearl we discovered many wonderful places. Lawrence Gallery, 10,000 Villages, and Ghost signs to name just a few! Thank you Savina for being our guide in our own fabulous Portland and sharing your favorite chocolate table locations!

~ MJ
Copyright 2010 MJ's Table Talk

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