Chocolate Around the World!

Written by Debbie Koma with contributions
by: Laura, Pam and Mary!!

In honor of Chocoholics everywhere (and you know who you are), we have finally written up and submit to you a report on our not-so recent trip to WDW.

This, however, was no *ordinary* trip -- we were omen, friends who had traveled to Orlando from across the country, with a single Mission on our minds. And that Mission was to boldly seek and, subsequently, consume chocolate in any one of its myriad glorious forms in each of the pavilions that make up Epcot's World Showcase.

No small feat, don't you agree?

And we had no small feet among us. Well, mine aren't that *big*, but you know what I mean.

We had certain ground rules for this undertaking:

  1. The product had to be Chocolate. :-)

  2. The Chocolate had to be readily available in either the shops or counter service spots in the pavilions -- we didn't want to venture into any of the full service restaurants, which would have slowed us down. We had a lot of ground to cover, after all.

  3. We had to start the circuit around the World Showcase at 1 p.m. and finish no later than 6:30 p.m. (to make dinner PS at Ohana at 7:10 p.m.)

That's 5 1/2 hours to cover 12 different pavilions (including the Millennium Village), In Search Of... Chocolate. Could we do it?

We'd listened to stories about others who'd done a "Drinking around the World Tour" and about others who'd attempted a "Fried Doughs around the World Tour," but we'd never heard of anyone choosing our Chocolate Challenge.

We felt we were more than up to the task. Consider our qualifications:

dcdeb (aka Deb) -- your narrator, from the Northern Virginia/DC area, maker of an impressive Chocolate Cabbage Cake, who has been known to devour entire (multi-ounce) bags of M&Ms in one sitting.

tigger (aka Laura) -- my IRC Reminder sister and partnIRC in crime, from San Diego, who routinely makes some of the most delectable chocolate truffles and other candies to be found on the planet, then mails them to inflate the weight of her unsuspecting friends.

Pam (aka Pamella de Vil on IRC) -- even more hyper and anal-retentive than me, if you can imagine that, from Northern New Jersey, who repeatedly tempts her friends with emails about the newest Ben & Jerry's or Haagen Dazs chocolate ice cream flavors, and is able to eat 5 times her weight in chocolate, yet still never gain an ounce. We hate her. :-)

Mary (aka kt-scarlett on IRC) -- with a fondness for cyber- chocolate syrup in her virtual beer when chatting on IRC, and Dulce de Leche ice cream coated in Hershey's Magic Shell IRL, from the great state of Rhode Island, she claims to have liquid chocolate flowing through her veins.

Our Mission began on a cool day in February -- Sunday, February 6, 2000, to be exact. We gathered at the Fountainview in Epcot's Future World around 1 p.m. to prepare and fortify ourselves for the challenge before us.

Pam and tigger began by purchasing and co-consuming the infamous Chocolate Hazelnut Pyramid which rested in a lake of gooey caramel sauce.

kt-scarlett, not to be outdone, took a pyramid for herself as well. I, your noble narrator, documented these events for posterity with my trusty camcorder, only taking a sample bite of the pyramid, along with my coffee -- I knew I would have to pace myself if I were to succeed in this Mission of Excess. :-)

Thus sustained, we embarked upon our grueling quest -- our first stop: Canada. There was no question as to which Chocolate we'd choose to chew here. We ordered one of the pavilion's famous beaver tails, hot out of the oil, drizzled with a chocolate hazelnut creme, reminiscent of the Italian hazelnut/chocolate spread Nutella. What more need I say? The combination of the hot fried dough and the warm Chocolate sauce charmed each of us.

The beaver tail left us all a bit on the sticky side, so I offered everyone a Wet One... a moist towelette, that is. Sufficiently cleaned up, we moved on to the Millennium Village.

It's a good thing we chose to chomp chocolate during the Y2K celebration at Disney World -- it gave us this one extra stop on our Showcase Tour. Of the countries represented in the Mill Vill, we found chocolate only in Israel -- Israeli Chocolate coins? We chortled and walked on.

Instead, we stopped at the cart just outside the Mill Vill and opted for a dark Chocolate brownie studded with chunks o' Chocolate, which, after being split 4 ways, we decided wasn't nearly big enough :-)

From there, we charged into the UK. No one believed that the UK would have very good Chocolate, but I, being of hearty English stock, knew otherwise. I led the group directly to the Tea Caddy, which sells British sweets, tea and biscuits, and picked up a box of Quality Street assorted Chocolates. Everyone agreed that the candies with the caramel and hazelnuts were the best, even though my choice is the strawberry creme.

By the time we arrived in France, we were warmed up to the task at hand. Whereas our choices for Chocolate had been limited in the previous pavilions, France presented us with a multitude of Chocolate from which to choose. We walked the line in the Boulangerie Patisserie, debating the merits of the various Chocolate delicacies before us. Chocolate Mousse? Chocolate Croissant? Chocolate Napoleon? No, no and no. We finally settled on the Chocolate Eclair, whose creamy light Chocolate filling got nods of approval all around.

I believe it was at this point that I noticed my pants feeling a bit tighter than they had felt at the trip's outset :- But, dedicated Chocolate Commando that I am, I forged onward.

Uncertain of what we might find there, we entered the Moorish Cafe and Pastry Shop in Morocco and peered into the refrigerated counter. There it was! Some flaky pastry drizzled with toffee and almonds, and a Chocolate filling. A Chocolate Krokant. We found a table and rested our weary World-traveling feet while we sampled the Moroccan morsel. Mmmmm... it was good. :-)

Our first real Chocolate challenge was presented by the Japan pavilion. After a first pass through the Mitsukoshi department store we feared that we might come up empty-handed. But then we spied them -- Pocky Sticks! Thin, pencil-like cookies tipped with a Chocolate coating. Someone else found another possibility -- sesame cookies that came with a Chocolate dipping sauce. I vetoed those and we bought a box of the Pocky Sticks. My verdict? Pocky Sticks are P-yucky. Like Chocolate-dipped pencils. :- But Mary took the remaining sticks in the box home to her children, who subsequently deemed them A-OK. At least they fit our Chocolate bill.

We had thought that we'd have no trouble locating something Chocolate in America, but to our surprise, the best we could come up with was a good, old-fashioned Chocolate chip cookie from the Liberty Inn. It was loaded with chips, though, satisfying our Chocolate quota for that pavilion.

But still, those funnel cakes sure were smelling pretty good! Too bad they don't come with a Chocolate sauce, too. Or maybe Chocolate batter? Hmmmm...

By now, we'd eaten our way halfway around the World! And I was feeling it. *How* many more countries did we have to go to? As much of a chocoholic as I claim to be, I must admit that I was approaching Chocolate Overload. Time was growing short, however, and it was time to invade Italy.

We knew we'd have no trouble fulfilling our Chocolate quest in Italy -- as it had been in France, the question was just *which* Chocolates would we buy? Since they sell individually wrapped candies there, we each chose our own poison -- I sampled a few Perugina coins, Mary, Pam and Laura each chose the hazelnut Baci. Mmmmmm... *that's* amore!

We'd been fairly sure that we wouldn't have to search long in Germany for some quality Chocolate, and the country did not disappoint us. kt-scarlett and tigger quickly ran in to a shop and picked up a Chocolate-covered Bavarian pretzel sprinkled with Chocolate jimmies. One of these could have been a meal by itself! Yummy for the tummy! We really should have gotten a close-up of this creation!

As we approached China, we chatted about our strategy for attacking the pavilion. We were fairly certain (due to some reconnaisance that we'd conducted previously) that we weren't going to find any Chocolate in China. (And, I must admit, the idea of skipping a country at this point rather appealed to me.) Well, we divided and tried to conquer, but when we met up we were, as we'd feared, all empty-handed.

There Ain't No Chocolate in China -- sounds like a bad country/western song, doesn't it?

Ten down, only two more stops to go. I was skeptical that we'd find anything derived from the cacao bean in Norway, but I was soon proven wrong. Laura emerged from the Kringla bakery with a Millennium Mousse Cake -- we'd seen folks chowing these down at the Fountainview and they'd been calling to us even then. Creamy cake sprinkled with cocoa powder and decorated with the famous Mickey 20 logo, this was a welcome reprieve from some of the heavier and more intense chocolate treasures we'd sampled.

At last! Our final destination! Mexico! The land of Chocolate! Did you know that Chocolate is made from the fruit of the cacao tree native to Latin America? And that many people believe the Aztecs first discovered Chocolate, but as early as 500 AD the Mayans, in what is now *Mexico*, wrote about Chocolate on their pottery?

And did you know that the only Chocolate we could find in Mexico was Carnation Instant Hot Cocoa on the menu posted for the San Angel Inn?

We were devastated -- to have come so far, only to fail in the most obvious place, and our final stop to boot.

[There is a happy postscript to this story, however. On a subsequent trip to WDW, I returned to the Mexico pavilion, having been informed by several sources that there was indeed some Chocolate to be found there. After an intensive and thorough search, my husband located a small bag of Chocolate con leche, milk Chocolate bars called Carlos V, estilo suizo (Swiss-style), made by Nestle, but "hecho en Mexico!" It was hiding on a pole in the sweet shop stand in the Plaza de los Amigos and cost less than $2 for 4 pieces. I mailed a piece to each of the Chocolate commandoes and we each tasted it the other day at an appointed time. We deemed it so-so, but felt it at least closed this chapter of our story. :-) ]

In summary, with some determination, a hearty appetite, a measure of self-control and some Tums! you pretty much *can* "Chocolate around the World" as we did in one day.