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:
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
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 :-Þ 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. :-Þ 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
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 2º0º logo,
this was a welcome reprieve from some of the
heavier and more intense chocolate treasures
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.