Happy International Chocolate Day!!!

Greetings from Albania, chocolate lovers everywhere!!!

It is such a glorious time to be in the Balkans right now, because there are so many beautiful ways to make fantastically delicious beverages here with the incredible tools at our fingertips!!!

One of the things that I’m learning to love about living here in Tirana is that the food culture has been influenced by so many of the surrounding nations over the years. It was immediately evident to me on a walk through a local kitchenwares market the other day.

Now, I’m the type of person who loves to shop for dishes, utensils, and other cooking implements and appliances the same way other women like to shop for clothes, shoes, and handbags. I’m not necessarily looking for designer this or name-brand that. But the shapes and sizes are something I find absolutely fascinating! To me, the variety of colors and textures and uses are as beautiful as a symphony of orchestral instruments. And I recently found a gorgeous new piece to help me create a special Chocolate Concerto on this International Chocolate Day!!!

 

Turkish Hot Chocolate
Brewing hot chocolate in a Turkish coffee pot in Albania

 

The copper that you see on this beautifully-decorative Turkish coffee pot is a traditional material for its construction. The wide-bottomed shape is apparently what helps it to develop this rich, dark foam on top of the beverage as it heats over the flames.

Turkish Hot Chocolate
Three variations on the Turkish hot chocolate theme, with a lot of milk, a little milk, and no milk added.

 

This sweet and silky sip was a huge favorite in our household! I can already envision some of the variations we’ll PLAY with in the coming weeks and months, using different seasonal flavorings and international teas and spices from our special stash, too!!!

Oh, and it wouldn’t be a chocolate celebration without that childhood classic my husband and I grew up with in the U.S.: chocolate chip cookies!!! Our Chef de Partie made the request earlier in the afternoon, but I spent so much time PLAYING with the new Turkish coffee pot, they almost didn’t happen.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies
This childhood classic contains dark chocolate chunks and a secret ingredient–absolutely to-die-for delicious!

 

The hot cookies barely had enough time to come out of the oven to cool before Our Little Sous was headed off to bed for the night. Fortunately, he had time for a quick sweet treat before brushing his teeth. Plus, there’s still dough in the fridge for baking off another batch tomorrow, too! And, yes, we’re all looking forward to making lots more of these to share!!!

Our Little Sous' Milk Mustache
Our Little Sous sports a milk mustache while gobbling down a chocolate chunk cookie.

 

What’s your favorite variation on the classic chocolate chip cookie? Come join us in our online group as we discuss all the many ways to enhance this sensational sweet treat. I’ll share my special super secret ingredient over there shortly, too! See you on the inside!!!

Happy International Chocolate Day, everyone!!!

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