Sunday, February 27, 2011
I made another quick trip to Portland last weekend to visit my girlfriends and hang out. I probably didn’t really have time to do it, considering all the homework I have right now, but it was worth it! There was winter weather threatening, but I had no problems. Trips like this make me love my Suburban! Yes, it is huge and impractical for just me, but I love it anyway.
My trip was very mellow…just a chance for me to spend some quality alone time, one on one, with a couple of my best girlfriends.
One interesting and fun thing I did was take my friend Heidi on a Portland Walking Tour (http://www.portlandwalkingtours.com/). We opted for the Chocolate Decadence tour. It was really interesting and SUPER yummy!
We tasted all different kinds of chocolates, truffles, melted warm chocolate (like hot chocolate but soo much better!) and even some chocolate infused balsamic vinegar! (It was really tasty!)
We did learn quite a bit about chocolate, where it grows, how it grows, the fermenting process and that chocolate from different places has distinctly different tastes. Did you know that chocolate (cacao beans) only grow within 20 degrees of the equator? How about that the pod grows on the trunk of the tree?
Cacao pods are large, and multi-colored, almost looking like a gourd.
Heidi and I both enjoyed the chocolate from Ecuador, but had a strong dislike for the chocolate from the Dominican Republic. We enjoyed the Swiss Truffles but the Belgium Truffles were a little flat. We also both enjoyed Portland’s own Moonstruck chocolates.
Heidi has never enjoyed Godiva chocolates. After the tour she stopped at the Godiva chocolate store and found out that their chocolate comes from the Dominican Republic! Interesting!
There are several other tours available, including the Epicurean Excursion, which is another foodie based tour, where participants are able to taste a variety of items from local eateries.
The tour lasted about 2.5 hours; our tour guide was very good, friendly and knowledgeable. Of course, it is Portland, so it was grey, cold and rainy for most of the walk, especially the last half hour or so. I am really thankful we had an umbrella with us, because otherwise I would have stopped having a good time.
If you ever get the opportunity, I would recommend the Portland Walking Tour...any of them, as a great way to see the city and learn interesting facts. Many years ago Chris and I went with a group of friends on the Halloween Spooky Underground Tour, and even though we didn’t find it “spooky”, more silly, it was really interesting to walk around under the city buildings and sidewalks. Who knew that all of those labyrinths were under there? Portland Walking Tours are worth the time and money...so check them out!