Last Monday I took a quick trip to Calgary, flying out first thing in the morning and flying back in time for dinner. Not my favourite type of travel but, it meant flying over the Rocky Mountains at sunrise and sunset. And that made up for a 4:30AM start to my day.
I never get a window seat when I fly because most of my flights are of the 4hr+ variety and planes make me ridiculously claustrophobic. Some people freak out about sensible things like… turbulence or… I dunno… falling out of the sky.
I worry about how much longer I can go with the elbow of the person next to me touching me because they’re hogging the arm rest before I literally and irrationally scream and push them away (this is not a joke). This only happens when I’m sitting next to people I don’t know. But, I mean, seriously people… we’re inside a giant metal tube, smashed together like sardines. How is one realistically expected to breathe under those conditions with all these strange people next to them?
You may have guessed I also don’t do well in crowds or on public transit in rush hour…
That was just a random way to introduce the top photo, which was taken in Calgary. I took the original with my blackberry. And I liked it so much that I pulled out my “big girl” camera. I’ll let you all think about what’s happening in the scene.
Now let’s move on to wine and chocolate and other things that are good.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I have a chocolate bar collection. It’s a… hmmm… it’s not really a collection because I do eat them. And replenish. And repeat. I guess that makes it more of a rotating inventory. I always try to find something different. My best stop for interesting artisan bars in Vancouver is Urban Fare (if you know of another place in Vancouver with great variety… TELL ME!!)
Being a designer, I buy many of them as much for the package design as I do for the chocolate. Chocolate bars feel like the new wine bottles lately. Some of the graphics and packaging coming out on artisanal bars are stunning. Having said that, packaging only gets a bar purchased once! (I have bought a lot of really crappy chocolate bars that had gorgeous packaging.)
The Tea Room is a new company to me. They’re out of California and specialize in organic chocolate bars infused with tea – quite the trend lately. I found this Almond Caramel bar in Urban Fare while out for lunch at Tap and Barrel with the lovely Louisa from luli designs (post coming soon!). With a love for all things caramel and salt I knew I had to give it a try. Plus… look at the package! Unfortunately, I wish their website was as pretty as their package design. Eeks!
Packaging and websites aside, this is one of my new favourites. The bar is actually infused with the almond caramel and salt so it’s a solid bar of chocolate that tastes like caramel – with a hint of marzipan flavour (from the almonds no doubt!). At 60% dark it’s much more my speed than the 70 and 72% many of the latest dark bars I’ve sampled have had. It’s got a nice creamy texture but with a bit of the bite that a darker chocolate has. In fact, I liked it so much, I went back to a different Urban Fare yesterday to buy one for my mom, who is pretty much gentically responsible for my chocolate obsession. And while I was there, I bought a second Tea Room bar – the Raspberry Rooibos. I’m curious to give that one a try.
Food Photography Notes
The photo is a little different for me. I bought a few nice bottles of wine as Christmas gifts but I also bought the Gehringer Brothers Ehrenfelser for myself, along with a couple of pomegranates (it’s pomegranate season!! Yay!!) and the chocolate bar. I got suckered in by the wine notes in the liquor store while I was shopping! But I’m glad I did because, while it wasn’t what I was expecting, I really enjoyed my first sample of an Ehrenfelser. I thought that they’d make a nice tableau and now that the Mission Hill and Quail’s Gate have been delivered, I can put the photos up!
The chocolate was very beat up when I pulled it out of it’s wrapper and needed a lot of Photoshop touch up work. But other than that, I was pleased that the images themselves needed very little post-processing. I actually photographed these with the light source directly behind me, which is a different tack for me. It was all part of a little more effort to squeak a little extra light out of a very miserable, dark, rainy afternoon.
I’ve also started playing more with manual focus and a tripod with my macro lens and I’m actually pleased with the results I’ve been achieving. Much more so than with the auto focus on the macro lens. It takes a lot more time and patience but I think that’s also helping me slow down and “see” what I’m doing.
That’s it for now!
Disclaimer Notice: The wine and chocolate were purchased by me and the opinions stated are wholly my own.