Friday, July 30, 2010

Chocolate from Mimi - my first blog prize for timely following

I had a lovely surprise day before yesterday when I got home from work and an unfamiliar envelope graced the hall floor amid the brown envelopes (like those linked with cash bribes), window envelopes (bill statements detailing when and how much has been direct debited), charity clothing stickers, a Viking office supplies catalogue, and the Sky Digital magazine. I didn't recognise the writing either, so I thought - this might be my blog prize!

To elaborate - last week I read Mimi's post on her High Fives which Stephanie V had assigned her last January, after I had tagged Stephanie V. Mimi had offered to send some chocolate to her 50th follower and after such serendipity I thought why not? If I was quick enough I could get lucky and sure enough I was and did.

Here are a few photos of the lovely card Mimi made for me, and the delicious global medley of chocolate she sent - milk, dark, Papuann, Costa Rican, Malagasy and Peruvian - a veritable Around the World in Chocolate Memories! I remember seeing cacao pods and beans for the first time ever in Zanzibar on a spice tour there in 1990, on our first trip of many to that wonderful paradise island off the coast of Tanzania where we then lived. Some time earlier we had studied them in our Homeschool Geography class - and I was always fascinated by their place in Mayan history, where the name chocolate originated.

Commercially Zanzibar wouldn't rate highly, as West Africa countries like Ghana seem to have cornered the European market. That's all to the good, as it would be a shame to see those wonderful Spice Islands mono-cropped with cacao, instead of the mixed cropping that was there twenty years ago and which I hope still prevails. Everything grows in a cornucopia of aromas and heady fragrance; cloves, cardamoms, vanilla, cinnamon, and cacao are those I remember most vividly.

It's also quite political as Fair Trade Chocolate is essential to make its production sustainable for the farmers growing the crop at local level, and it's the only way to prevent their exploitation by multi-national corporations whose scruples are best kept in check with close scrutiny by their consumer base. Nothing like having an ethical issue with a product to give it the kiss of death, as so many sweatshop-produced goods manufacturers found to their cost. Having seen the benefits first hand of Fair Trade coffee production in Tanzania I'm all for it.

So thank you Mimi for sending me off on this tangent down memory lane - I don't often get philosophical over chocolate, but I loved this gift and hope it's the first of many if I get lucky and enter other competitions in the blogosphere. There's a photo of one of my double choc chip cookies, and the recipe's here if you feel inspired - or just get the munchies -by this post to get baking.

Who knows, maybe I'll do a prize giving myself one of these days - watch this space!


FoodFunFarmLife said...

Congratulations on your delicious prize ... mmmmmm !

diane b said...

Yum, I could eat one of those delicious looking muffins right now. Congrats on your prize. We got a parcel yesterday too.See my post.

Stephanie V said...

Yummy looking muffins! Too hot right now to put the oven on but definitely a recipe for a cloudy day.

Congratulations on the quick work and winning Mimi's lovely prize. It's nice to see friends meeting friends.

Catherine said...

Yes I was delighted to win the chocolate and thanks to Mimi.
Lynda - it was indeed yummy and each piece very different, from around the world.

Diane - the muffins are delicious - you should try them sometime, not too difficult.

Stephanie V - It's quite cool here now, about 16degrees C. So not very hot, but it's a better summer than last year so no complaintes. Thanks for tagging Mimi- by a circuitous route you led me to chocolate!

All the best, Catherine.