Griet sat us down with a generous plate of samples and very welcome glasses of cool water, and we were all set to try our first Cambodian chocolates. Griet actually imports chocolate from Belgium as none is made in Cambodia. She has a range of classic Belgian flavours and added some real Cambodian twists to some of them. The Kampot pepper was a favourites as was the Keffir Lime leaf. As you can see one of the chocolates looks very similar to mine!
Sunday 12 February 2012
Made in Cambodia
This has been the first part of the trip, and to be honest mainly holiday. Angkor Wat, Mekong Dolphins, river trips, cycling through tropical villages and past paddy fields. Far too short a trip and far too much to explore in this amazing country; all very bussly but relatively little hassle. And wonderful food. An absolute delight. Almost forgot the purpose of my visit; we did look out a little for cocoa – asked a few folk, and various people said that they thought there might be some cocoa grown somewhere in the country, but it wasn’t just here. We came across an interesting bag of coffee in one hotel, a mix of two types of coffee beans and cocoa beans, and the information on the packet vaguely suggested that the cocoa was grown in Cambodia but that was all. Tantalising – will have to come back one day and explore more.
We did though find a Belgian lady, Griet Lorré, who has a chocolate shop in Phnom Penh. In a row of exquisite boutique shops, there was ‘Chocolate, by THE SHOP’ (http://chocolate-cambodia.com/en/home); we arrived bus-weary and hot into this air-conditioned marble tiled chocolate Aladdin’s cave. All ready for Valentine’s Day with ‘all you need is Love’ in large chocolate letters hanging over the counter. Valentine’s Day is very big in Cambodia it seems and a chocolate selling extravaganza, a little like Christmas at home. Griet apologised for the general pinkness of the shop – a Valentine’s must it seems. She generously took some time out from her busy preparations to show me her super-cooled workshop; so cold at 19˚C that she and her assistants wear woolly hats! I am lucky if I can reach that temperature with the heating on in my workshop!