European Sipping Chocolate

While wandering the streets of Asheville we found a store I knew Rhonda would not be able to pass up. The Chocolate Fetish is, wait for it, a chocolate shop. We went in and quickly began to point out all the different pieces we wanted. The display cases were brightly lit and showcased an incredible array of delicious-looking goodies. Rhonda gravitated towards the darker chocolate pieces while I was drooling over the milk chocolate and caramel ones. We loaded a small box to its breaking point and were preparing to pay when we spied an intriguing site on the counter. A large glass urn was set up with an extremely thick, chocolaty liquid slowly being stirred inside. We inquired as to the urn’s contents and were answered with three simple words. Words I had never thought to combine before, but words that would end up having a lasting impact on my life. Now, you might be thinking that’s hyperbole. It is not.

There are moments in life when something clicks. You meet somebody and immediately know you have a friend for life. Or you go on a first date and know that you’ve met the one. Anthony Bourdain vividly described in Kitchen Confidential his first moment with a raw oyster. For him, it was the moment that clicked. It woke him up to sensations and tastes he had never experienced. He wrote “It tasted of seawater…of brine and flesh…and somehow…of the future. Everything was different now. Everything.” Food suddenly became something vastly more important than a requirement to keep him alive physically. It became vital for him to live spiritually.

Those three life-altering words were European Sipping Chocolate. I appreciated food prior to this experience and had some absolute favorites. Tom ka gai (Thai coconut chicken soup) and Rice Krispy treats, to name two. But European Sipping Chocolate (I will not show disrespect by abbreviating its rightful name) was in a league of its own. It is impossible to improve upon.

We sauntered over to the urn and ordered one cup of it. Had we only known what incredibleness resided in that urn, we would not have made the mistake of ordering just one. The friendly attendant poured a small coffee cup worth of the thick, chocolaty, liquid gold and handed it over. I received the precious cargo and took the first indulgent sip. My eyes grew large and my body stilled. “Oh. My. God. You’re going to want your own cup of this” I said to Rhonda. There was no way I was sharing the treasure I held in my hands. We ordered a second cup and both proceeded to be overwhelmed by the aroma and flavor. This is where my vocabulary fails me. I’ve pondered how to accurately describe it, and yet am no closer. Even a tangential reference to hot chocolate seriously understates European Sipping Chocolate. I can only refer you back to the Bourdain quote from earlier… “Everything was different now”

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