On Tuesday, Valentine's Day, I wrote - rather pessimistically and darkly - about a holiday I don't celebrate. And now that this day of roses, (mostly) poorly created chocolates and expensive prix fixe dinners is over, the world, and in turn many couples have gone back to their standard lives. For me, today was the same as Tuesday, I blogged a little, checked emails and did the dishes. But today was different, when suddenly there was a knock on the door, someone with a box, who wasn't selling something, nor asking for drugs, nor asking me to "pull the toilet two times" for the plumbers on the lower level, or any of the other strange yet normal occurrences around here. On this occasion when I peeked through the peephole of our apartment and saw that black and white box, I knew it would be in my best interest to open up.
Thursday the 16th, but what could this be? Not my birthday, not Valentine's...
Pancracio is an Andalusian (Cádiz) based company with presence in the United States and beyond. Aside from quality chocolate, they also specialize in traditional Spanish sweets, like turrón as well as teas and chocolate flavored vodkas. Self proclaimed as "the best chocolate in the world", they are available in high-end retail outlets such as Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. Just last month they were nominated by the The Association of Andalusian Designers (Asociación Andaluza de Diseñadores AAD) for "brand with the best design integration," and well deserved, as you can see from the photos, the composition is stunning - clean, black and white, very art deco. Curiously, my boyfriend's father was invited to attend that same awards event, and walked away with the night's high honor of "Lifetime Achievement ." Congratulations to Antonio Herraiz! How fortunate am I that this design wizard made my supercool business cards?!
OK, back to the chocolate. Being that I just opened one item, I can't report too much on flavor profiles, but I can certainly attest that Pancracio makes a beautiful presentation. The dark chocolate bar CHUAO "Gran Cru 73%" Grand Reserve was creamy, smooth and delicious. Upon investigating further I read that it's composed of the criollo cocoa bean variety from Venezuela. I look forward to biting into my other delicacies in the coming weeks (days is more like it), and surely trying other products, like their poppy-seed chocolate bars, or their chocolate almond turrón with notes of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.
CRUJIENTE NEGRO - Gotas de chocolate negro 70% con trozos de barquillo.
CRUNCHY BLACK - 70% dark chocolate with bits of wafer.
The CHUAO "Gran Cru 73%." David Lebovitz, probably the most blogged about dessert connoisseur sheds some light onto the chocolate percentage misconception.
More goodies! LOS NEGROS - 3 dark chocolate mini-bars of coffee, ginger and cocoa nibs and CHOCONADE - an olive tapenade with chocolate. Very interesting! Which they recommend pairing with strong cheeses, fuet (Salgot in Catalonia would be my choice), as well as avocado sandwiches and anchovies.
So I'll take this opportunity to thank him, for surprising me with his generosity outside of these ridiculously built cultural norms and fabricated days of love, and for listening (come on, it takes a smart man to hear you, even when you think they haven't listened.) I guess there is a romantic in all of us. In the end, I've concluded that I've won, and sure it wasn't that silly social media contest that had me glued to Twitter and Facebook, but the greatest prize of all, a partner who understands, supports and loves me no matter what day it is.