Chocolate in Espelette

Espelette is famous for its peppers, or Piment d’Espelette, but the kids and I went and visited a chocolate maker’s shop there for our Wednesday field trip.  The shop gave a presentation on how chocolate was made, from bean to bar, and then a tour of the kitchen where a chocolatier was making a Basque version of Nutella.  There were of course chocolate tastings, including a one made with the famous piment.  That one started harmless enough, and then, BANG! a nice peppery hit.  We bought a box of chocolates to bring back to share with Bryan (who was working at home) and stopped for a photo in front of the poste and then bought some bread to take home for lunch.

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In the afternoon we went to run some errands in Hasparren, which consisted of recharging our phones with time at the tabac, going to the post office, picking up bread for dinner, printing out a document, visiting the bank, and having a coffee at my favorite hotel cafe/bar – more on the bar at another time.

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After our coffees and Oranginas, we drove home past a spot we had driven by several times before, but hadn’t had occasion to stop:  Bob’s Beer.  Curious, and jonesing for some micro-brew, we decided to check it out.  Turns out Bob is an Englishman who has lived in this area with his family for 10 years, and who has just sent his twin kids off to university in Bordeaux.  He used to be in TV in London, but left that to move to France and enjoy life.  It was nice to talk to him, to hear his perspective and to get an inside scoop on what it’s like to be an outsider, even after 10 years of living here.

Bob had four beers available, so we bought one of each to try:  A Christmas beer (good flavor); a smoked beer (interesting), a stout (perfect) and a beer with Piment de Basque (fiesty).  There are mostly only industrial beers here in France, but LOADS of wine, so no complaints.  He’ll have some different types available soon, including an IPA, so we’ll be back.

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