This time last year I had a slight case of the Easter-time chocolate blues. It was my first easter back in Australia after living abroad in the United Kingdom for three years. These chocolate blues were brought on for two reasons. Firstly, I had made a New Years resolution to reduce my processed sugar intake to once a week – on my chosen day of Sunday, and secondly, since visiting Bruges in Belgium no other chocolate can compete. No big deal you might say, just over indulge like we all do at Christmas time. Well it wasn’t as simple as that, especially since I was steadfastly committed to my New Years resolution and had serious “I will stick to this resolution no matter what” pep-talks with myself on a daily basis. A few months into the year and it was so far so good. I was kicking my healthy eating goals, resisting sugary temptations throughout the week and forming new treat-eating habits. All of which was strange new territory in the lead up to Easter and quite different from my previous pre-easter chocolate-induced easter egg love affair.
Resisting temptation can be hard. Each year you cannot miss all the colourful easter eggs displayed on counters everywhere from your local cafe, to the gas station and check-out isles at the supermarket. Since I made the conscious decision to reduced my processed sugar intake and adopt my only-on-Sundays rule, Easter of 2016 was an interesting experiment for me in resisting the hypnotic pull of these shiny tinsel egg beacons and cute bunny shaped creatures. I never really ate mountains of processed sugar every day and have only been over weight once in my lifetime. I just wanted develop even healthy eating habits and be mindful of the type of energy fuel and empty calories I was ingesting into my body. Before my New Years decision I was partial to several sugar-rush inducing habits. Some on a daily, weekly or monthly basis such as a chocolate or muesli bar with herbal tea at work everyday as a 3pm afternoon pick-me-up energy snack, a bowl of ice-cream or two or three after dinner when it was ‘that time of the month’, or feverishly demolishing a large packet of Maltesers when watching a movie or reading an engrossing, page turning book on the weekends. Extra empty calories which tasted good but required vigorous religious exercise or otherwise the 500+ calories would be speedily making their way straight to my hips and thighs. Never mind the bad health consequences of processed food and refined sugar.
So in the lead up to Easter I only indulged in chocolate, cake and ice-cream once a week – Sunday. And this day had limits. Sunday was not a James Bond 007 license to kill myself by excessively over indulging in sugary treats. Just one portion. Either one chocolate bar or one piece of cake or one ice-cream cone, you get the idea. Normally I would be indulging in the pre-easter chocolate feast as soon as those delightful eggs rolled off the production line and landed on the supermarket shelves or coffee shop counter, which always seemed like a few weeks after Christmas. I must confess I didn’t miss my pre-easter over indulgence too much. It was like having a treasured friend who lives overseas and you don’t see very often, you miss them dearly but when you see them again, you have the best time ever. And on Easter Sunday in 2016, I savoured every minute of my easter egg chocolate indulgent treat and didn’t feel guilty at all. And funnily enough, for about six months after Easter I stopped eating this brown sweet treat – otherwise known as chocolate – altogether.
That would not be possible if I lived in Bruges. You see chocolate is not the same in Australia as in Europe. A friend of mine, who heralds from Germany and studied food science once told me that they use slightly different ingredients to account for the hotter climate in Australia. Melting is the most obvious and determining factor. Who wants their chocolate easter eggs to resemble something more like a runny egg that hasn’t been boiled long enough and when cracked, oozes out to form an abstract gooey sculpture. And so it was that I discovered the rich, soft creaminess of real Belgium chocolate for myself on a visit to Bruges in 2014. There were chocolate shops scattered all over this quaint historic town and I was suddenly immersed in some other worldly chocolate egg heaven. Needless my friend who I was travelling with at the time and I had to sample chocolate from just about every shop in town. My favourite chocolate eggs were from a place called Moeder Babelutte. This delectable shop was filled with the sweet delicious aroma of heavenly chocolate; and shelves, buckets and glass containers were full to the brim with all manner of chocolate treats. Easter bunnies, rabbits, farm animals and eggs in all shapes, colours and sizes. My favourite were the little adorable farm animals.
If you have the chance to visit Bruges make sure you stop by Moeder Babelutte. Indulging in their irresistible, sweet, and creamy chocolate will be a chocolate affair to remember, and may just give you the easter egg chocolate blues.
*this post is not sponsored