L'Atelier du Chocolat

We left France at the end of June to make our way through the Northwest coast of Spain, eventually down to Portugal, staying at a new Airbnb every week. But before we left France, I had one small Mama-Diaz afternoon planned at L'Atelier du Chocolat Bayonne. Here we could tour the workshop with the promise of a tasting at the end.

In a way I'm trying to spoil her and fill her boots so to speak without just giving her needless toys and treats at her every request, which come often and always. We would have to tow a trailer to carry all the requests with us if we said yes every time. We're trying for the "give them the gift of experiences" approach, which honestly tends to last as long as a needless toy and there is always a request for more. 

Anyway, on this day, she was clearly struggling. She misses her friends. She misses the freedom to be a kid with other kids that she knows and whom know her. She misses the routine of school, even though she always wanted to stay back with me and Raph, but at pick up time never wanted to leave her social network. She doesn't understand why we are doing what we are doing. After a tough few days, I finally said to her: let's go out for a bit, just you and me. 

I say this was just for her, but let's keep it real. A trip to the chocolatier was as much for her as it was for me. And for us; we needed to connect. I tried not to rush through the historical tour to get to the tasting, and to the last stop where Diaz would have time to design her own chocolate.

Watching chocolatiers put the final design touches on rich chocolate caramel squares.

Watching chocolatiers put the final design touches on rich chocolate caramel squares.

At the tasting, there was an insane amount of chocolate to try, even for me. There was white chocolate, milk chocolate, various ranges of dark chocolate. It was heaven! We worked up from milk chocolate through the different countries and ranges of cocoa all the way up to a gloriously dark and bitter 90% cocoa. There was nuggets and broken up bars, some rolled in nuts some in dried cranberries or cocoa powder. Some mixed with sweet caramel, slices of dried orange peel, or chunks of almonds.  

By then end of the tasting, we couldn't have put another piece of chocolate in our mouth. We were done with chocolate. I never thought I would say those words. (That didn't really last long though. By the kids' bedtime, I was back to sneaking little nibbles of chocolate that I had brought home.)

Kids were still in school at this time and as we were finishing our tasting, a rambunctious and excited class of older kids came in for a field trip to do their own tour, chocolate making, and tasting. Diaz looked at me, her eyes wide and asked if kids in school got to come here normally. We asked the chocolatiers and they assured her that many classes from many schools got to come here. She gave a casual, non-committal shrug, but I am putting that one in my back pocket for when it comes time to head off to her new school.