"Everybody wants something, they'll never give up.
Everybody wants something, they'll take your money and never give up" (dun! dun! dun!)
If you're of my era and grew up in Australia (or Canada I assume), they lyrics will whisk you back to a time of big hair and big pants, and to TV shows that tackled the big issues - Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High (and also the lesser known The Kids of Degrassi Street and movie School's Out). These issues were so big that the ABC played a warning for parents before the show, in case they didn't want their kids to learn about teen pregnancy, suicide, eating disorders or Joey Jeremiah.
Degrassi's premier band Zit Remedy, fronted by Joey Jeremiah, presumably playing their one and only song
The Degrassi shows are set in and around De Grassi Street in Toronto, and as they was my only exposure to Canadian culture, I would immediately bring them up when introduced to a Canadian for the first time. I am sure this grew tiresome after a while - teen pregnancy, suicide and eating disorders aren't the most jolly subject matter, and talking about Joey Jeremiah can only sustain a conversation for so long - but happily my time spent living in Canada last year has given me new conversation material.
Despite having done my best to move on from my Degrassi loving days, with my bikepants forever banished and awful boofy bob long gone, I could not help but think fondly of them when I received my second Foodie Exchange parcel all the way from Toronto from the lovely Mardi from Eat, live travel, write. I first started reading Mardi's blog in July of last year when I stumbled across a post of hers discussing Haigh's Chocolates in Adelaide (where she is originally from). I had only very recently discovered Haigh's at that time, and after reading that Mardi's all-time favourite Haigh's chocolates are their Chocolate Speckles I instantly liked her. Since then we've discovered that we have many other things in common, and I am tempted to investigate if my father didn't have a jaunt in SA, or her father one in WA to see if we really are long lost sisters (I wonder if this sentence will be the catalyst to finally getting my mother to comment on my blog?).Suffice it to say, I am even morel a fan now of Eat, live, travel, write, and can heartily recommend you start reading Mardi's entertaining and educational writings if you are not already doing so.
I was quite excited when Mardi suggested we do a Foodie Exchange, given the treats I had already received from Montreal and Arizona in my previous two exchanges, though I admit to feeling a little apprehension at sending Aussie treats to an Aussie. Luckily her blog had given me many clues about what might put a smile on her face, and the goodies I sent seem to have gone down a treat.
Just as well, really, because what I received from Mardi was a box of awesome. Sadly it was a box of awesome subjected to handling by Australia Post in a particularly unforgiving Australian summer, but I'll get to that later. After excitedly opening the box, this is what I found inside...
My carefully packaged goodies
Admittedly, my first thought was
"Ziplock bags! How great are ziplock bags! How great is Mardi for putting these things in ziplock bags!" followed by
"Holy crap this is a box full of deliciousness" and then
"Bite-sized boys? That sounds a little naughty, I wonder what is inside the little tin" before
"Oooh I think maybe the summer heat has done a little damage here" and then back to
I quickly photographed the chocolates before getting them to the cold fridge, stat! (If only I had 50 ccs of liquid nitrogen.. if only).
Choctastic goodies - Lindt Fleur de Sel Dark Chocolate, Odile Chocolat Lavender Caramel Chocolate, Laura Secord santa mallow
Next I opened up the ziplock bags to investigate their protected maple treats. What really piqued my interest with these was the Vidal Maple Wine Vinegar, which I had not seen before. It smells lovely, and I'm looking forward to using it in a very tightarse fashion in the kitchen. I think it might just go very nicely with some lightly grilled asparagus. The maple butter put a big grin on my face, as I discovered this in Canada last year and somewhat wish that I didn't as it is so good. Great on toast, pancakes or pikelets, but I think it really shines on a steaming hot crumpet. And of course, the traditional pure Canadian maple syrup which I admittedly rarely have in the house as it costs quite a lot over here and I'm not sure I can be trusted with large quantities of it. I see a future of eating piles of pancakes and crumpets stretching ahead of me. Oh and possibly bacon. Yes.
Maple treats - Vidal Maple Wine Vinegar, Maple Butter and Maple Syrup
Finally, I let myself open the box of "bite-sized boys" and seven little gingerbread men were soon smiling up at me! Well, seven little gingerbread boys I guess. I'm not sure how to tell the difference between gingerbread men and gingerbread boys.
The Queen of Tarts "bite-sized boys"
After leaving the chocolate in the fridge for a while, I was confident that I could handle it without anything squirting on my clothing so I did some closer investigative work. The Lindt chocolate had melted in a really interesting manner, with the chocolate in the top half of the block having lost all its insides to the bottom half, leaving just a very thin double layer shell. In the photograph below, you can see pieces from the top half in the bottom right hand corner and middle, showing just the shell of the chocolate, whilst the bottom left hand corner shows a piece from the bottom half of the chocolate. As I pondered the physics behind this I fuelled my brain with the delicious combination of the dark, bitter chocolate with the sharp sea salt. It was actually really nice to have the contrast of the thin, crisp pieces from the top with the thick chunky pieces from the bottom.
Greedy bottom half of the block (bottom left hand piece) and the crisp shell left at the top of the block (middle and bottom right hand piece).
The mallow santa had fared a little better, though did not last long once I had discovered this.
As shown in a previous photograph, the lavender caramel chocolate had oozed over to one side of the bag, which I assume was not how it looked when it was carefully placed in the parcel by Mardi, and as I've not tried lavender caramel before it is difficult to say if the oozy process affected it at all. The texture of the caramel was quite grainy, and the taste was unsurprisingly incredibly floral with lavender. I've been reading a bit lately about baking with lavender, and after trying this caramel I can definitely see how it could work in a sweet dish.
Chocolate? What chocolate?
The boys were still smiling until the very end, bless their gingerbread socks.
Well, now I definitely can't tell if this is a gingerbread man or boy
Mardi, you rock. Thanks so much for my goodies and apologies for the lateness of this post. I do have one small bone to pick with you though... I just checked on Google Maps and you live nowhere near De Grassi Street. How disappointing.