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Luxuries you can live without - Page 9

post #121 of 147
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Venezuelan chocolates are supposed to be some of the greatest in the world, albeit fairly unknown.  You can read about it in the latest CN Traveler, I believe it is the first time their chocolate industry has been featured, but they have been making chocolates since the 17th century.  Apparently they were incredibly popular in Europe in the 18th and 19th century, but the discovery of oil in the earliest 20th century made it far more profitable to go that route.
A friendly clarification: Cacao comes from the coasts of the Caribbean and the aboriginals consumed chocolate since well before colonization (1492). Of course, their chocolate didn't contain any milk, just cocoa, cocoa butter and cane sugar, and the original recipe is still used in a few places in Latin America and in Modica (Sicily). Chocolate connoisseurs know that the absolute best cacao beans in the World are produced in Venezuela. The top variety comes from a tiny coastal region called Chuao. However, while Venezuelan chocolate is generally excellent (I am currently enjoying an El Rey bar of 80% Carenero superior bean), the best chocolate is made in Europe from Venezuelan cacao. Almost all production from Chuao is reserved to the finest European (and 1 American, AFAIK) producers. It has always been this way, regardless of oil production. Richart of France uses Chuao beans, also Chuao Chocolatier in California. Modica's Casalindolci and Berkeley's Scharffen Berger, while not claiming use of Chuao beans, make very good chocolate from other Venezuelan beans (In the case of Scharffen Berger, this only applies to their limited editions bars --I recommend their Cuyagua bar).
post #122 of 147
hmmm, Chocolates... In my humble opinion, some of finest chocolates are the Belgian Marcolini.... and the limited editions, like the Porcelana is exquisite.
post #123 of 147
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hmmm, Chocolates... In my humble opinion, some of finest chocolates are the Belgian Marcolini.... and the limited editions, like the Porcelana is exquisite.
I am just having one right now. I picked it up this morning in the Marcolini boutique on the place du sablon. I cant go pick an ew jantzen shirt every eek but I think one should enjoy the local luxuries
post #124 of 147
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(T4phage @ Feb. 27 2005,04:04) hmmm, Chocolates... In my humble opinion, some of finest chocolates are the Belgian Marcolini.... and the limited editions, like the Porcelana is exquisite.
I am just having one right now. I picked it up this morning in the Marcolini boutique on the place du sablon. I cant go pick an ew jantzen shirt every eek but I think one should enjoy the local luxuries  
Excellent. Have you had the Jasmin or the Earl Grey?
post #125 of 147
MCA, Interesting, I was under the impression that El Rey were the first single bean origin producer, and that although there are several others now, their chocolate only had one serious competitor as the world's best...
post #126 of 147
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A friendly clarification: Cacao comes from the coasts of the Caribbean and the aboriginals consumed chocolate since well before colonization (1492). Of course, their chocolate didn't contain any milk, just cocoa, cocoa butter and cane sugar, and the original recipe is still used in a few places in Latin America and in Modica (Sicily). Chocolate connoisseurs know that the absolute best cacao beans in the World are produced in Venezuela. The top variety comes from a tiny coastal region called Chuao. However, while Venezuelan chocolate is generally excellent (I am currently enjoying an El Rey bar of 80% Carenero superior bean), the best chocolate is made in Europe from Venezuelan cacao. Almost all production from Chuao is reserved to the finest European (and 1 American, AFAIK) producers. It has always been this way, regardless of oil production. Richart of France uses Chuao beans, also Chuao Chocolatier in California. Modica's Casalindolci and Berkeley's Scharffen Berger, while not claiming use of Chuao beans, make very good chocolate from other Venezuelan beans (In the case of Scharffen Berger, this only applies to their limited editions bars --I recommend their Cuyagua bar).
We really must distingush between artiginale makers and those that are somewhat more readily available. As for El Rey, do they even have any made with the criollo bean? And of that, do they have any Porcelana?
post #127 of 147
T4, check out www.chocolates-elrey.com for descriptions. I've been having some of this stuff the last couple days, it is absolutely heavenly.
post #128 of 147
Drizzt, thanks for posting the El Rey website. They pretty much mention all the Venezuelan cacao bean (Criollo) varieties. What they don't mention is that the Chuao variety is generally regarded as the best. Because of its very limited production and preciousness, very few producers use it. Of the makers mentioned, only Casalindolci and Chuao Chocolatier would qualify as small artisanal producers with very limited production and retail locations. Richart, Marcolini and El Rey have larger operations, the former 2 marketed as luxury brands with fancy boutiques all over the world. Don't get me wrong, they're among the best makers in the world. Of these only Richart uses Chuao beans on some of their chocolates. Sharffen Berger is readily available, but not that big of a company (Very nice place to tour if you are in the Berkeley area) and their limited editions compete very well with the "boutique" brands.
post #129 of 147
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Excellent. Have you had the Jasmin or the Earl Grey?
I just had the earl grey right now. I had a madagascar this morning... I think the whole idea is to find out what you really enjoy and try not buy things just because your peers/social status /age etc says you should. Pepole get so involved in their carreer trying to please other people that they find no time to find out what they actually like and what they are doing out of a sense of propriety/ fashion...
post #130 of 147
Originally posted by Walter:
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I think the whole idea is to find out what you really enjoy and try not buy things just because your peers/social status /age etc says you should. Pepole get so involved in their carreer trying to please other people that they find no time to find out what they actually like and what they are doing out of a sense of propriety/ fashion...
Too True. Find out, explore, experience.... don't just take on belief what a magazine says.
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check out www.chocolates-elrey.com for descriptions. I've been having some of this stuff the last couple days, it is absolutely heavenly.
Drizz, thanks for the website address. I've had El Rey, and I personally don't think it is as good as several others here in Europe. Have you tried Porcelena from Marcolini or Amedei? Originally posted by MCA:
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...They pretty much mention all the Venezuelan cacao bean (Criollo) varieties. What they don't mention is that the Chuao variety is generally regarded as the best. Because of its very limited production and preciousness, very few producers use it. Of the makers mentioned, only Casalindolci and Chuao Chocolatier would qualify as small artisanal producers with very limited production and retail locations. Richart, Marcolini and El Rey have larger operations, the former 2 marketed as luxury brands with fancy boutiques all over the world. Don't get me wrong, they're among the best makers in the world. Of these only Richart uses Chuao beans on some of their chocolates. Sharffen Berger is readily available, but not that big of a company (Very nice place to tour if you are in the Berkeley area) and their limited editions compete very well with the "boutique" brands.
As for the "Chuao" bean's exclusivity, there are also other's that is just as 'rare' or even 'rarer' (one intrepid Italian is on a quest to find the perfect bean in Madagascar.). I would rate the production of Porcelana at least as 'exclusive' as the Chuao, and how many producers do you know use it? Other readily available chocolatiers who use the chuao include Amedei, Bonnet, etc.... It is not that difficult to find. What I define as an artiginale manufacturer is not along the lines of Casalindolci. I was thinking of very small maker, with one store, no retail outlets except their store.... and if you have travelled around you would know that there are quite a few in Europe, and they make an absolutely exquisite treat. There is one in Lucca, whose chocolate/pistacho creation beggars the imagination.
post #131 of 147
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I have to agree with the general point of the article.  I don't like all that fancy sh*t either.  But I don't buy at Walmart... However, most Americans tend to load up with garbage at Walmart and places like that.  I think the article should have talked about how the majority of consumer spending in America is for garbage peddled at Walmart...
OK - I agree with Linux to a certain extent... Here's a true story - we had a water issue here in Phoenix recently. Problems with the treatment plant so the city recommended that you boil your water or use bottled water for a day or so for drinking or cooking purposes (you could still bathe in regular tap water). No big deal as bottled water is about 79-cents a gallon. I picked up three gallons to be on the safe side. So one of our local tv stations goes out to interview a lower-income family. The reporter is live at their house talking about what a burden this is on the family because they can't afford bottled water - meanwhile, in the footage they are showing of the family, the kids are sitting there playing games on a PS2 or X-Box (I couldn't see which one) on a TV that's bigger than the 27" set I recently bought when I got a substantial raise and finally decided to replace the 19" set I've had for the past 15 years. So, the point is, this family has chosen to spend their income on a big-screen tv and game system that cost them probably $500+, but they don't have a couple of dollars available to buy some bottled water. Talk about misplaced priorities... I had the same disgusted reaction that I have when people in front of me at the grocery store have an entire cart full of junk food, overpriced prepackaged frozen meals and soda and then use their food stamps to pay for it all... I think the point of the article is - that even if you make a lot of money, you can still be guilty of overspending on unnecessary items. Bradford
post #132 of 147
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(linux_pro @ Feb. 25 2005,22:43) I have to agree with the general point of the article.  I don't like all that fancy sh*t either.  But I don't buy at Walmart... However, most Americans tend to load up with garbage at Walmart and places like that.  I think the article should have talked about how the majority of consumer spending in America is for garbage peddled at Walmart...
OK - I agree with Linux to a certain extent... Here's a true story - we had a water issue here in Phoenix recently. Problems with the treatment plant so the city recommended that you boil your water or use bottled water for a day or so for drinking or cooking purposes (you could still bathe in regular tap water). No big deal as bottled water is about 79-cents a gallon. I picked up three gallons to be on the safe side. So one of our local tv stations goes out to interview a lower-income family. The reporter is live at their house talking about what a burden this is on the family because they can't afford bottled water - meanwhile, in the footage they are showing of the family, the kids are sitting there playing games on a PS2 or X-Box (I couldn't see which one) on a TV that's bigger than the 27" set I recently bought when I got a substantial raise and finally decided to replace the 19" set I've had for the past 15 years. So, the point is, this family has chosen to spend their income on a big-screen tv and game system that cost them probably $500+, but they don't have a couple of dollars available to buy some bottled water. Talk about misplaced priorities... I had the same disgusted reaction that I have when people in front of me at the grocery store have an entire cart full of junk food, overpriced prepackaged frozen meals and soda and then use their food stamps to pay for it all... I think the point of the article is - that even if you make a lot of money, you can still be guilty of overspending on unnecessary items. Bradford
2 similar stories - we went to a playdate at the house of one of my sons friends. her father is a construction worker, who has been out of work for almost a year, and they recently sold their house and moved to a smaller rental. They have 2 SUV's, one a BMW, and the biggest TV I have ever seen, as well as a tv in each room, and in one room they have 2. they have a pure breed dog that health problems, and they spent thousands of dollars a year on treatments for the dog. a friend of my wife's- who is a waitress and lives with her son and her boyfriend who works in a meat packaging factory (not anything what so every against hard working americans, just to try to identify their economic situation) and has asked us a few times for financial help- recently bought the director's cut of some crappy horror flic DVD. she has the origional, she wanted to have the director's cut for the extra scenes and commentary, and she couldn't rent it or wait till the price might go down. everybody has their own idea of what they need, of what i luxury and what is nessesity.
post #133 of 147
We can live without all these luxuries. The only things we really need are food, water, modest clothing, a roof over our head. But if we had nothing more than just the bare necessities, life would be rather dull, wouldn't it. My philosophy is to decide what financial goals you want to reach. Be disciplined in your savings and investments to give yourself the best chance of reaching those goals. Whatever you have left you should spend without guilt. Buy only quality goods at a discount(if possible). Review your goals and alter your plans as circumstances change.
post #134 of 147

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Edited by 4Mica - 8/22/11 at 1:29pm
post #135 of 147
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(Bradford @ Feb. 28 2005,07:55)
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Originally Posted by linux_pro,Feb. 25 2005,22:43
I have to agree with the general point of the article. I don't like all that fancy sh*t either. But I don't buy at Walmart... However, most Americans tend to load up with garbage at Walmart and places like that. I think the article should have talked about how the majority of consumer spending in America is for garbage peddled at Walmart...
OK - I agree with Linux to a certain extent... Here's a true story - we had a water issue here in Phoenix recently. Problems with the treatment plant so the city recommended that you boil your water or use bottled water for a day or so for drinking or cooking purposes (you could still bathe in regular tap water). No big deal as bottled water is about 79-cents a gallon. I picked up three gallons to be on the safe side. So one of our local tv stations goes out to interview a lower-income family. The reporter is live at their house talking about what a burden this is on the family because they can't afford bottled water - meanwhile, in the footage they are showing of the family, the kids are sitting there playing games on a PS2 or X-Box (I couldn't see which one) on a TV that's bigger than the 27" set I recently bought when I got a substantial raise and finally decided to replace the 19" set I've had for the past 15 years. So, the point is, this family has chosen to spend their income on a big-screen tv and game system that cost them probably $500+, but they don't have a couple of dollars available to buy some bottled water. Talk about misplaced priorities... I had the same disgusted reaction that I have when people in front of me at the grocery store have an entire cart full of junk food, overpriced prepackaged frozen meals and soda and then use their food stamps to pay for it all... I think the point of the article is - that even if you make a lot of money, you can still be guilty of overspending on unnecessary items. Bradford
2 similar stories - we went to a playdate at the house of one of my sons friends. her father is a construction worker, who has been out of work for almost a year, and they recently sold their house and moved to a smaller rental. They have 2 SUV's, one a BMW, and the biggest TV I have ever seen, as well as a tv in each room, and in one room they have 2. they have a pure breed dog that health problems, and they spent thousands of dollars a year on treatments for the dog. a friend of my wife's- who is a waitress and lives with her son and her boyfriend who works in a meat packaging factory (not anything what so every against hard working americans, just to try to identify their economic situation) and has asked us a few times for financial help- recently bought the director's cut of some crappy horror flic DVD. she has the origional, she wanted to have the director's cut for the extra scenes and commentary, and she couldn't rent it or wait till the price might go down. everybody has their own idea of what they need, of what i luxury and what is nessesity.
When I was first promoted to an exec (CTO) position in San Diego, I was driving a 1988 Toyota Celica ST with a dent in the back. One of my Support Managers, a guy two rungs lower on the corporate ladder and making less than half of my salary, showed up to a company lunch in a brand new M3 convertible and was laughing at me for driving the Celica. Now, our company was about to purchased, and I had been warned that the purchaser had plans to layoff about 80% of the technical department (a stupid move that later caused a great deal of trouble). I told the guy to take the car back and save his money, because there were serious layoffs coming. He kept the car and said something like, "I can always get a new job." Mind you, this is during the height of the telecom collapse, so our industry was being hit hard and layoffs were skyrocketing, and this guy had a wife and new baby. Eventually, he was layed off (as were most of us), and I saw him before I left San Diego, he told me he had lost the car, that it had been repossessed. I felt terrible for the guy and his wife - his spending caused his wife and him to take on debt with no goods to show for the debt, and undoubtedly placed his child in a position of unnecessary hardship. For the entire 6 month period before my layoff, I was saving and investing about 70% of my gross income, and spending very little. I had enough saved up to live for a year or two if everything went haywire and I was unable to find a good job in that time, without touching my primary investments or savings. It took me 3.5 months to find my current position in Seattle, during which period I was not required to use unemployment or other assistance. I see no problem with spending money on luxury items with my excess income, income that is not slated for investments or living expenses. However, when going gets rough, I am very willing to curb my spending in order to keep saving. I think that's what is important. Do whatever you want with your money, just make sure you're investing at least 25% of your gross income at all times.
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