Desserts on the Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago Desserts

After walking the majority of 482 miles across northern Spain, and 18 miles along the Atlantic coast, at an average of 10 miles a day, where all I really needed to do was eat, sleep, and walk, I had a lot of time to just think, reflect, and contemplate. So, you would think that I might have had the time to come up with some original, insightful revelations about the meaning of life. Or that I would have discovered some new valuable words of wisdom. Perhaps I could have come up with a deep, thought-provoking life lesson. Or a pioneering philosophy on life. But, no. All I could conjure up was a quote that is already common, familiar, and well-known…

Life’s short. Eat dessert first.

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Camino de Santiago Desserts

So I thought that for my first blog since returning from my journey of walking west on the Camino Francés pilgrimage route, from the border with France and Spain to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, and north near the ocean and beaches, I would start by sharing pictures of many of the delicious desserts on the Camino de Santiago that I enjoyed along the way.

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Camino de Santiago Desserts

Sweet (literally) Travels!

For more blogs about my 502-mile, 47-day journey across northern Spain and up the Atlantic Coast, please visit my Camino de Santiago category.

Chocolate Shops of Île d’Orléans

If chocolate were bad, it would have lost its appeal a long time ago.
– Edouard de Pomiane, French doctor and gourmet

Chocolaterie de l'Ile d'Orleans Large Bars

Do you love chocolate as much as I do? Then you’re in luck when you visit Île d’Orléans, an island near Québec City, Canada! While you can get some fabulous desserts at restaurants throughout the island, just wait till you walk into the three sweet and delicious chocolate shops of Île d’Orléans.


Chocolaterie de l'Ile d'Orleans Small Chocolates

Chocolaterie de l'Ile d'Orleans Small Chocolates

Located in a 250 year old house, at one end of the island in the parish of Sainte-Pétronille, is the Chocolaterie de l’Île d’Orléans. Making chocolate since 1988, using quality raw materials imported from Belgium, and locally handcrafted, this place is heaven. They have so many choices in what they offer, you could spend days just sampling them all.


Chocolaterie de l'Ile d'Orleans Small Chocolates Samples

To start with, their long list of small chocolates, sold individually or in boxes, includes those covered in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate, as well as a flavorful mix of truffles. The samples I tried were filled with flavors such as lychee, orange, salted caramel, and blueberry. Yum! Other flavors of their small chocolates include moka, cherry, butterscotch, solid chocolate, and blackcurrant, just to name a few.


Chocolaterie de l'Ile d'Orleans Small Bars

The Chocolaterie de l’Île d’Orléans’ chocolate bars are sold in two sizes, large and small. Some of the large bars have no sugar added, and some of the small bars have nuts or maple added. I tried the Maple Chunks & Dark Chocolate bar, and I tell you it was pure torture to have to sample all this chocolate in order to write this blog. Not!


Chocolaterie de l'Ile d'Orleans Chocolate Spreads

Chocolaterie de l’Île d’Orléans also sells fun chocolates shaped like cigars, lollipops, and elegant roses. If you thought that wasn’t enough, a great item to take home is their dark chocolate spreads, which are flavored with blueberry, raspberry, pear, strawberry, maple caramel, or orange. Then there is the hot chocolate, which well, I have been enjoying at home, including as I am writing this blog! Life’s rough.


Chocolaterie de l'Ile d'Orleans Hot Chocolate

Located in the same building upstairs as the Chocolaterie is a restaurant, Café Resto, to get some food (and ice cream, see below) to go along with your dessert. An outdoor garden to sit and enjoy all this is just perfect.

Conveniently located on the opposite side of the island in the parish of Saint François, just about 21 miles from the Chocolaterie de l’Île d’Orléans, is a smaller version of this exact same Chocolaterie. Housed in a building built in 1867, this smaller shop is still just as big on the same indulgent chocolates.

Chocolaterie de l'Ile d'Orleans Ice Cream

It was here I had tried the locally homemade ice cream, which is also located in the main shop upstairs in Café Resto. In the summer, both Chocolateries offer 24 flavors of ice cream and sherbet. Of course I had some ice cream, the double chocolate, and hazelnut-chocolate flavors. I enjoyed this while sitting outside on their deck in the warm sun overlooking a garden. I was told that this chocolate shop sells 30,000 pounds of chocolate a year! That’s a lot of chocolate!


Confiserie de la Vieille Ecole Ile d'Orleans

Just when you thought you couldn’t eat any more chocolate, pretty much right next door to the Chocolaterie de l’Île d’Orléans in the parish of Saint François, is the Confiserie de la Vieille École, loosely translated as “Confectionery of the Old School.” Their tag line is “gâteries pour petits and grands,” treats for the little and big. Not only does this chocolate shop have wonderful chocolate, but the building it is located in has some great history. Originally built in 1830, it was a school (hence the name of the shop), and today it is considered a historical monument. There is even a display of its history inside, and some old school desks on the outside, so it is like having a mini-museum right next to the chocolate.


Confiserie de la Vieille Ecole Ile d'Orleans School Display

Confiserie de la Vieille Ecole Ile d'Orleans School Books

Confiserie de la Vieille Ecole Ile d'Orleans School Desk

For the past two years, Confiserie de la Vieille École is the current owner’s home, as well as her chocolate factory, where she makes her handmade treats, including fudge, and marshmallows covered with milk or dark chocolate, with or without nuts, which I indulged in, after that ice cream. Like I said, life’s rough.


Confiserie de la Vieille Ecole Ile d'Orleans Fudge Marshmallows

I asked the current owner how she learned to make her treats. She said she took a few classes to learn to make the basics, and then uses her imagination for the rest.


Confiserie de la Vieille Ecole Chocolate Products

So there you have it, three chocolate shops of Île d’Orléans. These are my reasons #2, #3, and #4 of my 42 reasons to visit Île d’Orléans.

And if you really do love chocolate as much as I do, you will also love their chocolate soap, a soap that smells like chocolate, that I have been using since I returned from my walking tour of Île d’Orléans, where I walked along the the 42-mile Chemin Royal (Royal Road) that encircles the island.


Chocolaterie de l'Ile d'Orleans Chocolate Soap

Sweet (very sweet) Travels!

Here is a list of my 42 reasons to visit Île d’Orléans, as well as a few other blogs, including My Travel Guide, My Tips for Walking, My Walking Tour, and My Book!!

My Travel Guide to Île d’Orléans.
Tips for Walking Île d’Orléans.
My Windows and Doors Photography Book, “The Porches of Île d’Orléans.”
My Walking Tour.

#1. The Quiet.
#2 through #4. The Chocolate Shops.
#5 through #10. The Wineries, Cidreries, and Vinaigreries.
#11 through #16. The Churches.
#17. The Aroma of Lavender.
#18 and #19. Recycled Folk Art and Textile Weaving.
#20. Strawberry Season.
#21 and #22. Strawberries, Raspberries, and Blackcurrants. Oh my!
#23. The Mailboxes.
#24 and #25. The Art in the Garden and The Garden of Arts.
#26 and #27. Procession Chapels and Roadside Crosses.
#28 and #29. Maple Syrup and Cheese.
#30. Parc Maritime/Maritime History.
#31 and #32. Woodworking and Blacksmithing.
#33 and #34. The Farmland and The River Scenery.
#35 and #36. Fine Dining.
#37 through #40. Accommodations.
#41 and #42. The Porches and My “Final” Reason.

My walking tour of Île d’Orléans was sponsored by Tourisme Québec (Québec Original) and Québec City Tourism (Québec Region). For more information, please visit:

Chocolaterie de l’Île d’Orléans
Confiserie de la Vieille École

Authentic Hot Chocolate in Spain along the Camino de Santiago


Ok, I’ll admit it – I’m a chocoholic. In fact, in order to complement my vegetarian cuisine on my walk along the Camino de Santiago, I ate chocolate. Lots of chocolate. From chocolate croissants to chocolate ice cream. From chocolate bars to chocolate cakes (a few of which are pictured in that vegetarian blog). I even visited a chocolate museum along the way.



And then there was the thick, rich, creamy, authentic hot chocolate. Not hot chocolate that is made by taking a few heaping tablespoons of a powder and stirring it into some warm milk. Not hot chocolate that is made by pouring in a few tablespoons of a syrup into some warm milk. But hot chocolate that is made by melting actual chocolate into the milk. It is a hot chocolate that is so dense in flavor and thickness, that I ate each cup with a spoon. The hot chocolate I had in Spain, which originated in Italy, made for some very delicious desserts!





Each time I discovered my delectable cup of hot chocolate, it was by chance. I happened to walk into a café or restaurant, and there on a table, right in front of me, was a “hot chocolate menu.” Each time I found this, a huge smile on my face appeared. I carefully studied all the scrumptious choices that my hot chocolate could be flavored with, like orange and cinnamon, banana, strawberry, coconut, mint, coffee, and more. The chocolate itself might be made with white, milk, or dark chocolate. There was even a chili pepper flavor…think Bhutan


Oh, and I just realized that I am posting this blog around Halloween, a time for candy and chocolate. Trick-or-Treat!

Sweet (very sweet) Travels!

Thoughts, Tips, & Translations for Today’s Blog:

Contemplative Thought from the Camino: Life is short. Eat, and drink, dessert first.

Packing Tip for the Pilgrimage: Even though this has nothing to do with hot chocolate, for walking the Camino in the summer one can use a sleep sack or light-weight sleeping bag. I used the latter, the Lafuma Extreme 600, a 45 degree bag, that only weighed 20 ounces, which for me, worked perfectly.

Spanish Translation of the Santiago: Chocolate Caliente = Hot Chocolate.

Québec City: Érico Choco-Musée

Yes, there is a chocolate museum in Québec City! Yes, it is a place where there is endless delicious chocolate. My kind of place! Located on rue Saint-Jean, a short walk from Old Québec, and “your Québec City chocolate maker since 1988,” I visited this museum (and store!) three times. Yes, three!

Choco Musee Erico Menu And Ice Cream

The first time I went to Érico Choco-Musée it was closed. But that didn’t matter. At least I became aware of its existence, and was able to drool over the window displays of items made out of chocolate. During my tour of Québec City, my wonderful guide, Sharon, and I discovered that we both love chocolate. Had this museum-store been open when she showed me this place, we would have had some of their home-made ice cream. Instead as we continued on with our tour of Québec City, I made a note-to-self that I needed to come back here later.

Choco Musee Erico Barn And Farmers

Therefore at the end of my tour, I actually had Sharon drop me off right in front of Érico Choco-Musée. My second visit. I went straight for that ice cream. Before lunch, in fact. I indulged in a “three chocolates” flavor. Dark, milk, and white – with chunks of chocolate. Mmmmmmm.

Choco Musee Erico Tin Can Cocoa Display

After enjoying my pre-lunch appetizer, I walked around the one-room museum, which is next to the store, full of so much information on chocolate that I was amazed. History of chocolate from the Mayan’s time to today; chocolate-making techniques and process (from the cocoa bean to the chocolate bar); secrets of artisan chocolate making; and a collection of 200 antique chocolate-related objects, including items originating in Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, Europe, the U.S. and Canada. You can also observe the artisan chocolate making process through a window overlooking the kitchen where they make their chocolates right there. I even found a list of how to say “chocolate” in 19 languages – it is good to know that other than in China and Finland, I can easily recognize chocolate!

Choco Musee Erico 19 Languages

Choco Musee Erico ChocolatesIn the shop itself, they sell all kinds of tasty treats. A specialty is their tiny chocolates, filled with goodies like fruits, nuts, truffles, liquor, dessert wines, spices, fine herbs, or even flowers. Not to mention some of these tiny chocolates labeled as “double bites” combining two or more ingredients. The outsides of all these are coated with either white, milk, bitter-sweet (60% cocoa), or extra-bitter (70% cocoa) chocolate. (Have I got you drooling yet?) If not, here are some sample flavors:

“Exotique” – milky ganache with caramelized banana.
“Belge” – hazelnut and coffee crème fraîsche with walnuts.
“Truffle Sésame” – extra-bitter ganache, tahini, roasted sesame seed oil.
“India” – bitter-sweet ganache with coconut milk, mangos, lime, Indian spices.
“Fleur de Lavande” – white chocolate with lavender flowers and honey.
“Cappucino” – bitter-sweet ganache with Italian Espresso coffee.
“Alizé- white chocolate ganache with passion fruits and Alizé liquor (Cognac and passion fruits).

The list goes on and on and on.

I should also mention that Érico Choco-Musée sells gourmet hot chocolate; cookies; brownies; blondies; cupcakes; cakes; chocolate bars; chocolates molded into various shapes; chocolates to celebrate various occasions and special events; and you can even have photos infused on chocolates. And all of them come in a wide variety of chocolate flavors. (I’m sure that you are drooling now.)

Choco Musee Erico Cookies

I went back the next day for my third time. I couldn’t resist. I absolutely needed to try their double chocolate cookie (can you tell I love chocolate?), and three samples of their tiny chocolates (elegantly served on a silver tray). I also needed to bring back home for my boyfriend three samples of their chocolate bars, one flavored with cardamom, another with Chipotle pepper, and one made with Jamaican chocolate. Mmmmmmmm.

Choco Musee Erico 3 Chocolates

Oh, there’s free admission to the museum. Which is great because no doubt you’ll spend your money on chocolate in the store. But definitely worth every Canadian penny!

Check out the Érico Choco-Musée website, there’s more. And more. And more. Even chocolate recipes. A list of chocolate museums around the world. And an explanation of the health benefits of dark chocolate (when consumed in moderation).

Their Chocolate Menu brochure that I picked up there says, “Delivery service available.”…To Seattle??

Sweet (and I mean, sweet) Travels!

This trip was provided to me courtesy of Montréal Tourism, Québec City Tourism, and VIA Rail Canada, which brought me from Montréal to Québec City (links to all below). Thank you to Sharon Frenette, my tour guide, who introduced me to Érico Choco-Musée.

Travel Information:
VIA Rail Canada
Québec City and Area
Tourisme Québec
Bonjour Québec

Excerpts from Europe: “Gelato in Italy!”

Wow. I’m surprised that I didn’t gain weight while traveling in Italy during my Europe trip back in 2004. Because I scanned my journal and found around 30 entries where I talked about all the delicious gelato I ate!! It must have been all the walking, biking and hiking that kept me in shape.

Here are some of those tasty gelato journal entries. Let me tell you though, that each gelato was definitely worth every bite…

May 25 – Ancona – I had my first authentic Italian gelato at the train station! The signs were all in Italian of course, but I figured out the choices between cup or cone, two or three scoops, and then it came topped with cream. I got two yummy scoops, “cioccolato,” and nutella (a tasty chocolate and hazelnut combo)!

May 27 – Camponocecchio – A gelato dessert after a pizza dinner to top off a fabulous Italian experience. “Torta de Gelato” (ice cream cake) with fragola (strawberry) and decorated with sugar. Molto delizioso!!

May 28 – Vicenza – I had dinner in a self-service restaurant, which is a great way to have a good cheap meal. After dinner, I had to get a gelato. Actually this was my second gelato of the day. The first was this morning at a little café, where I also got a cappuccino. A cappuccino and a gelato – what a way to start the day.

May 30 – Venice – After a couple hours of wandering, and eating – I had a Panini, and my “daily” gelato, “mandarino” (Mandarin orange) flavored – I found St. Mark’s Square. I headed straight for the Bell Tower – I wanted to get to the top for the views.

June 2 – Trieste – Since this was my last day in Italy for a week, I had to go find a gelateria. The only place I could find one was at the train station. How convenient!

Eating a Gelato in Italy
(see…i’m eating a gelato…)

June 12 – Gubbio – I had lunch of a pizza with spinach, arugula, and eggplant. Then I walked around this small town for a while and looked in their tiny shops. They have a lot of ceramic stuff and really interesting painted glass, several with sunflowers on them. Then I got banana and chocolate flavored gelato.

June 21 – Montelpuciano – I wandered through the touristy streets. I got a salami sandwich for lunch, and ate it on the steps of a church. Then I ate a gelato on the same steps. After, I went to the wine store next door and had a sample of Montelpuciano wine. The Italian cuisine!

June 26 – Orvieto – After visiting the cathedral, I wanted gelato, because I saw a gelateria on my way to the cathedral that looked really good. And it was absolutely the best gelato that I’ve had thus far in Italy! (And I’ve had a lot of gelato.) I got a tiramisu flavor, and a chocolate-rum flavor that was simply the best. It tasted like the chocolate rum balls that my Grandma used to make. Yummmmmy!

Later in the day, I just had to go back and have a second gelato at the same place. I ordered a refreshing peach flavor, and of course, got the same chocolate-rum flavor. Wow!

June 27 – Orvieto – I got up this morning to get to my next destination, and on my way to the train station, I got some fruit for breakfast, a pen, because my other one ran out of ink, and a postcard to mail back home. Believe it or not though, no gelato this morning.

June 28 – Corniglia, Cinque Terre – I walked up the main street of Corniglia, got a gelato, and continued on until the street’s end overlooking the water. It was so quiet around. I felt noisy when I started crunching on the cone of the gelato.

Later – Then I made a few phone calls, and checked email. I got another gelato, and am eating the gelato in bed as I write in my journal. “Stracciatella” – chocolate chip!

June 29 – Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre – I took a train back to Riomaggiore, and got a…drum roll please…gelato!

June 30 – Corniglia – I had a quick lunch and a gelato. Then by about 2 pm, I started on a great hike. It was trail #7a, which for a while was pretty steep. It went up away from Corniglia into the hillside. With all the trees and elevation gain it felt like a “mountain hike.”

July 2 – Portofino – I had to get money, and then I was hungry, so I bought a gelato. My last gelato for this Italy trip. I will be back to Italy in a few weeks though. I got two scoops, “cocomero” (watermelon), and “pompelmo rosa” (pink grapefruit) – both full of terrific flavor.

July 20 – Ancona – I got to the train station, and took a train which got me to Genga about an hour later. But not before having a gelato at the train station. Ahhh, to be back in Italy. I might have to re-learn the little Italian I know, but eating a gelato again is easy.

July 22 – near Camponocecchio – After looking at fields of sunflowers, I intended to go grocery shopping, but I went clothes shopping instead. I bought three items. Then I had a gelato. Clothes and gelato in the same day!

July 26 – Venice – I’m back in one of my favorite Italian towns. Right away, I began to wander the streets of Venice, but not before having a “pistacchio” flavored gelato first.


July 30 – near Camponocecchio – We went to a gelateria to get some freshly home-made gelato. My friend knew the man working there, who turned out to be very generous with the gelato we had. I had a cone, and he put four, yes four, flavors on it. Usually you only get two. Chocolate, peach/orange (that’s one flavor), melon, and coffee. And then he gave us samples of two other flavors to taste that he just made.

July 31 – Arcevia – After a while, a friend asked if we wanted to go get a gelato. Of course – never refuse a gelato, I say. We walked up a narrow street of the town, to the main square. There happened to be live music playing there. I had chocolate, coffee and nutella flavored gelato. Plus the gelato I had earlier today. Yikes! Maybe I need to cut back on the sweets a bit. Or not.

August 6 – Urbino – When I left the Oratorio, it was raining pretty hard. I stood under some shelter for a bit, and soon the rain turned into just a sprinkle. I walked up the street to a gelateria. They had the nutella flavored gelato, which seems to be one of my favorites. I sat on the steps of a piazza in Urbino, ate my gelato, and watched the rain.

August 14 – Verona – After the amphitheater, I wandered around a bit, and ended up on a pedestrian-only street, where they had lots of stores. I had to try on some clothes, but nothing was looking right. I did get however, a gelato, with three flavors – bacio (a rich chocolate hazelnut combo), pompelmo rosa (pink grapefruit (again)), and malaga (rum raisin).

August 20 – Vicenza – I biked to downtown Vicenza this morning. I thought that there would be an outdoor market today, but there wasn’t. I ended up going clothes shopping instead. And I got a gelato – “arancia” (orange) and “cioccolato” flavors. The orange was very refreshing. I spent a couple of hours downtown.

Hmmmm. Guess I better go get some gelato now that I’m done with this blog!

Sweet (literally) Travels!