In honor of Valentine’s Day this past Monday (read: using Valentine’s Day as a pretense to rope together these yummy pictures), here is a review of chocolate stand-outs from my teach abroad time so far:

Best Excuse to Eat Chocolate for Breakfast: Pain au chocolat at Jean Millet in Paris

Most quirky table companions: Chocolate cream pie among garden gnomes at Cafe Gartenzwerg in Lagos, Portugal

Finest reason to eat pinkies- up: Hot chocolate at Angelinas in Paris, France

Best justification to eat chocolate at the holidays: The fleeting chocolate montecado at Filella Bakery in Sevilla, Spain

Quickest way to a sugar rush (and subsequent stomach ache): Chocolate y Churros at Cafe Bib Ramblas in Granada, Spain

Cheapest taste of luxury: Chocolate Tart at Hotel Alfonso XIII in Sevilla, Spain- I highly recommend checking this place out if you visit Sevilla. The hotel is in a gorgeous building built between 1916 and 1928. Having a drink and dessert on their patio for a refresher between exploring the city is an experience in luxury.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated here in Spain, though not with the same fervor as in the U.S. My school had flower grams available to be sent and received during the school day, and many bakeries around town offered little heart-shaped cakes for the occasion. Upon questioning, however, most of the teachers did not have special plans with their significant other that day, and its commercial presence in stores was minimal.

Julia and I added to the above list of chocolate-y moment memories by indulging in these on Monday…

The elegant-looking ones are from Los Angelitos bakery (the same bakery as my birthday cake). They are made up of a white chocolate slab layered over milk chocolate flecked with chopped hazelnuts. The less handsome but equally scrumptious chocolate was made by Helen, the British language assistant at my school. She calls it Tiffin Cake, which tastes to me like fudge studded with candied fruit and digestive cookies. It is really quite good! I’m hoping to get the recipe, which perhaps I can share with you all!

Thank you for bearing with my chocolate-centric nostalgia:-)