Saturday, September 30, 2006

Chocolate and bureaucracy

Not much to say this week. That is, although lots of things that are useful to me have happened, none of it's very exciting. For instance, the bank transaction I've been waiting for for weeks has finally come through, so I've been able to order my phone/internet package (which will arrive in 3-4 weeks... grr). Also, I've finally got confirmation of my health insurance, so I've been able to register as living in Germany, something that I need to do in order to pay tax (yay!). In short, I'm nice and settled in now.

The first part of my Dutch course has come to an end, although there are three more parts, all of which I will definitely do. We celebrated by buying the teacher a bottle of nice red wine, which he kindly shared with us during the last lesson.

As I mentioned, of course, we also went to Maastricht. Surprisingly, I can't think of much to say about that. The countryside in Limburg (the stretched-out bit at the very bottom of the Netherlands which borders onto Aachen and contains Maastricht) was surprisingly nice, mostly rolling farmland with lots of little paths and tracks. I'm going to have to go walking there some time. It's a nice town. We wandered around, saw lots of old buildings including a working mill with a waterwheel and the remains of three town walls of different eras, then sat down for a drink. It's on the river Maas, and you can get a boat to Liège, which takes about 45 minutes.

One thing I forgot to mention last week: Belgium's tractors are all really old and quaint.

Another Vorteil this week: German drivers tend to give way to pedestrians. For instance, if you walk across the mouth of a T-junction drivers will usually stop and let you. I'm used to the English mindset, where they won't, so I usually end up annoying drivers by coming up to the junction and stopping at the same time as they do, resulting in neither of us wanting to cross first. It's all very civilised.

Ritter Sport Ratings

This week I had a training course in Grünenthal GmbH's document management system, CLEO. It was fairly simple and dull, but the course leader was giving out mini Ritter Sports for correct answers to his questions! I fear that I might have got a reputation as a nerd during that course for the way my hand shot up every time, but it was worth it. I got three! :D Pity that winning chocolate doesn't make you any friends. Unless you offer to share the chocolate around, of course, and I was, like, so totally not prepared to do that. I'm not going to review the mini varieties here, as I feel that the quantity sampled was insufficient for a fair evaluation.

Vanilla Liqueur Truffle: 7/10
Vanilla is a good flavour to go with milk chocolate, and so this was pretty delightful. I do feel that all the liqueur varieties pack a bit too much of a punch flavour-wise; it's not that I don't like liqueur chocolate, but a whole Ritter Sport of it is a bit much, even if you eat it slowly and over a long period of time. Hence the non-perfect rating.

Knusperflakes (Crunchy Flakes): 7/10
I liked this one, but... I just remember it being better. In actual fact, it was just a little bit too crunchy for me. Maybe I'm a wuss, but I preferred the milder crunch of Espresso Crunch and Knusperkeks. With this one, the flakes tended to scrape a bit when going down my throat, although the feeling when biting it is fun.

Milk Chocolate: 9/10
I've extolled the virtues of the creamy, succulent Ritter milk chocolate before, in relation to other varieties, but I must confess that I was expecting to be a little bit bored by this one. In actuality, it says a lot for the punch it packs that it's the only flavour so far where I've been unable to restrict myself to at most 5/8ths of a quadrant per day, instead guzzling the whole thing in one go. I don't know how they do it, but this is awesome. Big up to Ritter! This now comes in at second place, knocking Knusperkeks down to third, and is only a smidgeon behind Rhubarb & Strawberry Yoghurt, which holds onto the top spot through novelty value.

Amaretto Truffle: 6/10
The same mostly applies to this as applied to Vanilla Liqueur Truffle. It's a bit much. This one isn't quite so successful, as the almondy flavour doesn't quite have the lay-down-and-die subtlety of vanilla. In addition, the dreaded squishiness makes its reappearance, making this not as rewarding an eat as it could be.


Alastair G Mailer said...

The English motorist could certainly take a few pages on politeness out of the German driver's book. Although he/she should most definately be kept away from Greek drivers, just as ones children should be shielded from bad influence.

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