I started off Monday in full-blown disaster mode. First, I left my office swipe key at home… in my wallet. When I tried to call my boyfriend to ask if he could pretty please come drop it off, I pulled out my phone and realized it wasn’t mine. It was his. Even though mine was in there too, it didn’t do much good if the person I needed to reach wasn’t reachable. I had an appointment later that morning but with no money or metro card for the subway, I wasn’t sure how to get there. When I later tried to use his metro card, I found out it had no money on it. Feeling like a bit of a creep, I had to rifle through his wallet, looking for any spare bills to feed to the metro machine. Then, because I underestimated how long it would take me to get to my appointment, I ended up having to power walk down three or four crowded blocks on Fifth Avenue, elbowing my way through the slow moving throngs of tourists and shoppers.
But finally, when I opened the door and stepped into Saks Fifth Avenue for my appointment at Charbonnel et Walker, things started looking up. I had never been to the chocolate café on the eighth floor of the iconic New York department store, and the second I looked around I asked myself why on Earth I hadn’t. A chocolate fountain, a conveyor belt-like moving display of pastry treats, a glass case with row after row of little chocolates, multicolored truffles filling glass containers, jewelry box-like confections, even a pair of chocolate slippers. Had I taken the elevator higher than I thought? Did Saks somehow have an exclusive entrance to Heaven?
Charbonnel et Walker, British chocolatiers who’ve been making sweet treats for the royal family since 1875, have an elegant little café near Saks’ shoe department, the prefect respite I found, from shopping and other shoppers. They serve tea and coffee, baked treats and individual chocolates, boxed sets and dainty packages, old favorites like brownies and milk chocolates and traditional British treats like sticky toffee chocolate pudding. It was a chocolate paradise in all its glory.
And the chocolates weren’t just pretty either, although dusted in sugar and in different colors and shapes they were definitely aesthetically pleasing. They were delicious too. Some were topped with walnuts or crystallized rose petals, others filled with marzipan or apricot or different liqueurs.
I could have hung out at the café all day, just watching the chocolate fountain’s hypnotizing flow of creamy chocolate, but alas, I had work to get back to. I wasn’t dragging my heels though. In that miraculous way of theirs, just a few chocolates were enough to set my Monday back on the right track.