Fringe Benefit Of TEFL #10: Local Goodies

chocolate.jpgEFL has for me been a vehicle for all sorts of important realizations – about taking off your shoes, about Mexican food abroad, and about being functionally illiterate, to name just a few.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share my foray into yet another important sphere: chocolate. Had I not come abroad to teach, in that way ensuring a long enough stay to gain a true understanding of the great variety that exists, I would probably still think Hershey’s Special Dark was the height of good chocolate.

In reality, US chocolate pales in comparison to what’s on offer even in Eastern Europe. [ I will stick up for the US chocolate / peanut butter combo – you can’t go wrong with Reese’s.] But although twenty years ago people were queuing for bananas in some Soviet-influenced countries, things are different today. Especially for chocolate.

Let me introduce you to one of my favorites: Milka.

It comes in varieties such as “Keks” (buiscuit-ish cookie and cream inside the flat, Heshey’s-shaped bar), Noisette (finely ground hazelnut blended into milk chocolate) and my all-time favorite: Spekulatius (crunchy windmill cookie bits and crème blended in). Today, Milka is owned by Kraft, but it does in fact have Swiss roots according to this brief history…and it seems like it is mainly available in Europe. I don’t think every single chocolate is necessarily better than what you can find in the US, but there are just so any kinds.

Granted, chocolate will not be so impressive everywhere, but there are usually at least a few unique sweets. And teachers do have good access to these sweets, not simply because we are living abroad, but because some of us teach those who live for them: children. If you give them the right clues, sometimes even adult students will give you goodies.

Any examples?