Monthly Archives: January 2011

Neuhaus tidbits

First of all, I want to apologise, that the following pictures and descriptions may not be suitable for all audiences and may disturb some viewers. I have warned you… So, to cut the not so long story even shorter, I went to buy some “new” (which stands for ‘not yet tasted by me’) pieces of Neuhaus sweets on Saturday, with the cruel goal of photographing, tasting, and blogging about them…

I know, this is not really nice of me, but hate me if you want ;) You can always come to Belgium, and try these! Or if you live in Belgium, start your Monday in your local Neuhaus shop, and then I can guarantee you, that it will make this Monday much better, than an average, miserable first day of a usual week of work. But let’s write about the chocolate!

Neuhaus Manon Sucre Vanille

One of the very few pralines, which you can not buy as part of a big box of pralines, but you need to buy them separately, in small packs of five. One of the reasons behind this market strategy is that these are still hand made, and such, more exclusive. Or special, if you wish. And this is true for their taste too… The official description is as follows: Enjoy the richness of Madagascar vanilla butter cream, and the whole pecan nut and traditional nougatine piece decoration. Fork-dipped in vanilla confectioner’s sugar, this manon is a marvel of the confectioner’s knowledge and expertise. With my own words: it is just awesome. Smooth, rich, fresh, and complex taste, which makes it very difficult to stop eating all the five pieces immediately :) My personal record (for the longest time from the 1st to the 5th) is a half day… This is now my favorite praline along with the Séduction (also from the same company). Downside: very expensive :(

Rating: 5* (outstanding)
Price: 8.5 € / 5 piece

Neuhaus Raspberry Tablet

Now let’s move on to the special “Tablet” collection of Neuhaus. These are “normal” 100 gram tablets with or without some extra component added to them. In this case, the official description is this: For dark chocolate lovers Neuhaus has created another summer flavour: dark chocolate (56 %) with real oven-dried raspberries. Thanks to the slow drying process, the raspberries have obtained their full flavour. A pure and intense taste thanks to the bitterness of the dark chocolate combined with the fruity aspect of raspberries. And what can I add to this: that it is indeed true. I don’t like plain dark chocolate, only if it is combined with fruits. In this tablet, the harmony is perfect. Still, I suggest it for the dark chocolate lovers (or to those who are already fed up with pralines :D).

Rating: 4/5 (good/very good)
Price: 4.5 € / 100 g

Birthday presents (came a bit early)

My birthday is not yet here (though it is not that far either), but DHL was too fast and delivered my presents already on Friday :) But there is no problem, because I am sure that I will not be able to use them before the real date. I am afraid, that I will even have to wait quite some time before I can really use them :(

Yeah, they are pretty cool :] It is a new wheel-set for my racing bike, a Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL. And they will not only make the bike look better, but also faster, as these wheels are much more aerodynamic than (my) normal ones (thanks to mainly the 52 mm deep carbon rim, bladed spokes and integrated nipples – as it can be seen below). That’s why they are called “aero wheels”…

And the reason for not being able to ride these? The weather. There is still one month left from winter (hopefully not more), and it is very cold these days. I really don’t want to ride outside in temperatures below 5°C… (And today it was between -6°C and +1°C…) So until then, I will not even install the new wheels, because for the indoor trainer, there is no difference :D But then, I hope they roll as good as they look ;)

By the way, I was very lucky with this purchase. The original plan was to buy such wheels somewhen during the spring, but I had the link to its product page on Rose Versand (I basically order all my cycling stuff from this on-line shop) for months now (since summer), but the price was 799 €, which is a “bit” over the limit for a wheel-set. (Back in Hungary, the first bike which I bought was a quite nice Merida trekking bike, perfect for every day commuting between our place and the university, and it costed 1/3 of this price…) So I thought I would just wait with this, and that’s what I did for more than a half year. Of course, once in every week, I checked the price on the site, and then on the 18th of January, it suddenly dropped to 479 € (it meant a 320 € reduction!), so I placed my order almost immediately. One day later, it was already out of stock, so I was very lucky :) I can’t wait to try it!

It’s too late to be a pessimist!

This evening, one and a half year after it had appeared on YouTube, I finally watched “HOME” (during a low intensity recovery session on my indoor trainer). Climate change and overpopulation are known problems for the planet and its citizens. And among them; for us, humans. Independent of skin colour, country, origin and religion. It is our problem. A chain of problems which were and are caused by us…

It should be obligatory to watch this movie for all of us. You have one and a half hour for this. You must have this time, and now, not later. Because then it might be already too late… Watch the full movie on YouTube. And then think about how you live, and what do you do for our Home. And then think about the most important question: What are we waiting for?

Nothing special is happening…

The number (density) of posts here has recently fallen to previously unseen depths, but there is really nothing special happening these days. And it is a bit boring to write about the normal days. From 2011, I will publish only when there is something truly interesting (or if I have too much free time, but that is very unlikely to happen). Sorry. Or if you really can not live without my (sometimes useless) thoughts, then follow me on Twitter (and it’s usually the same stuff on Facebook too)… In the last weeks, I saw the partial solar eclipse on the morning of the 4th (for like 10 seconds from the ring while I was riding to work), we started to play badminton again (twice a week), we had our usual fancy Christmas Dinner in the Faculty Club (and I got and gave chocolate :D), I went ice-skating, I played FIFA11 on-line with a colleague of mine (and I won :D), I have bought a digital scale (to track my weight), and the weather was so nice and warm last Sunday that I could go and ride my racing bike outside (to Mechelen and back of course). Oh, yes, and I drank some beer (Boon Oude Kriek 2006, Cantillon Kriek 100% Lambic Bio, Tumulus Magna, Boon Framboise 2008, Pannepot Reserva 2008), and ate some amasing pralines ;) This week I will spend two days (4×4 hours) with supervising (a.k.a. sitting there) on exams (as part of my teaching duties), so finally I will have some time to read a non work-related book. Preferably a novel. Or two…

My first “first-author” paper is accepted!

After months of work, uncountable iterations, and one round of revisions, the first scientific article in which I am involved as a first author is now accepted for publication in an international journal (Astronomy and Astrophysics)! It is not yet printed (that will take probably some additional months, but we do not really care about that anymore, in the age of the internet…), but the accepted version – before the language editing – can be found on arxiv.org already. I know this is not the most interesting paper ever, but I can assure you, that the star I am working on now will be a much bigger shot ;) Just wait for it… Anyway, as this is a very important step along the road which leads to a PhD degree, we have a tradition at the Institute, that one who publishes his/her first first-author paper, gives a reception to celebrate this event. So on Thursday afternoon, I served my colleagues with cakes, chips, 1 kg of Leonidas pralines (this will be a a tradition on my receptions ;D), champagne and wines. Among which there were two bottles of Royal Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos from 2006 (Tokaj is the region, Aszú is the type, the number of “puttony” is a measure of sweetness), a special Hungarian sweet dessert wine from the list of the World’s Top 100 wines of 2010. And at the end, we also opened a bottle of Pálinka (with honey and sour cherries). As far as I can tell, everyone was very happy with the reception ;)