bolinhas do carlos

and since the theme of the moment seems to be sweet stuff, i’m going to mention the typical beach snack in portugal too: bolas de berlim! they’re a different species from their german or slovenian counterparts, in that they’re not filled with jam or covered with a thin layer of chocolate. these balls are serious business, cut in half and properly filled with “creme pasteleiro”, a kind of thick egg cream.

as a rule, they’re outstanding everywhere in portugal, but somehow they seem to taste better at the beach… maybe something about all that sea breeze opening one’s appetite? :D men carry them around the beach in styrofoam boxes, shouting out loud “booooooliiiinha!” so that everyone can hear and come to them for their sweet craving.

we like them a lot but truth be told, we don’t go to the beach all that often… so when a friend told us they could be purchased straight from the source, we drove to the factory in olhão and got some!

i have to say, i was a bit skeptical but they were a-ma-zing! still warm from the frying and filled with the freshest egg cream, not too lemony or otherwise weird — just as i like them. what a treat!

sadly, the factory closes over winter, and we’re already counting the days until they’re back in business. see you soon, dear bolinhas!


and since we’re on a chocolate bend, i’m long overdue in mentioning a very cute german chocolate which our friends showed us last year. isn’t the tin precious?

the secret is in the name: scho-ka-kola = chocolate (schokolade) + coffee (kaffee) cola nuts (kolanuss)!

apparently it used to be given to german troops on ww2, to keep them awake during long flights or cheer them up after defeats, and works like an energy drink… but better, because it has chocolate! the wavy triangles deliver a kick of caffeine in each bite — a very practical and welcome energy injection while hiking or going about one’s day.

i love the bitterness of coffee by itself, but the combination of the two is pretty cool sweet as well. :)


what about those milk hearts? we were acquainted with them a couple of years ago in finland, when our norwegian friends brought some to a postcrossing meetup just to tempt us. they wrote this on the box:

it reads: “norwegian chocolate! want more? come to the international meetup in oslo…” so sneaky and clever!

alas, we didn’t make it that meeting in oslo, but luckily, in the meantime more freia chocolate hearts have made it to our mouths, as we were the recipients of a couple of boxes in a lottery gift last year — jackpot!

there are those storks again, and underneath them, a neat matrix of chocolate hearts!

the chocolate is creamy and mellow, and they are so thin that they immediately melt in your mouth once they land there. i like them like that: just an itsy-bitsy sweet indulgence with coffee or as dessert.

sounds like there are some pretty sweet reasons to visit norway soon… :P

kvikk lunsj

quick lunch chocolate

when we were back in germany earlier this year, some norwegian friends introduced us to kvikk lunsj (aka “quick lunch”!), a chocolate snack from their country. we already liked the brand (freia) for their their mellow chocolate hearts, so we were curious to try other creations.

quick lunch chocolate

traditionally this is a mountain snack — something to take on your trips into the wilderness, for when you might need a pick me up. once unwrapped, it looks a lot like a kit kat bar but with cute storks stamped on each chocolate finger.

quick lunch chocolate

and when you bite into it, the interior is pretty much like a kit kat bar too, made of crispy waffers covered in chocolate. no objections here and perfect for sharing!
quick lunch chocolate

one cute detail: the norwegian mountain code is printed inside! it says things like “plan your trip and inform others about the route you have selected” or “pay attention to the weather and the avalanche warnings“. my favourite: “don’t be ashamed to turn around” — sounds like good advice… and not just for mountain trips!

the sock saga

one day, we were walking around tavira when we stumbled on a sign on a clothes shop that read “knitting club”… and despite being in college the last time i knit anything, i immediately wanted to sign up for that. knitting is a bit of a solitary activity, but with company it transforms into something so much better. besides, i’ve always been more of a hands-on learning person, so i was hoping to be able to absorb some knowledge through watching the group knit.

when i joined the ladies there were doing socks, so socks it was!

of course, i had never knit anything but scarves and badly made hats, so i must have started these at least 20 times…

but eventually kept going, helped by the kind encouragement of the group and some youtube watching. doing the magic loop allows you to knit 2 socks using just one circular pair of needles, which i had never tried before but is brilliant. for weeks, i knit on long rides and while on the phone with friends and family. slowly but surely, the socks grew.

and now, here they are! perhaps a bit tight and wonky, but i’m so super proud of being able to do this with my own hands. i’m already planning the next pair, and a weather scarf of 2018’s temperatures. :)