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Friday 30 January 2015

Chocolate FX

Get your chocolate fix at Chocolate F/X.

Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada
Address: 335 Four Mile Creek Road
Date: Jan 2015
Website:  www.chocolatefx.ca

  While we were visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake, we decided we could use a little chocolate to go with our wine.  Chocolate F/X offers tours of their factory to see the chocolate making process in action.  During the tour we were shown a cocoa pod which looks kind of like a football.  Inside rattling around you could hear the cocoa beans.  Our tour guide told us that the dark chocolate comes from the beans and white chocolate comes from the oils.
  On the other side of a big window was the factory.  A worker was there wearing ear protection, a hair net and a beard net.  We guess technically he was wearing two hair nets.  The guide told us that whatever is being covered in chocolate is put into one of the giant metal drums and then chocolate is repeatedly coated over it.  Sometimes it takes the whole day to get just the right thickness of coating.  Once the product is ready it is taken out of the drum and the whole drum is cleaned by hand to get ready for the next batch.  There were some hair dryers which they use to help melt the chocolate off the walls during cleaning.
  We were told that when the product emerges it is usually bumpy from bouncing around in the drum.  They then cover it in corn syrup to make it smooth and round like the public expects.  We say no need for the syrup.  Chocolate is chocolate.  Bumpy would be fine with us.

Tub of chocolate.

  In the hallway where the tour takes place there were two pictures.  The bottom picture was of a messy child covered in chocolate.  This picture also appears on some of the packaging so we assume it is someone associated with the business.  The other picture was of a monkey in a thorn bush so concerned with cleanliness that he was using one of the thorns to pick his teeth.  We purchased a few tubs of chocolate and using a voucher from our hotel we were also treated to a chocolate dipped strawberry after the tour.  We managed to keep the chocolate off our hands and faces and get it into our mouths where it belongs.

Map of Our World
Chocolate FX

Post # 36

Tuesday 20 January 2015

The Big Apple

The other Big Apple.

Location: Colborne, Ontario, Canada
Address: 262 Orchard Drive
Date: July 2004
Website:  www.thebigapple.ca

  Did we tell you that we were in The Big Apple last weekend?  You were in New York?  Well, no, but we are not lying.  Located about halfway between Toronto and Kingston, Ontario is a giant apple that you can actually go inside.  You can then climb the stairs and look out from the observation deck at the top.  It is a good spot for a break when driving along Highway 401.  It is also a good spot to pick up some apple pie or bread, freshly baked on site. There is a small petting zoo, games like mini golf or shuffleboard, and other food and candy.
  We stopped to climb the apple as we can not resist these things.  It is the world's biggest apple after all.  While it is not quite as big as New York City, it is definitely the biggest apple that we have seen.  You can't miss it when driving by on the highway.  So stop and take a break, and take some pictures too.  This is the sort of thing you should do while enjoying life on vacation.

Map of Our World
The Big Apple

Post # 35

Saturday 10 January 2015

Ellis Island


Location: New York, New York, USA
Address: Ellis Island
Date: Jan 2009
Website:  www.nps.gov/elis/index.htm
   Any trip to the Statue of Liberty also includes a boat trip to Ellis Island.  Ellis Island used to be the main point of immigration into America.  There were about 12 million immigrants from the time it opened in 1892 until it closed its doors in 1954.  After it closed it fell into disrepair.  It was eventually restored and re-opened to the public as an Immigration Museum in 1990.  The island is jointly owned by New York and New Jersey and after a 1998 court battle, the majority belongs to New Jersey.  During a typical visit to the island you will most likely have been in both states.  New Jersey even has a bridge that connects the island with the mainland, but it is not open to the general public. 

Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal

   To get to Ellis Island or Liberty Island you must go by boat.   You have the choice of deciding which return boat you take. It just depends if you wish to end up in New York or New Jersey after your visit.

Ellis Island Great Hall

  The Registry Room is the most impressive.  It is here that the crowds waited for their chance to enter the country.  There are also many exhibits that explain the building's history and show what the experience would have been like.  It also shows many of the faces that make up the country today.

Wall of Faces

  Across the water Lady Liberty is visible from the Great Hall.  Like all the hopeful immigrants who passed through this island many years ago, we arrived by boat.  However, the trip from Ellis Island was much easier for us.  The line-up for the boat was nice and short and we didn't even have to show any paperwork in order to be allowed back to Manhattan.

Statue of Liberty from Ellis Island

Map of Our World
Ellis Island

Post # 34