Monday, December 14, 2009

We moved!

We moved! I recently got my own domain and moved all the info on this blog in that direction. Please, come visit us there!

Thank you for your support. See you at!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Photographs, trips, Seattle events, holiday photo sessions and what comes with that (plus the nephew special!)

Sculpture by Ted Trey Jones. Photo by Valentina Vitols, Seattle 2009

It's been a while since I last posted an update here. My excuses are valid, though: moving to a new home (in the neighborhood of Eastlake, Seattle), putting up a show and traveling.

A lot has been accomplished. I feel these last two months deserve a bit of a "thumbs up", like the one pictured above, a sculpture by fellow artist and very talented furniture designer Trey Jones. This particular photo shoot was a fun challenge (4 hours), and reminded me how much I enjoy working around other media and with art.

Now, a bit about the trips and the latest work at the studio.

First, we went to Mexico, specifically to Puebla and Tlaxcala State. Three main goals had us fly there: my teaching gig at Esperanza Viva (for Aver School), working a possible photo tour to the area and a long-awaited photo trip. This trip might take two or three blog entries: Mexico is infinitely generous when it comes to giving to people. Images, food, conversations, moods, vibrance. This is why I have been there 7 times...and will go back for more.

Two images called people's attention during the show. The first one was taken on a visit to Hacienda Soltepec (I remember telling my friend Ruth, who was standing next to me, "this one is making the cut!"). The second one was taken close to Puebla's Downtown, on a morning Ryan, Ruth and I went for a photo stroll. Mexico is "texture photography" galore.

Vaquero. Photo by Valentina Vitols, Mexico 2009

Ojo de Metal y Palo. Photo by Valentina Vitols, Mexico 2009

The experience teaching 40 students (ages 8-16) was wonderful and unforgettable. I was blessed to have Ryan helping, and the amazing support of Ruth, founder and Director or Aver School, an initiative I feel so honored to have worked with. The best part of the experience was the kids. Full of life, bursting with interest and very talented. If you want to see the final works of our students, please take a look at Aver School Flickr Pool here.

Kevin & German, my students at Esperanza Viva. Photo by Valentina Vitols. Puebla, Mexico 2009

In the mean time, I had the chance to work with some absolutely amazing clients, at the studio and outside, taking advantage of the end of the Summer and the beauty of our Seattle parks. I met Tanya and Jeff at the Seattle City Stimulus closing party, and they were just ready to bring the family to a photo session. Including their four-legged daughter, Emy.

Wonderful Sounders Family Fun! Photo by Valentina Vitols, Seattle 2009

Loved, loved, loved when Jeff, Tanya, their girls and their cute Frenchie Emy wore their Sounders gear to pose for a family portrait. The day of the studio session they were headed to neighborgh Quest Field for a fun afternoon of my favorite sport, soccer.

Then it was the girls' turn. They were wonderful to work with (including the pup girl).

Alexandria & Sidney holding their cute Frenchie, Emy. Photo by Valentina Vitols, Seattle 2009

A few weeks later, I had the chance to work with a great couple, Timothy & Lori. Even though they got married in Hawaii, they wanted an engagment session in the city where they live, so they asked me to photograph them at Volunteer Park. It wasn't a promising morning, but y'all know how unpredictable Seattle weather can be: a rainy sunrise developed into a golden morning. Couldn't be better. It was so much fun to work with them!

Timothy & Lori at Volunteer Park. Photo by Valentina Vitols, Seattle 2009

Timothy & Lori at Volunteer Park. Photo by Valentina Vitols, Seattle 2009

I also had the chance to work with a little doll named Violet. Photographing children is becoming one of my favorite parts of work. Her loving parents chose The Olympic Sculpture Park for the session, and wind et al, we made it work into some stunning images.

Violet at Olympic Sculpture Park. Photo by Valentina Vitols, Seattle 2009

Violet at Olympic Sculpture Park. Photo by Valentina Vitols, Seattle 2009

Then, the trip to Europe came. We went to a photo trip with fellow photographers from my home country, Venezuela. The school where I began my studies in photography, Roberto Mata Taller de Fotografia, organizes amazing trips through their traveling company, Larga Distancia Expediciones Fotograficas. Thanks to them, I know my country fairly well, and got the opportunity to go to Southeast Asia as a photographer in 2007 (Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar).

This time, we went to Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. For those who don't know, I'm half-Latvian and a citizen of the country. My father was born in Riga, so this trip was very important to me. I will be writing individual posts for each country in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned.

After the photo leg of the trip finished, we spent almost a week in London visiting my family. I got to enjoy my little nephew, who is the most adorable, smart and food savvy little gentleman on the face of earth (yes, not a drop of objective feelings here, I know). Both Ryan and I shot thousands of photos (you read it right). We will be showing them soon, too. For now, here are some candids that I shot while strolling with the family through the city.

Double Decker Bells! Photo by Valentina Vitols. London, UK 2009

My little man. Photo by Valentina Vitols, London UK 2009

I posted these two photos on Twitter asking which one people liked the most (color--or colours, as spelled in the UK--or B&W). Answers were 50-50. Thoughts?

Do you like B&W or Colour? Photo by Valentina Vitols, London, UK 2009

Hey, London! Photo by Valentina Vitols, London UK 2009

After we were back in Seattle, we attended a book event with Jaden Hair, the food writer for Tampa Tribune, television chef on Daytime and Tampa Bay's CBS whose blog,, is a smashing hit. We got together at Bustle in Queen Anne, in a lovely event put together by Keren Brown Media (@franticfoodie on Twitter).

All assistants were encouraged to bring their signature dish. Jaden picked one to prepare in her TV show. The lucky winner was
Scott Heimendinger (@seattlefoodgeek on Twitter).

Jaden generously sharing tips and stories with us. Photo by Valentina Vitols, Seattle 2009 sponsored the event. Photo by Valentina Vitols, Seattle 2009

My cheese, leeks & turkey bacon bread bowl (I cook some times!) Photo by Valentina Vitols, Seattle 2009

What's next for the studio? The weekend of December 4th, 5th and 6th I will be having a Photo Open Studio for those who want to come and have their Holiday photos taken. Is a family event, so bring grandparents, kids and pets (got to love being a pet-friendly business!) Call or send an me an email for appointments.

To wrap up this long entry, I'm going to do something different, and this is a little present for my fellow Seattleites. I'm listing some great events happening in the next 15 days in the Seattle area, to which I'm positive I will be attending to. If you know of any great happening in town, send it my way to post it here (studio at valenvitols dot com).

Seattle Events:

November 18th, 2009: SPUN & Jesica Milton "Shop & Chill". Follow fabulous Sarah from SPUN on Twitter at @choosespun

Until November 19th: Screening of Venezuelan film masterpiece "Araya" at the Northwest Film Forum (@nff on Twitter)

November 21st: A Bastyrian Wintern Madrigal Feast and Fundraiser for the Bastyr University Arts Fund.
Linda Phelps is doing a fantastic job as Bastyr University's choir director.

December 4th: The Carol Brunnettes Show - The Great Figgy Pudding 2009. Lovely @knitpurl will be part of this fun ensemble.

December 4th: Anomie Belle will be performing live, including new material set to release in 2010. Anomie Belle, Tristeza, Drew Andrews (of The Album Leaf) $10 / $12 day of show at the Sunset Tavern (5433 Ballard Ave NW)

December 5th: Ellie Bluebell Designs Annual Holiday Trunk Show. I love working with Ellie Bluebell for Holiday cards. I take the photos, they'll give you beautiful card to go with said photos! They also sell delicious Rosemary Salt (my salt of choice), Lavender Sugar and much more. Message me at studio at valenvitols dot com to send you the Evite!

December 5th: Stella Coffee 1st Anniversary get together (details on their FB fan page)

December 11th: Hello! A Seattle Music Project. Love supporting local bands? This will do it!

Feel free to add more events in the comment box. I will be more than happy to feature them in future entries.

Besos for all!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Valentina & Ryan get their photos married: Showing together for the first time at the Orange Door Studios Open House

Listening to great stories. Photo by Valentina Vitols. Mexico 2009

Holding the Pulque. Photo by Ryan Bello. Mexico 2009

I am very excited to invite fellow Seattleites to come visit Ryan and I at my studio. Please join us in a wonderful afternoon of art at the Orange Door Studio Open House! The best part of this event is that we will be showing the work Ryan and I photographed in Mexico. This is my first show with my super talented husband, which has me jumping up and down.

Nothing can top sharing a passion with your significant other.

Dog. Photo by Ryan Bello. Mexico 2009

Bull horns. Photo by Valentina Vitols. Mexico 2009

Our show is called
Mírame, Tócame (Look at me, Touch me), and it's a collection of Portraits and Texture images we made while in Puebla and Mexico City a few weeks ago. We will also share our experiences at Esperanza Viva, the house for homeless children in Puebla we visited for four days. Along with Aver Schools, we taught a photography class to children between the ages of 7-15. Both Ryan and I were humbled by the experience, and are very grateful to all the people we got to meet and work with during the duration of our trip.

Tree. Photo by Ryan Bello. Mexico 2009

We'll have nibbles, music specially picked for the occasion, and a small portrait studio set for those who want to bring their cameras and play with studio light. We also want to let everybody know that this a kid-friendly event (in my studio).

Doors. Photo by Valentina Vitols. Mexico 2009

Some of our neighbors will have their studios open. We encourage you to visit them as well.

Participating artists:

Christopher Balder - Scott Fife - Laura Haddad & Tom Drugan - Martino Hoss - Gene Gentry McMahon- Jen T. Mills - Joseph Pentheroudakis - Sally Schuh - Ellen Sollod - Valentina Vitols

Date: Saturday, October 17th, 2009
Time: 13:00 to 16:00
Place: Orange Door Studios
Address: 1941 1st Ave S, Seattle WA 98109

Email: studio at valenvitols dot com

We will love seeing you there. Feel free to RSVP here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

¡Hola RS! Welcome to Seattle!

Welcome to Seattle!

A friend, a lovely American girl I met when she was working an internship in my hometown (Caracas), is coming to visit our darling city this weekend. I offered to give her some pointers, and provide a list of places to go and some activities to engage in while she spends Saturday night, Sunday and Monday in Seattle. She's coming with her husband, and they both love food, wine and micro-brews.

I wish I could expand a bit more with menus, and describe places in detail, but that would make this entry endless. When it comes to Seattle, descriptions can get so exciting, they take over the tip of my fingers, possess them and order them to write a book if possible. Concisely as I can, here's what I recommend to my friend, one day at a time.


I have always said that Seattle's essence drifts playful between its neighborhoods. I have a soft spot for Seattle views and dinner in Wallingford. This wonderful neighborhood is a step away from our own stomping grounds, so we visit and enjoy it on a regular basis.

A Saturday night in Seattle can shine like a thousand stars by jump
ing onto these:

1. Enjoy the view of Seattle from Gasworks Park: I am a local and cannot get enough of it. My husband and I find it interesting, "heavenly industrial" and romantic, so much we had our wedding photos taken here.

Gasworks Park, Wallingford, Seattle. Photo by Valentina Vitols. 2009

2. Dinner. Depending on the mood and on what gastronomy your taste buds are expecting to be visited by, my pick would be Cantinetta (North Italian cuisine) or Joule (Asian Fusion). If you desire a low-key, homemade-like dinner, there is the wonderful, heart-warming Golden Olive (Greek-Mediterranean).

Bring your Endive Salad back, Cantinetta!

Be ready to feel the swirling tentacles of the Octopus dish at Joule, playful in your happy mouth!

Ask for the exquisite Roasted Beet salad at Golden Olive!

Lovely food at Joule, Wallingford, Seattle. Photo by Valentina Vitols. 2009

3. Night Cap. No question about it. Drive to Phinney Ridge to wrap up the night at Oliver's Twist
and enjoy great music, truffled popcorn (a bit too seen in the city, but it goes well with libations) and enjoy the not-for-under-21-drinks like a Jack Rose (apple jack, lime, homemade grenadine) or the Presbyterian (bourbon, ginger ale and soda water).

Sunday, oh, lovely day

1. Brunch is a must. Thanks to the power of Twitter and Facebook, I have a long, long list of great Seattle restaurants for brunch now. Among all those suggestions, my picks are either Lola (Modern Mediterranean / North African), Salty's on Alki (Big buffet-style American food) or Springhill (Northwest).

2. Quick stop at SAM (closed on Mondays & Tuesdays) for some art. On the way out, make sure you get some coffee from Stella Caffe. Secret: they make a "Truffle Mocha" with chocolate truffles that is not on the menu and it's to die for. Speaking of which, before you head to the bus, shop for Grey & Smoked Salt Caramels at Fran's. These are all within a minute walking.

Hammering Man at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). Photo by Valentina Vitols 2009

If the decision involves going to West Seattle (either Salty's or Springhill), a stroll thought Alki Beach after brunch will kill the calories and warm the heart. Beautiful and vibrant, there is so much to see in Alk
i it can easily take a few hours of the day, even for locals. The views of Seattle and the landscape being the most impressive part of this tour.

Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle should be one of the stops of the West Seattle adventure, especially if there are beers enthusiasts in the group. This place has one of the best selections in town. Patrons can bring take-out in (including dogs) and eat and enjoy a Lager, Porter, IPA or Stout (among many others).

View from Alki Beach. Summer and its fiery colors. Photo by Valentina Vitols. 2009

Now if the decision is to stay eat in Belltown (Lola), I'd suggest to hop on the bus (17 or 18) and go to Ballard.

What to do in Ballard? Half-a-day might not be enough to cover all the fantastic things to do in this traditional Seattle neighborhood.

1. Ballard Farmers Market. On their blog, they say they are more reliable than the Post Office, as they open year-round, rain or shine, from 10am to 3pm. This market is delightful and is the quintessential Sunday activity for many Seattleites.

2. Coffee at Caffe Fiore and then a short walk to
snack at Cafe Besalú. Coffee, chocolate and orange zest blend together and the result is a Sevilla, one of Fiore's most delicious coffee drinks. The Americano itself, is bold, licorish and sublime, according to my husband. A short walk to get pastries at Cafe Besalú afterward, will make anyone sing.

3. Ballard Locks. Preceded by a stunning botanical garden, the Locks are one of those places I always bring my guest of out-of-town to, and they love it. Seeing boats go up and down in the water to either go into Salmon Bay or the Puget Sound is very entertaining, and unique. Salmon are going through the Locks right now and its possible to watch their pilgrimage through a large, underwater window located in the area.

4. Golden Gardens. Hopping on the bus or the car might be necessary, but Golden Gardens is still in the neighborhood, and a stop that won't be forgotten.

5. Early dinner at Ray's Cafe, with a breathtaking view of Shilshole Bay can be perfect. Ray's is famous for superb dessert.

6. Night cap. A perfect way to wrap the day of would be at Sambar. This minimal lounge has a sophisticated wine, beer and spirits list, where the cocktails' names sound like music, and become seductive in your hands. The have perfect frites, and even better steak to accompany them. Dinner was already served, but there might be still a little space to share!

Monday, Monday

1. Pike Place Market: enjoy the loveliness of an early Monday morning at the Market. Go before 11am. You'll be able to roam around, take some beautiful photos and talk to vendors and artisans.

Sunflowers are still around. I love this kind. Photo by Valentina Vitols 2009

Frequently, the surprised question "Three dollars for a bunch of Dahlias?" can be heard. Yes, flowers at the Market are beautiful and CRAZY cheap. Three things I would do while in the market? Have a couple of cinnamon sugar doughnuts, snap a free sample of Orange-Cinnamon Tea at Market Spices and get at least a bag of Chukar Cherries spectacular Bing Cherries. Don't forget fish can be shipped to NYC!

I know, I do love Sunflowers! Photo by Valentina Vitols 2009

2. Lunch. I would stay in the Market and do any of these amazing places:

Matt's in the Market
: the finds here are their perfect, sheer Don & Joe's Lamb Burger or the unbeatable Braised Beef Brisket sandwich. Both dishes include Macrina breads. If you're in luck, and they have Cantaloupe Sorbet, try it!

Maximilien: privileged view of the Puget Sound, adorned with dishes like Fresh Oysters with Champagne Mignonette or the
Salade Norvégienne (Smoked Salmon, Dungeness Crab, Avocado, tomatoes and toast over mixed greens, dressed in Balsamic vinaigrette). Oh, la lá!

Produce at Pike Place Market. Photo by Valentina Vitols 2009

Steelhead Dinner: what do you want? Rabbit? Coho Salmon? Lamb? Rainbow Trout? Yes, these are all in the menu, ready for you!

Le Pichet (a block away from the Market, on 1st Ave and Virginia St). I am just an eater with a really curious palate, and maybe a fairly good experience...and for me, Le Pichet makes the best lentils in Seattle. And the "craft" best coconut sorbet, too. Anyone wanting to venture into food adventures (sounds funny) should try their tongue dish, if they have it. Sublime!

Fishmonger in Pike Place Market. Photo by Valentina Vitols 2009

3. Ferry Ride. The Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry is, for me, a must-do for an out-of-town guest. The schedule allows visitors some flexibility to stroll around the island once getting there. Mora Ice Creamery is where one can quench the thirst of walking from the ferry terminal...only with creamy sweetness. Their
Gianduja ice cream is fabulous. Along Marron Glacé and Dulce de Leche, they honor the flavors of the owners hometown, spectacular Buenos Aires.

Seattle from the Ferry. Photo by Valentina Vitols 2009

4. Tea Time in Capitol Hill. One of my new favorite places in Capitol Hill is HEALEO. A charming and urban "Nutrition Bar", this place carries more than vitamins and supplements. Their Caramelized Pear Tea induces non-stop sighing. They serve the teas in pretty, pretty pots. If you prefer smoothies instead, try their Almond Coconut Delight. Ever since I had it the first time, it reminded me of the good, ol' Cocadas in my country, Venezuela.

HEALEO smoothies. Photo by Valentina Vitols 2009

Other afternoon delights in Capitol Hill can be found at Espresso Vivace and Dilletante. First one prides on serving "Una bella tazza di caffe". True. Caffe Nico is a proof of this. Dilletante holds a long, long tradition, which includes a more modern cocktails-with-chocolate options!

Caffe Nico, Espresso Vivace. Photo by Valentina Vitols 2009

5. Wrapping up in Seattle. Around 48 hours in our fair city...not much but enough as
hors d'oeuvres.

Whatever the decision is on how to spend the last hours in Seattle, which can include a bite at Quinn's or a drink in the new Tavern Law, don't miss one spot that is highly touristy but at the same time, breathtaking. Kerry Park is a place where people may say goodbye to Seattle, but, most likely, that farewell will become a promise to come back. I am not going to post a photo so your eyes will have the opportunity to look at this view without a preview.

Say goodbye to Seattle by making a last stop at Gelatiamo. Again, coconut will make you smile.

Enjoy your stay, RS!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Latest works: pointing the camera towards different subjects...not one step at a time, but many!

One of the loves of my life! Photo by Valentina Vitols
Copyright © 2005-2009

Dave Sheely Designs. Photo by Valentina Vitols
Copyright © 2005-2009

This has been one busy, wonderful Summer. I have been working and photographing my "favorite things" here and there. Seattle, children, wondrous food, and fantastic small businesses' pieces of art. It has been "a bit here, a bit there."

Macaron from Honoré Artisan Bakery in Ballard. Photo by Valentina Vitols
Copyright © 2005-2009

Did I say food?

Recently, I gave my husband Ryan my "old" Nikon. By old, I mean a two-and-a-half-year old, great DSLR that was replaced by a full-frame DSLR for my practice. He has always liked photography, but now, of course, he's hooked. It is divine. We have been going around clicking. He now plays a lot with his Zooomr account and has a Tumblr blog, Cuh-Click.

My good-looking husband and his new toy. Photo by Valentina Vitols
Copyright © 2005-2009

Like me, he has been taking a lot of food photographs. Maybe that is the reason he used it to explain what photography has become to him. He told me, "you want photographs to be like a delicious plate of food, an interesting one, too. You don't want to eat the same thing everyday. Photographs should be always new, exciting and mouthwatering. They should be food for your eyes."

Palatable, uh? What a great way to put it!

I found this to be true for me. I indulge in the visuals. Observation is my tray of hors d'oeuvres. Rule of thirds (as simple as it sounds), is the way I prepare my food. Getting close to fill the frame is me leaning over my plate and breathing the aromas in, deeply. Photos are bites. Every angle, every attempt to look at a subject from a different perspective is like slowly chewing and savoring pieces of an entree.

Unusually orange but delicious OJ & Carrot Juice at Oddfellows Cafe
Photo by Valentina Vitols. Copyright © 2005-2009

Editing gives that nervousness and anticipation one feels between a meal and dessert. And the sweet rewards comes in the form of final images...nothing feels like a scoop of condensed milk ice cream (thank you, Joule) or Sugar Dusties with a large French Press (thanks, Art of the Table). That same feeling I have when looking at my handsome, beautiful, wonderful subjects.

@ZoeZendog. Photo by Valentina Vitols
Copyright © 2005-2009

I am thankful for the opportunity to point my camera at such interesting people and happenings. Many of these opportunities are tied to Twitter. Being @valenvitols has brought me such joy, and new friendships that I cherish like my old ones.

Gorgeous Lorna Yee performing a Chef Demo at the Queen Anne Farmers Market.
Photo by Valentina Vitols. Copyright © 2005-2009

Top Chef Robin Leventhal performing a Chef Demo at Queen Anne Farmers Market.
Photo by Valentina Vitols. Copyright © 2005-2009

It doesn't matter if I just have to "walk up the hill" (pant, pant, it's Queen Anne) to visit my neighborhood's Farmers Market, or I take my "yes, a bit large" camera at a restaurant and keep my poor friends from eating (that's @bitterbiscuit, always!). I also flew to Florida, to see my family and meet some friends from high-school (Caraqueñas "exilees", just like yours truly). One of these gatherings ended up with an impromptu photo session of my friend María's daughter, at Vizcaya Palace in Miami.

Valeria at Vizcaya Palace, Miami, FL.
Photo by Valentina Vitols. Copyright © 2005-2009

Vizcaya Palace, Miami, FL.
Photo by Valentina Vitols. Copyright © 2005-2009

I will stop here. Have a wonderful weekend, Seattle (and everywhere else!)


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Photos from the Queen Anne Farmers Market

Northwest Gazpacho. Copyright © 2005-2009 Valentina Vitols. All rights reserved.

@chefreinvented, Seattle Chef Becky Selengut. Copyright © 2005-2009 Valentina Vitols. All rights reserved.

My darling husband and I visited the Queen Anne Farmers Market (in our neighborhood) last Thursday. Ryan is now the proud owner of a Nikon DSLR (his first one!) and has been snapping pictures around, happy as a kid! I'm helping him with some photo essentials, and the results have been wonderful. The best part, though, is to be able to share my passion with my love. Nothing compares!

I made some photos myself. Chef Becky Selengut was doing the weekly cooking demo and delighted us with Northwest Gazpacho. The photos on this post were later used in the Queen Anne Farmers Market Blog. Thanks to them for including my images in their lovely post (read the post by clicking here). If you want to see the rest of the photos, please click here to go to my Queen Anne Photos' Flickr page.

Stay tuned for information about a Food Photography Workshop I'll be teaching on September, 3rd at this fabulous neighborhood's Market.

Queen Anne Farmers Market: Thursdays 3-7 pm, June 18th to October 1st West Crockett & Queen Anne Ave.
Join them on Twitter: @qafarmersmarket


Food Photo Workshop at the Queen Anne Farmers Market

Copyright © 2005-2009 Valentina Vitols. All rights reserved.

Update: We had to cancel the kids workshop. We apologize for this, kiddos! This means that adults will get an extra 30 minutes of instruction. We have only two spots left. Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Do you love food? Do you love tweeting about what you eat? Do you blog and have an interest in food? Are you intrigued by those purple carrots Mom just brought home for dinner (at the Farmers Market)? Are you interested in making art?

If you said "yes!" at least once, this is a wonderful opportunity to learn some basic tips about photography and how to take pictures of food.
Take advantage of the spectacular specimens sold by the colorful flower vendors, the beautiful produce items, and other products at the Market, to make your best photos in the last days of summer.

I am very excited to announce that I'll be teaching a couple of Food Photo Workshops at the Queen Anne Farmers Market (located in my beloved neighborhood). I'll be there on Thursday, September 3rd, on the "Beautiful Food Day".

The first workshop is for kids, ages 6 to 12, (5pm-6pm) and the second one is for adults (6pm-7pm).
Whether you have only a toy camera, a point and shoot, or a "prosumer" camera, this workshop is designed for all photography enthusiasts.

Join us for this fun activity while shopping at our fabulous neighborhood Farmers Market!
Queen Anne Farmers Market: Thursdays 3-7 pm, June 18th to October 1st West Crockett & Queen Anne Ave.

Please register here:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seattle Luxury Chocolate Salon Memories and Photos

While strolling around this fabulous event (Sunday, July 12th, 2009 at Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle), I kept on remembering this dialogue from the movie Chocolat:

"Vianne Rocher: And these are for your husband. Unrefined cacao nibs from Guatemala, to awaken the passions.

Yvette Marceau: Psshh. You've obviously never met my husband.

Vianne Rocher: Well, you've obviously never tried these."

I believe in the power of chocolate as an aphrodisiac, a mood-enhancer, a spoiler and a sublime element that unites lives and souls. I am never ashamed to recognize my own, perfect addiction.

I bless the day Venezuela was chosen as the country where I was born and raised, a country that was gifted with one of the finest cocoas in the world. I grew up a bit unaware of this, but enjoying the struggle between the urgency to devour and the willingness to let chocolate melt between my teeth, and on top of my tongue.

It was exciting to hear "yes!" from most of the participants at my "do you use cocoa from Venezuela?" question. I am so proud of our cocoa. I told that to all the wonderful "artisans of the sugary" I met that afternoon.

My "Best in Show"? Claudio Corallo "Esferas de Massa de Cacau 100% con gengibre cristalizado". Flawless tiny chocolate balls filled with a mousse-like ginger paste. A caress for the tongue. Two of my three runner-ups were a big surprise for me, as I am not that into white chocolate. These were decadent and unforgettable: Suess Chocolate's "Citrus White Chocolate Truffle" and Divine Chocolate's "White Chocolate and Strawberry Bar" (found it to be very palate friendly, good for kids and adults).

My third favorite: Forté's Salted Caramels.

Please, take a minute or two to look at the photos I made from the event. Click here to access the online gallery where they are displayed at.

(All three photos in this entry are copyright © 2005-2009 Valentina Vitols. All rights reserved.)