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Today is one of my favorite days of the whole year!  It’s not a holiday, it’s not a weekend, it’s not my birthday – it’s the first full day of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament!  Thirty-two teams play in sixteen games today and then the other thirty-two teams play tomorrow.  It’s ALL DAY hoop action!  Upsets abound, and people cheer for teams they’ve never even heard of, just because they picked them on their bracket or because they want them to beat a team that stands in their team’s way of reaching the Final Four.  The sports announcers are in hog heaven, getting to speculate and prognosticate, and leading us in a cheer for underdogs everywhere (unless it will affect their bracket!).

It’s a tradition at our house for everyone to fill out a bracket or two.  I have always filled out two – one with the teams that I WANT to win, and one with the teams I think will win.  It gets harder and harder for me to distinguish between the two!  I tend to always start with the winner, and usually Duke gets inked in that spot….  I work backwards from there.  I have a hard time picking teams I don’t like to win even their first round matches, regardless of how high they are seeded.  I am virtually glued to the television set from the minute games start until the end of the day.  My son and I chat several times during the day as we compare brackets and cheer on our teams.  My daughter and I will compare notes and commiserate when our teams lose and whoop and holler when they win.

The fun doesn’t end on Friday – there are sixteen more games to be played over the weekend!  It’s like IV basketball!  Now that you know what a fanatic I am, you might have a new appreciation for where I was this time last year.  Last March, on the 6th, to be exact, Mary and I boarded a plane bound for Sydney, Australia.  That means we left before the tournament started, and we got home after it was all over.  I missed the WHOLE THING!  In the good news/bad news category, Duke lost in the first round – I didn’t have to see it, and I didn’t have to miss not seeing them play.  And best of all, I was DOWN UNDER!  The whole tournament was the last thing on my mind.

One year ago today, I was in Melbourne, Victoria, with Mary, Shelley, Kerrianne, and Janice.  It’s Janice’s city, so she was showing us around.  The highlight of this day (for me) was our visit to Chokolait in the Hub Arcade (right next to the Royal Arcade).  Even though we had just had breakfast, I was tempted to try their unforgettable Chili Hot Chocolate, Texas-style.  “Freshly prepared with genuine Belgian chocolate for a rich, smooth, and sumptuous hot chocolate experience.  Dark or milk, chilli or cinnamon; White, jaffa, affogato or mocha”  YUM!!  Mary and I had chilli, of course.  It was like drinking a melted chocolate bar (of the finest varietly) with a kick of chili powder.  So, so, delicious!  And in case that wasn’t enough, we were all tempted by (and succumbed to) the Chokolait Pavlova with strawberries and double cream.  O. M. G.!!!!

The Pav was so good that I had to message owner Ross (yes, of course we met him and had a photo taken with him!) for the recipe after I got home.  He kindly obliged (through a rather hilarious series of emails) and I made the heavenly treat for the American Pixies who came to Tiki later in April.  Meanwhile, back in Melbourne, we were so stuffed we could barely waddle back to the arcade, where we immediately stopped at Suga (see Janice’s page posted on our Facebook wall recently) and watched them make candy.  For those inquiring minds who want to know, we did NOT eat lunch that day!  But we did see more chocolate…..  And who knows, the Chokolait Pavlova may become a March Madness tradition here!

Let’s go Duke!

Jan

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9 Responses to Blog: March Madness

  1. Mary says:

    Jan…just thinking about that day adds pounds to my waist and a smile to my face! March Madness big here too but Baylor women all the way! Sic Em Bears!

  2. adakallen adakallen says:

    Do you have the recipe? Can you share it?

    • Jan says:

      I have the recipe, Ada, but it’s pretty hard to translate. Measurements are metric, as are temperatures, and some of the ingredients are hard to translate. I do not have permission to share the “SECRET” recipe, but I suspect if you go to the Chokolait website or FB page, you might get it from Ross!

  3. Tameka says:

    The chocolate Pav was delicious. It if fun to hear the story behind it. As for the basket ball part… I hear nothing *lalalalalalalalalalalalalaalala – holding my fingers in my ears*.

  4. Chocolate? Basketball? Chocolate? Basket….CHOCOLATE!

  5. Cindy Rold says:

    I knew when I saw the title “March Madness” that this post was written by Jan. After all those years of living in Durham, how could you not be a Duke fan? I worked at Duke for two years and still cheer for them every spring, even though I haven’t worked there for years. I’m not quite as engaged as you are in all of the March Madness, but I did go to the Final Four two years ago and that was a lot of fun. I also discovered Pavlova when I was in Australia many years ago. Loved reading about yours and seeing the photos.

    • Jan says:

      Thanks, Cindy! Glad you are a Blue Devil fan, too, at least in March! The year we moved to Durham was the same year Coach K started at Duke, so it’s been a fun, fun ride. I’ve been to a couple of Final Fours, but none that Duke won, sadly. I’ve been a Pav fan for a long time – love making them for special desserts.

  6. Carolyn says:

    Jan, you’re a basketball fan?

    :-).

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