Ah, chocolates—delectable, romantic, and above all, sweet.
I adore all varieties of chocolates: dark, white, bitter, milk; those studded with nuts and fruits; those filled with liquor, caramel, and cream.
But throw into this array herbs and spices and chocolate loses its very personality, not merely its unique flavor.
Recently, M. and I had the opportunity of tasting what I call the “deviants” of the chocolate family: dainty nuggets, which looked every bit the luxurious chocolates that they were, but tasted anything but.
We were at an award-winning chocolate boutique in Brooklyn’s Park Slope: The Chocolate Room.
The assembled crowd there, of well-dressed and well-to-do young couples, all pressed around the counter for their orders to be taken.
Though the cramped room posed no obstruction to viewing the goodies that lay in the pastry cases, it certainly made it difficult to gauge them. And what was visible was enough to whet our appetites: an impressive parade of trays of exquisitely decorated chocolates with names of women from Victorian England. How could we go wrong with these?
We asked for a dozen such beauties. Each was plucked with great care by a pair of gloved hands, and deposited with even greater adroitness in a little square box.
Later, we popped a few in our mouths. Had the receipt not been a reminder of how costly they were we’d have gladly retched them out. They set M. back by $25.
The one with a peppercorn kernel ignited a burning sensation in the ceiling of my mouth; the salty one induced a sturgeon face; and by the time I tried the one with a ginger interior, we were raring to have some hot food in their true habitat—amid the non-sweet.
This experience was oddly unsavory and savory at once.