In “Amadeus,” (1984), Antonio Salieri offers Mozart’s wife, Constanze, a bowl of “capezzoli di venere, (Italian for “nipples of Venus.”) “They’re Roman chestnuts in brandied sugar,” he tells her.
From the way in which she bites into one, coquettishly, if greedily, you know that she’d love to devour the entire lot because it tastes so heavenly, but she can’t simply, for fear of appearing unladylike and piggish.
I’ve been in search of this courtly confectionery ever since I saw the movie as a teen. No luck so far.
There’s another equally scrumptious truffle I want to have, one named after the very composer depicted in it. The Mozartkugel is Austria’s third most famous cultural export after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Sigmund Freud.
It was born in 1890, when Paul Fürst, an ace confectioner in Mozart’s hometown, Salzburg, developed a delicious bonbon with a marzipan and pistachio core, coated in nougat and dark chocolate, which he rolled into a perfectly round bonbon, painstakingly by hand.
It’s still done the same way today, but sadly, only sold in stores within Austria.
During the holiday season, a.k.a. the “holy days,” network television programming tends to get pretty lackluster. Unless you happen to stream, there’s not much to be entertained by.
For instance, 40 years after it premiered on CBS, way back in 1976, “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year,” is still telecast every year in and around the time of Christmas. And that’s how I happened to catch it on Boxing Day, last year. I’m glad I did.
A sequel to “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” released in 1964, it’s about a newborn New Year named Happy. Jeered for his oversize ears (a homonym of “years”), he runs away from the Castle of Time and hides out in the “Archipelago of Past Years,” which is, well, a chain of islands, where Older Years retire.
Its treatment of time—that the past is never lost, but is simply, away from the present—is one that would make sense to a string theorist.
If Happy doesn’t return home before midnight on New Year’s Eve, the hands of the clock will be stuck forever on December 31. Time will stop. So, Father Time contacts the gentleman in a red robe and seeks his help in locating Happy. Santa dispatches Rudolph who’s joined in this expedition by agents of Father Time as well.