This fell out of my notebook this morning. I think it means I should make one for the blizzard that's coming our way. I love the random reminders of travels past. This was from Costa Rica - JP (the same guy who made the bliss balls) made this Veggie Pate for lunch for us one day when we were pressed for time and needed some help. This note was packed in with the tray. I'm a sucker for a chef that lists love as an ingredient...
Where do I begin.... Anyone that knows anything about food (or should I say sweets) in Paris knows about Angelina's. The famed, the amazing, the sublime... Angelina's. I've been coming here for 20 years and it has never failed me.
The place to start, I suppose, is the African Hot Chocolate. It is assuredly unlike any other hot chocolate you have ever tried. Thick, rich and perfectly balanced. With an intense chocolate flavor not for the faint of heart. The best part is that it's served with a side of whipped cream - so you can be in control of diluting it to you liking, changing the drink back and forth from strong to creamy as you drink it. Imagine. A carafe of drinkable chocolate - a bowl of fresh whipped cream - served to your table in an atmosphere of gilded gold. There are few things better in this world.
The other thing they are rightfully famous for is the Mont Blanc. This is a desert I would normally not be fond of. I don't like meringue - in any form. I'm appalled at the big clumps of it being sold throughout France (and Miami - it's also loved by Cubans). But it works so perfectly here that I'm able to transcend my dislike of it and embrace it. So this is what a Mont Blanc is: meringue, vanilla whipped cream and chestnut puree (that's the noodle looking stuff on top). It's a perfect balance of not too sweet, creamy, crunchy, smooth, earthy, can't stop eating it until it's done divineness. Did earthy throw you? The chestnut puree has that sense of frolicking through the forest, not quite sure what it tastes like, fluffy, understated magnificence. That's what I mean by earthy. I'm not sure if the whole thing is an acquired taste of sorts, but I have come to love it.
Anything else that you order from here will be great. It may not have the exact finesse of Laduree (which will be another post) but it will be delectable and bring happiness to your life in that moment. Wandering through the streets, past the Louvre, through the Tuileries... life is grand. How can you argue it when you've just tasted the decadence of the angels?
VANILLE. It's intoxicating to me. Whatever form its in - Perfume, tea, ice cream... I could happily eat only the vanilla side of a black and white cookie. I don't drink coke, but make it vanilla coke and I'll have some. It makes everything better. It's like taking a happy pill. Smother me in the scent and taste of vanilla and all is right in the world, if only for a few moments.So imagine my delight at grabbing this vanilla yogurt pot from the grocery store. Just your typical grocery store and just a typical french yogurt. But dear god. One bite and I was holding onto the kitchen counter for stability as my knees buckled out from under me. It couldn't have been more sublime. I wanted to dive into that little pot of bliss and drown myself in it. Instead (seeing as the pot was quite small compared to my body), I ate the whole thing promptly. There is a thin line between the joy and the ordinary. Things float by all day long. Depending on how we look at them can change our whole day. Our whole life. A moment spent swooning over the explosion of taste in our mouths can alter our outlook on everything that follows it. Time stands still. Other dimensions open up.
The next thing I picked up while running around town was this little vanilla yogurt drink. Again, nothing fancy, nothing special. Could it be true?! It was like melted vanilla ice cream swishing down your throat. I gulped the whole thing down while wondering how Americans could have it so wrong. All it takes is some real vanilla beans and some real yogurt. Realness seems to get lost somewhere along the way. Bouncing back to a time when things slowed down. To savor a moment, a day, a week. Things hurry by at lightning speed. I wonder if there is a vacuum bag full of unexperienced moments that have passed me by. A failure to grasp, understand, hold on. But holding on is a useless act as well. Perpetual motion. We are all in perpetual motion.
And here I am. Standing on rue St. Michel. Wondering where all these people are going in such a hurry. In the blur of humanity I wonder if in these moments I will remember. Remember that all is right in the world. That nothing can take away this moment. And though things float by at feverish speeds there will always be this moment. To savor.