19 July 2010

Truffles and the Measure of Devotion

Cross-posted from my food blog:

A little over a week ago, I found myself in the kitchen melting down Ivory Coast and Indonesian single origin chocolates with some rum and cream while thinking about various events that have punctuated the last couple of years. While stirring the fragrant, creamy mass, I thought about the "friend" (whose status in my life has now been reduced to "acquaintance") who told me to forget all about a certain someone because she believed that he had no place in my life. She said I deserved better. She said he was just a kid and all I'd get from him in the long run was aggravation.

But I'm a stubborn bit of baggage. I know what I want in life. I know what - and who - I don't want in life. And I know who I love, who I care about, who I get my inspiration from.

And it sure wasn't that "friend" who told me off - then made matters worse by blabbing my feelings to her best friend. They both considered me weird for caring about a boy whom they thought silly and childish and not worth considering seriously.

Well - and I rarely every say this - to hell with them both! Both of them may be married, but I doubt if they know what devotion and inspiration look like.

But going back to the pot of chocolate and cream that was slowly transforming into a gorgeously unctuous ganache, I thought about the boy who has inspired me to return to writing poetry, the one who has driven me to take stock of my life and make changes that - so far - have proven to be the right ones.

Mr. W - the adorable Mr. W of posts past - is one guy who I think is truly underrated, even underestimated by the people around him. All people seem to see is a tall, pale-skinned, somewhat gangly young man. I, on the other hand, see a diamond in the rough. Of course, people tell me that I'm being fanciful, but that's my opinion; everyone else can shut up and get lost, for all I care.

As I poured the finished ganache into a container for chilling, I considered the ingredients I used for it. Ivory Coast is the most commonly used chocolate for commercial bars and the taste is classically chocolatey but not at all that remarkable. Indonesian chocolate, on the other hand, is considered inferior and bland. However, it's amazing what the application of heat and the mixing in of rich rum and pure cream can do to these chocolates. My ganache was rich, fragrant, full-bodied; the flavors nuttily bold yet gloriously smooth.

Later on, once the ganache was chilled till solid, I took out my tub of ground almonds, rolling lumps of the frozen chocolate paste in it to make truffles that seem to have played in a snowdrift. Those of you who are connected to me via Facebook know that I named these little treats Truffle W - after the young man whose merest acquaintance actually brought back a spark in my life that I thought long extinguished by so many disappointments: the spark of creativity, of inspiration.

I sank my teeth into a truffle and marveled at its contradictions. Rich, but not too cloying; crisp almond balancing almost chewy chocolate. A smooth, dark bitterness balanced by a nutty sweetness.

I savored my truffles and thought about the man I named them after - and smiled, and wished I could actually share them with him.

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