I was here today morning. I had to take a friend with her mother along. I didnt want to go in, I hesistated, dilly-dallied, waited.. maybe it wont be as good, I thought. Maybe all I’ll get there are the bitter 90% ones that I can eat once – but have to have a dialogue in my head about how good it is for my health to actually keep eating it.

She opened the door. An old wooden frame with clean glass pane. From within came a warm, tempting zephyr of simmering coacoa. My frontal cortex shut itself down and in I went.

A tiny corridor, with chocolates on display, where ever I turned. Slabs, crumbles, tiny bricks, smooth balls, dusted with coacoa powder, glazed with sticky caramel; all in – nougat, amandes, caramel croquant, noir, vanille, blanc avec le fruits rouge and the eternal classic – lait.

No, I told myself. Ive spent a lot today. Maybe next time, maybe next weekend. I should deserve such things.

I was offered help – did I want to buy something? I mumbled an excuse, said I was waiting for my friend to finish.

The more I stood in that corner, the more overpowering the scent became. My head felt like a warzone. I had too many loud voices in my head, each vying for attention.

Thats it!

Excusez-moi? Si vous êtes libre, je aimerais bien prendre quelques petite morceaux…
  • White with red fruits
  • Classic milk
  • Crunchy caramel
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Fleurs de Sel (Flowers of salt)

I grudgingly shared the white with the friends, consoling myself that white chocolate isnt chocolate at all. Folded everything else and stuffed the packet deep into my bag.

I ran back home, carefully opened the waxed paper packet, peeled the ‘Blondel’ sticker, stuck my nose in it and took a deep life-giving breath.

Gingerly I opened the individually packed tiny thin slabs and took a tiny bite and let it sit on my tongue…

Test number 1.

Normal chocolate -> melting -> liquefying ->… mmmm…. -> !! what the!! ->… chilli!!! .-> cayenne pepper… -> *loud moan* -> flopped back on my futon with my eyes closed….. -> let the rest make its way down my throat along with copious amounts of wetness..

Test number 2.

Normal chocolate.. -> slightly darker that I like it -> inching its way to the sides of my tongue -> *HOLY CRAP!* moment -> tiny granules of salt sitting on my tastebuds -> melting like firefly flickers only to meld with the normal dark chocolate -> Oh…. my….*breath escalating* -> Silently having an epicurian orgasm…



Rustling up Ratatouille

French Cuisine never did interest me that much.

Long ago, when I roamed around in my dad’s shorts and sneakers, and didnt know there was life beyond basketball, science books and quizzes, I started reading about Europe and the constituent nations. America paled in comparison. Each country with such unique peopl, customs, culture.. and ofcourse *in a small meek voice* food.

I always thought it would be full of bland meat and boiled vegetables. To be frank, I thought all of Europe subsisted on this kind of food. But that was long ago.

My epicurean uncle came over once and I got a rare treat of dinner in an upmarket restaurant. After the first mocktail and pasta of my life (which were out of this world), I decided to go wild with dessert. I had “poached pears in wine”. For a, yet gawky, 18 year old, pears, deliciously marinated in *real* wine was something I couldnt even imagine in my dreams. And that night, I heard my slightly tipsy uncle talk about good food – how to cook it, embellish it, savour it, live it.

In my geeky brain, in some silent corner, amidst all the clank of cutlery and good bonhomie… Food began to gain more importance than just a provider of ATP.

I must have mentioned one-who-lives-to-eat; in my previous post, a dear friend I didnt discover until a few weeks ago.Now, when I am all set and ready to leave NBRC behind for good. Strange how some ties bind you at the lastest minute possible. There are very few people I will genuinely miss being around, and he is definetly one of them.

We went on a date.

I took him to Ratatouille, the movie, which I loved because the lead character was a rat. I hope he loved it too because the main theme of the movie was cooking and food!

He took me to Old Delhi, his favourite haunt, his hunting ground, his backyard, the back of his palm.

We walked, almost tripped and tiptoed through arms-stretched-wide-width elaborately named gullys in that sweltering mid-afternoon heat. We sank in the aroma of the biryani he bought and I ogled at the succulent kebabs. The colours, the sounds, the smells, the people…It was a whole new world.

This done, we straight made our way to Jama Masjid. Even the heat radiating from the red sandstone seemed bearable, because we made our way to the top of the minarette. With the wind in my ears and a living city beneath me to behold, I didn’t go click-happy, like I always do. Instead, I just moved around and soaked in the far-reaching views of Delhi on a perfect, clear day.

Phirnis are the best antidote to the heat and the thirst, after an expedition like this one. 2 phirnis disappeared, without a complaint as we sat at Karim’s and cooled ourselves down. A few minutes later, we were ready for the 3 hour journey back home.

On the bus ride back, I leaned back and thought about the day. It was a near perfect day, in terms of fun, frolic and food.

Maybe I should add one more item on my ‘to-do-list’ when I get home –

Learn to make Ratatouille.