6

International Pretzel Day

Today was International Pretzel Day. I found out when I went to an event that had a reception. I had heard there would be snacks. Snacks, in my mind, refer to a variety of yummy appetizers. The snacks tonight were pretzels. They were larger than my hand, soft, with sprinkled salt. The salt looked like small pieces of hail. There were three bowls of mustard–honey mustard, yellow mustard, and spicy brown mustard. The first pretzel was warm. I love fresh baked pretzels. I put dabs of spicy brown mustard on it. The pretzels looked very pretty hanging from the pretzel rack. They looked like they were doing gymnastics. They specialized in the twist. I’m sure they would have won a gold medal or two. Speaking of two, I had a couple more. They were cool. And salty. Incidentally, my favorite kind of pretzel is the Pennsylvania Dutch Pretzel. Crunchy and delicious. Tonight I ate three soft pretzels in honor of International Pretzel Day (and also because I was hungry).

Happy International Pretzel Day!!

9

My Epiphany

I have always wanted to have an epiphany because it sounds so significant, but I wasn’t sure if I would have one, since it also sounds unattainable, like a mirage.

I am here to tell you I had my first epiphany.

I was in the vicinity of a very special caramel shop and since it was that kind of day, I went in. Before I go further into my story, I must let you know that I have never considered myself to be a caramel person. I grew up on ultra sweet caramels, which has made me eschew  chewing caramels in the years since. However, I had read about this particular caramel shop and wanted to try it.

I planned to have only one.

A plate of samples offered large chunks of caramel with cashews, almonds, and pecans with smoked sea salt and dark chocolate. I took one large chunk and put it on the silver-colored tray the caramel creator gave me with my chosen caramel (white chocolate exterior, dark chocolate, orange essence, coconut, cacao nibs) that seemed like the perfect blend of my some of my favorite flavors.

I sat at a large wooden table. I ate the sample slowly and carefully. It was the perfect balance of salty and sweet. Next I ate the white chocolate one. Tasty, but I couldn’t detect the orange, and the white chocolate overpowered the dark chocolate and cacao nibs. I wanted that great dark chocolate taste.

I had no choice but to get the caramel with dark chocolate exterior and little bit of smoked sea salt. Very caramelly, but not enough smoked sea salt.

So I had to get another. It reminded me of the nutty one. I liked the mix of salt with graham cracker base, marshmallows, dark chocolate, toasted pecans, and coconut.

I was glad to be able to sit and eat because can you imagine what would have happened if I had gotten just one and left, only to arrive home realizing I need more caramels in my life?

Yes, that was my great revelation: I am a caramel person and I need more caramels in my life.

4

Leave No Dessert Unturned

I have chocolate on the brain. It is a not so rare ailment that is easily curable, if given the right situation.

Which wasn’t the other night, when I seriously had it. Before the Royal We watched the Oscars, we chose desserts from our local grocery’s pastry case. Mine was Chocolate Tulip Cup. It consisted of chocolate tulip petals with white and milk chocolate, filled with chocolate mousse, topped with dark chocolate ribbons.

Here’s what this reviewer had to say: although the mousse was very luscious and the dark chocolate flavorful, the petals did not taste like anything.

Which meant I had to reward myself.

Tonight I went to hear Alice Medrich, in conversation with Linda Carucci. For those not in the know, Alice Medrich is one of the country’s leading experts in the field of chocolate and chocolate desserts. Linda Carucci is an award-winning culinary instructor. They discussed Medrich’s latest book, Flavor Flours: A New Way to Bake with Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole & Ancient Grains, Nuts & Non-Wheat Flours.

The discussion was mouth-watering. Very mouth-watering. Luckily, support was available. Samples!

Initially, some of the desserts sounded weird, such as the brown rice flour sponge, or oddly unusual, such as the teff brownies, while others sounded somewhat appealing, such as the oat flour almond tuille or the oat flour chocolate cookies. But being a mature taster, I decided it was important to keep an open mind.

Here’s what this reviewer had to say: the brown rice flour sponge was moist and fluffy; the teff flour brownies were creamy and super light; the oat flour chocolate cookies had just the right amount of chocolate; and the oat flour almond tuille was a perfect buttery, almond crunch. Worth going back for thirds!

I am so glad I left no dessert unturned; I didn’t desert any desserts.