Matching the Senses- Chocolate and Beer
A perfect moment in food can be created when all the senses are stimulated. Each element of the experience should correlate with one another and contribute to the sensation. They should be pleasurable, exciting, engulfing, sexy, and individually enjoyable.
Michel Cluizel 1er Cru de Plantation Mangaro is a dark chocolate at 65%, yet surprisingly is considered sharp and bright. The single-origin, Madagascan cacao gives a uniquely citrus flavour, with a fruity, spiced body, reminiscent of piquant raspberry, spicy dates, and a light, citrusy finish. (Available online at www.yangjiu.com for 60RMB/bar.)
Franziskaner Hefe Weissbier Dunkel is a dark, German wheat beer- with a sharp nose, and a wheaty, banana-like, spiced body. Hints of caramel, clove, cinnamon, and citrus zest makes it a flirtatiously enticing match to the chocolate. (Available from ‘City Shop’ for 19.80RMB/bottle.)
A whisper of sweet jasmine paints the air from a row of pots around an open balcony. (Jasmine matches the raspberry notes of the chocolate perfectly, which will be the focus of this fantasy.) Spring is fading into summer with graceful ease, the heat of the afternoon sun tempered by a warm, playful gust of wind. The piercing shrill of trumpets followed by a sax and a piano glides across the wooden decking from a lively jazz album; a deep bass trembling the underfoot planks as Dizzy Gillespie dexterously tautens the atmosphere.
In the centre of the deck lies a rustic, stump-pedestal coffee table, carefully positioned in the dazzling sunlight. The warm glow hits a white plate like snow; mussels with a vivid-red, tart raspberry coulis, scattered with shredded basil, drizzled in peanut oil and topped with ‘disks’ of durum wheat sour bread* emanate smells of the seaside and wheat-like fruits. Eaten slowly with the back of a fork, it leaves a lingering, nutty, rounded sweetness from the basil and peanut drifting into malty caramel as you take your first swig of beer.
The wind sweeps across your skin leaving a tight twinge from a hint of a chill. You wrap yourself in a thin silk shawl, and sink into a deck chair with the chocolate; the sun descending as you do; the wood pressing the soft silk into your back; hints of jasmine wafting across your nose.
You break a piece of chocolate with a clear snap and bring it close to your lips, the smell seems muted, but it instantly bursts into flavour when placed on the tongue, melting and filling the mouth with sweet, caramel chocolate. The boldness is as encapsulating as it is euphoric, the chocolate revealing glimpses of bright lime, spices, citrus and summer fruits like a dark secret. Completed with another mouthful of the tart, zesty, wheat beer drunk straight from the bottle.
A thin slice of durum wheat sour bread that is crushed with a heavy weight and shaped into a thin disk, then baked in a low oven to dry it out.
Article by: Chris Lawrence