Saturday, December 01, 2012

drama chocolate news


More of the the deserted cinema site in the centre of Tunbridge Wells. Not pretty, but with dramatic potential.

A pop-up (temporary) chocolate shop has opened in Chapel Place. Demonstrating his wares is a pรขtissier called Damian Allsop who has been associated with a number of Michelin starred restaurants in London and,  I think, Spain. I have always liked the idea of hot chocolate but hot chocolate without milk. His foaming chocolate is something I have hoped to find for a long time, and not far removed from what was served in the chocolaterias which you used to find in Madrid and other Spanish cities. Probably better though. The chocolate comes from a carefully nurtured source in Ecuador and its taste lingers long after you have finished drinking it or eating the solid chocolates on offer. None of his chocolates involve dairy products relying instead on what he calls a water ganache which dispenses with the use of cream or butter, but taste none the worse for it. In the words of the Michelin Guide, worth a diversion.

The wake of the row over the behaviour of the Press and the Leverson Report of which the Media is full and the country is divided now seems to reach to the horizon. Should a free Press be underpinned by a body independent, but established under the law? Or be left under the scrutiny of one free of any government involvement but equipped with a new and sharper set of teeth than the present ineffective complaints procedure? The debate has been fiery and for once, for a debate, intelligent and largely politics-free.
Meanwhile I confess to barely reading the papers at all. I get my news from the radio, TV, the BBC web site and a magazine called The Week which contains summaries of the weeks goings on, national and international. The Independent newspaper which we take, provides, after I have scanned the headline,  me with  a Sudoku to keep me alert in the morning after breakfast

2 comments:

Roderick Robinson said...

We've shared a number of enthusiasms and antipathies over the years but here's something quite new (as far as I'm concerned) and quite fundamental. Back in my schooldays l, like you, and thousands of other children used to receive free milk at school. At age nine I abruptly decided I didn't like the taste of milk and stopped drinking it au nature. Milk lingered on in tea and coffee but eventually I started taking both of those "black". Milk's final manifestation was as a diluent for corn-flakes which I dropped about fifteen years ago (my present-day muesli is wetted with orange juice).

Why? I loathe the taste (especially when I'm able to detect the results of pasteurisation), the smell of warmed milk acts as a huge emetic, and I become neurotic if not paranoid in the presence of "skin". In American movies men were often shown opening the fridge door, grabbing a bottle or carton of milk and swigging from the neck; at this point I had to look away.

Certainly hot chocolate or, as I would call it, cocoa was lost to me decades ago because of the association. I even worry (if not terminally) about its function in cooking. As recently as last week VR bought from a new stall in Hereford's market two superb pieces of very lightly smoked haddock and I had the misfortune to enter the kitchen and see her heating up this fish in a frying pan of water lightly coloured with milk. She was quite firm with me and I'm glad; the haddock was excellent, very subtle. But always this uneasiness.

Are we friends united in lactiphobia? A strong bond indeed.

Joe Hyam said...

As a cook I usually know the likes and dislikes of friends and family. I registered you as a fellow lactophobe some time ago. For me, the skin of boiled milk is equivalent to the rats which confronted Winston Smith in Room 101.

Smoked haddock, in particular abroath smokies poached in milk, is no problem for me though. Neither are cream sauces or icecream sometimes made with milk. And I love cheese, probably too much. And butter.

When Mrs Thatcher removed free milk from the diet of school children I was dry-eyed.