Intolerants Rant: An Ode to Chocolate + Blogiversary Winner
My obsession with chocolate is nothing new. In fact, our love affair has been going on for ages and has – successfully – managed to withstand the test of time. Though my tastebuds tend to pine for salty and savoury foods above all else, I have a soft spot for the sweet, sweet allure of chocolate. I actually have to be monitored closely lest I binge myself – and it has happened, trust me – into a chocolate-induced coma. I couldn’t really care what form the chocolate comes in as long as it’s not milk. I’ll take chocolate covered this and chocolate stuffed that. I’m happy to savour chocolate hearts that bleed saccharine ganache or solid plates of Trinitario dark so bitter they make my lips pucker and tongue recoil.
In short: I could eat chocolate in a box, I’d even share some with a fox. I would eat chocolate on a train, or in the rain and until doubled over with pain.
Yeah, that’s how much I love chocolate. Enough to suffer momentary embarrassment by creating an “ode to chocolate” that employs Dr. Seuss’ trisyllabic meter.
In all seriousness: chocolate is one of the few items I will happily put on my plate. Anytime.
Not only is chocolate a food that’s so very beautiful to look at, but when it comes to taste it’s the Houdini of sweets because it can take on so many tones and flavours. While it’s the perfect dessert and can put to rest any sweet longings you might have, chocolate goes amazingly well with every other meal. Breakfast? Have a pain au chocolat or slather some in-house hazelnut and dark chocolate “butter” on a gluten-free slice of bread (for real, I had this once in Paris and nearly had an aneurysm). Lunch? Add chocolate shavings to a hearty lentil soup. Dinner? Don’t even get me started: there’s tender chicken breast with a ladle of melted cayenne-laced chocolate, or perhaps you’d prefer digging into a roasted leek and butternut squash mash accompanied by a dollop of walnut chocolate ganache? Then there’s always…and please, just wait for it…the black truffle spiked chocolate that forms the base of a mushroom sauce, which is drizzled atop of a piece of Grade A sirloin.
That, my friends, is the sound of information overload.
Anyhow, I’ve lead you on a tangent that’s gone miles off course. Let’s move on to more pressing matters, shall we? In celebration of my 1-year blogiversary last month, Brooklyn-based chocolatier Fine & Raw was kind enough to offer the winner of my giveaway a trio of their delicious artisanal confections. Over the course of the last 10 days I’ve received over a dozen entries; all of them a delight to read. Unfortunately however, only one person can imbibe on this chocolate goodness, so without further ado the winner of this Intolerants’ 1-year giveaway is…
Ollie! A Brit by birth and New Yorker by designation, I found Ollie’s entry on a must-dine-at locale in London to be thoughtful and positively mouthwatering. His intolerant-friendly recommendation is now at the top of my list for places to eat in London-town later this year. Oh, and the photo he submitted with his entry? Well, I’ll be gazing at it greedily for several fortnights to come.
Having followed your blog since your Egyptian beginnings, I won’t recommend any Cairo restaurants as I imagine you have them well covered. However, just in case you’ve left some out I will take a moment to sing the praises of the often overlooked Fontana Hotel that’s located above Midan Ramses. It has the best shakshouka in town. Also, who can forget Farahat’s excellent pigeon stuffed with bulgur?
Anyways, snap – let’s get back to reality.
So my intolerant-friendly suggestion hails from London, England. It’s the one place I cannot keep away from when I’m in town and is guaranteed to satisfy all those tolerant of eating fish. The place is called Wright Brothers and while they have a flagship restaurant in Soho, I’m always drawn to their Borough Market branch. Nestled amongst the hustle and bustle of the famous London foodie market, this place is great on the decor (lots of wooden chairs and tiled floors) and is a haven for amazing seafood.
At the top of my list is their pint of prawns – they’re super fresh and 100% prawn, no lame salad padding. Their oysters are fantastic and they even serve the humble winkle, Britain’s underrated sea snail. If you’re feeling peckish I suggest you order the crab, but keep in mind this is one British beefcake of a crab, complete with assorted hardware, and then some.
It’s not a specifically “intolerant” restaurant, but they’ll cater to you intolerant-lot, and when it comes to sheer simplicity and freshness…it can’t be beat.