i'm drawn to ingredients that require a slow appreciation, to foods that demand notice of their complexity, to wines, cheeses, olive oils.
while sea salt, coffee beans, and dark chocolate are such simple food choices, they are layered with textures and aromas and notes and stories of the places that they are from... i think it's incredible that we have the opportunity to hold the whole earth on our lips.
sea salt. pure sea salt is a true marvel. the little crystals from the sea that burst with flavor are so unique, and they speak of the waters that they were formed in. sea salt comes from oceans all over the globe - from the islands, from the coasts of europe, from the edges of asia. the coarse texture of sea salt is brilliant for seasoning steamed edamame beans or for enhancing the seaside tastes of fish. gourmet culinary stores boast collections of salts that are distinctive in color and origin... red and black salts from hawaii for sprinkling on fresh produce, pink flakes from australia with a more subtle flavor, crystals from the mediterranean in the shape of miniature pyramids, italian sea salt hinted with summer truffles. there is such beauty in the variety of textures and flavors from the waters of our world, n'est ce pas?
coffee beans. here on the west coast, coffee is ubiquitous. there is an entire culture that surrounds the sweet, nutty aroma that wafts from a tin of perfectly roasted espresso beans. this culture reveres a latte in hand as a fashion accessory and seeks to find the individual, artisanal cafes that brew the smoothest cup. coffee carries a variety of notes in its scent and taste, depending on how it is cultivated, sourced, roasted, ground and prepared. i love learning more and more about this complex process that a little green bean undergoes to transform into a revolutionary, steamy mug of a caramel-hinted smoky beverage.
dark chocolate. chocolate has always been the ideal indulgence. the flavors of cacao are rich... often, milk and sugar can distracting from the natural creaminess and sweetness of raw chocolate, so i enjoy it dark to truly taste the character of the bean, of the estate on which it was grown. specialty chocolate shops, like this one in vancouver, carry fine bars such as valrhona and amedei. the beauty of chocolate is the way that it melts into ganache, the way that it marries so gleefully with other flavors. enjoy some dark chocolate set with cranberry and thyme, or with rose pepper, or with champagne, or with candied ginger. i love the way that a dark bar can be broken into a pan of steaming milk and combined with a little vanilla, or some red chili. when we have unexpected guests in our little apartment, i melt chocolate with butter, fold it into whipped meringue and bake fondant cakes to serve with honey ice cream. and, if there is a birthday of someone sweet nearing, i wrap a box of cardamom-infused truffles with pretty ribbons. chocolate can be as intense, as rich and as interesting as fine wines - we can savor each aroma, texture, note, presentation and even sound of this delightful treat.
robyn michelle-lee is an ashtanga yogini, a foodie, a literature student, a photographer, a marketing assistant, and a lifestyle writer. live this moment - live your lifestyle.