As I have said before, I was always surrounded by good cooks. My mother, grandmother, and later my mother-in-law. I admired them and learned so much from them. I wanted to master those tried and true recipes. But here’s the thing, I have a huge curiosity about the world. I am all about trying something new. This curiosity encompasses food. When I travel, I am always excited to try a local food that I have not had before. That’s how you learn about different cultures. In Kenya, I ate a cheese that was black. Great tasting. Sounds pretty tame right? I have a friend who will not drink my breakfast smoothie because it is green. I am guessing she would not go for the black cheese.
My real exploration of food began in 1975 when I picked up a Bon Appétit magazine. I have no idea what was on that cover but I was hooked. So many things I had never heard about or seen. Things that could not be found in my grocery store I wanted to try all of it. I immediately got a subscription. Now I had all this delivered to my door. Of all the things that tempted me, I became especially enamored with chocolate.
Chocolate, food of the gods. I will be forever grateful to the ancient Mayans for showing those European explorers chocolate. So many ways to use chocolate. In 1984, the February issue arrived. There was an article titled Valentine Desserts. And then, I saw it. Truffles with real gold on top! Who knew one could eat gold? It must be 23 or 24 karat but you can eat it. How decadent is that? Forget Russell Stover and Godiva. I was going to eat chocolate AND gold. Straightaway, I took myself to the local art supply store and purchased a booklet of 24 karat gold leaf sheets. Tearing the gold leaf into tiny pieces takes time and patience. Do not exhale heavily or God forbid sneeze because it will fly everywhere! My sweet husband Steve always did this part for me. The chocolate alone is delicious. Adding the gold makes it that something special we so enjoy. A truffle topped with gold, a glass of champagne, and someone you love, the perfect recipe for the best Valentine’s Day.
Note: leaving the truffles in a ball shape makes them easier to handle and more stable at room temperature.