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Thursday, December 25, 2014

A cake fit for a Queen

     Birthdays, I find, should always be about receiving pleasure.  The ultimate pleasure.  To me, nothing brings more pleasure than chocolate, especially when it is the best, most refined European chocolate made into a dense, unique, cake.  It is the philosophy of one of New York’s best chocolatiers, Maribel Liberman. 

     Liberman, a native of Honduras, understands good chocolate when she tastes it.  She owns an exquisite store in New York City called MarieBelle Chocolatier.  And as someone who understands the importance of a good piece of chocolate, she also finds that “life is all about the pleasure and happiness we find in food, art and beauty”.

     Until I became a fan of all things French, I couldn’t picture beauty as being present in food.  The French excel at this.  Everything from the packaging to the way edibles are presented, the thought placed in creating and enjoying meals, the quality of the ingredients, and the sharing of those experiences is conducive to beauty.  Beauty inspires art, and chocolate was the venue, this birthday when I turned 45, for that inspiration.

     The treat for my birthday was a Marie Antoinette Vintage Truffle Cake, made by this chocolate house that also creates artfully illustrated chocolates, raw cacao confisseries, signature ganaches and decadent hot chocolate mixes.

     I ordered the cake through Dean &Deluca, but it is also available through the company’s website.  The cake honors Queen Marie Antoinette of France, who adored the chocolate pastilles that then chemist to the French Crown, Debauve & Gallais, created for her so she could swallow unpleasant tasting medicines.  Marie Antoinette adored chocolate, and this cake, which comes packaged inside a box simulating an ancient book, includes a poem in her honor, and her chocolate:

She stares with puzzle at her treasure book
She can’t help but wonder
What the story is all about inside
She flips the cover
And to her surprise:
A mysterious dark slab
With a rich golden chandelier
Simulating the entrance of a Palace
How amazing!!!
He contemplated her with joy
As she closed her eyes as if
She was going into a trance
He was the man she loved
But at that moment
He took a second place
People warned her that one
Becomes a prisoner of obsession
She held the slab and took a first bite
Melting cream in her mouth she screamed
                                    OH… CHOCOLAT!!

     Indeed, the Marie Antoinette Vintage Truffle Cake is like biting into a truffle.  It is quite small, about 6.5” by 4.5”, but it compensates in richness.  The truffle cream chocolate lies on top of crisp chocolate wafers, so when one bites into it, there is also a certain crunch.  It is decorated with the image of an antique chandelier, faintly showing out of a sprinkle of gold glitter, and to my surprise, it did not fade throughout the life of the cake.

     I recommend a rich, dark shot of Italian espresso to accompany this luscious dessert.  And of course, a trip to this chocolatier is de rigueur during a visit to New York City.

      After the cake is consumed (which will not take long, believe me), the simulated case can be used for storage of cherished secrets – love notes, valentines, etc.

A small piece with a cup of strong espresso is all this cake needs.  It should be cut in triangles as shown here.
You will get 8 portions.

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