School’s out for almost half a month, and the holidays are here again. At first, I was intimidated by the idea of a school holiday. Free time for one and half months? Perhaps I should have planned for it more thoroughly. I have been told that it’s the workaholic in me that is responsible for this unwanted feeling, but the prospect of getting nothing done seems more frightening.
Certainly, there is value in doing nothing. We can finally slow down our pace, reflect on past deeds, and think about the future. On the other hand, there is carpe diem – we must seize the day! Time waits for no one. Amongst this contradiction, however, it is paramount to know what to wait for, or work towards.
These holidays, I’ve chosen to sequester my wanderlust and work on chocolates. I used to hold a great misunderstanding for chocolate. For once, I had thought chocolate an uninteresting ingredient, because a cook can use a world-class chocolate and his/her cake will be delicious. This is an unforgivable idea. Chocolate, and its derivation from the cacao bean, is extremely delicate. Different varieties of beans from different plantations hold their own nuances, much like the hype over coffee beans these days. What is most intriguing to me, is the limitless possibility of combining flavours based on their character, and the intricacy involved in preparing the varied textures via multitudes of techniques. Chocolate soil, mousse, ganache, parfait, sorbet, ice-cream, genoise, sauce, souffle… and the list goes on. The advent of combining science with cooking continues to introduce new possibilities. And the creativity that chocolate work encompasses can be summarized with this array of masterpieces: Sucré design.
On occasions, it can be disheartening to acknowledge where I am standing now, and how far ahead time needs to flow. But little steps – they make everything seem more manageable. Besides, if I could acquire such talent overnight, I would have moved on to something more challenging. Perhaps that’s the reason why I lost interest in what I was doing previously.