À la recherche du temps perdu: Anthon Berg marzipans
Back in the 90s in London I was doing a lot of Valrhona. Specifically, Manjari. I would hop on a moving Routemaster – the 137 – and sneak up to the Kings Rd to score big chunks of the stuff and Valrhona truffles made with Normandy cream and calvados.
A friend was complicit in it encouraging me to bring Mangari to his Clapham South dinner parties. We were into some really hard core food porn too, a short lived magazine called À la carte.
It was dangerous stuff I was doing. 150g of Manjari, an equal amount of cocoa powder, a dozen egg yolks, 250g of sugar, 275g of butter and almost a half litre of double cream. 100g of honey.
It was outrageous, a dark dark dense terrine that any sane person would eat in wafer thin slices.
Needless to say we were living on the edge doing thick slices. And too many of them before retiring with Fundador brandy to listen to vinyl – mainly, with a sense of irony, Rolf Harris and Bernard Cribbins in those days.
The volume of terrine consumed did strange things to me. Once I woke in Hyde Park and may have even got a shag. Another I swam the Thames naked and had my clothes stolen by a poison dwarf.
The truth is that I was – still am – a real obnoxious food snob who took his cues from the culinary hero Nico Ladenis who in his time made Gordon Ramsay look a pussy.
I poured scorn on people who started their meal with a gin and tonic and ate well done steak.
We had these huge dinner parties where to squeeze us all in we sat on planks which pinched our bottoms between chairs.
Then a barrister friend brought something into my Brixton home, Anthon Berg chocolates – large discs of chocolate surrounding a marzipan centre with a kiwi jelly and liquour at the centre.
Fucking hell I thought. Who brought this shit into my house?
After we’d set fire to all the Amaretti biscuit wrappers which floated to the ceiling and then spotted (in bushfire parlance) over my pastel Laura Ashley sofa I was so drunk that I resorted to eating these chocolates.
It was love at first bite. Soon I was buying a couple of boxes at a time and eating them in one go.
In Australia I could feed my habit from the David Jones Food Hall. But they stopped selling them.
I’ve searched al sorts of dodgy chocolate shops. I’ve searched online. The only place I can find them is in Singapore Airport.
This is probably a good thing. But does anyone know where the hell I can find the fuckers in Melbourne?