The End of the Affair
But today, I had a very unwelcome surprise. I wanted to make chocolate truffles. They are very simple and delicious, and because of this simplicity, they require good chocolate, good cream, and real butter. I found good chocolate. I found real butter. Now I must breathe, because this is where it gets ugly.
I am used to being appalled by certain things that I see here in Italy (littering, car seat-less babies, etc), but never would I ever have imagined that this feeling would be a reaction to something food-related.
I needed UNSWEETENED heavy cream. Guess what I found. I was given a box of sweetened cream. Please don't call me dramatic. The worst is yet to come.
Upon further inspection, I found that there was no cream in the cream. I found that it was made from vegetable fat and had more chemicals than a can of Aqua Net hairspray. This is where I should hear a gasp of horror from the audience. If you're not gasping quite horribly yet, just look at that label. Would you allow that into your body? Ew.
My fire was further fueled by the insistence that this was cream and it was to be whipped. "But I don't want to whip it," I said, "and if I did, I wouldn't whip that." It was useless to explain my recipe and that I wasn't even sure if chocolate would melt in this product or if it would just explode upon heating and murder me with toxic fumes. Had I tried to explain that I wanted to make a ganache, the wasted breath would have been enough to make me faint right there next to the cauliflower.
After trying 3 stores, I gave up. I walked back home with short, angry strides, trying to understand how such an atrocious product could be served lovingly to children in a country where quality food is a sacred, Italy-given right. I even asked a sweet old lady, only to be assured that she has always used that, and it's great for whipping.
You may call me picky, but for me, this is impossible and unacceptable and I would rather give give up chocolate for life than eat Hopla'. Italy is the uncontested epicenter of culinary integrity for me and today I suffered a bit of disappointment. This is not the kind behavior I would expect of my surrogate country.
Now there's a happy ending.