New Yorker Articles: Chocolate, Classical Music, and a Historian

Among the first things that Gui asked me since i came back from China was whether i have read the article on Chocolate in the New Yorker. I finally got around to finish reading the article: Notes of a Gastronome, “Extreme Chocolate,” by Bill Buford. Too bad there is only an “Abstract” online. The article is quite fascinating, especially the part about what a fresh chocolate “fruit” tastes like: honey, citrus and perfume. Here is also a slide show of the chocolate plantations they visited in South America: Food of the Gods.

As if to enhance the reading experience, we surveyed the chocolate section in a Whole Foods store while we were waiting to get in a restaurant for dinner. On Sunday we discovered the Argentinian icecream place we loved on Fillmore has been replaced by a chocolate shop. We couldn’t really complain cuz the chocolate shop sported four full shelves of exotic chocolate bars, among them there was some very interesting flavored ones such as: Szechuan Pepper, Spicy chicken, and celery (those are three different kinds of chocolates, just to be clear).

The description of each chocolate bar starts to resemble the descriptions we saw in wine shops, full of phrashes such as “a hint of blahblah note” and “such and such after taste”.

But somehow i can’t be too cynical about this “chocolate movement”. Not only because i love chocolate, but also because Matthew couldn’t resist the temptation of a “Szechuan Pepper” chocolate bar and we all ended up having the pleasure of tasting it in the evening. Sure enough, there really IS an after-taste! the szechuan pepper numbing taste in that bar! wow!

A few other interesting articles from recent issues of the New Yorker:
The Well-tempered WebThe Internet may be killing the pop CD, but it’s helping classical music. by Alex Ross (Issue October 22, 2007)
The Age of Reason (Abstract), Jacques Barzun at one hundred, by Arthur Krystal (Issue October 22, 2007)