Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Artsy Wednesday: Enric Rovira Chocolate

Yesterday, Cooper and I watched Monday night's Bourdain, in which our hero visits Spain. What an amazing episode. This whole season's been pretty stellar - I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite - but this was a real foodies' espisode. At the start, Bourdain even mentions that food bloggers are going to freak out over this trip.

And I did.

The whole show was pretty intense, and between Cooper and I, we'd read more than a little about pretty much every single chef featured. I very nearly got online to order some of the canned seafood Bourdain tried at the Espinaler Bodega...until I realized it was going to cost about $300 a can (I'll stick with my beloved grocery store smoked oysters, thanks). Honestly, the care, skill and creativity demonstrated by the chefs actually caused my eyes to well up a little bit. Everything was just so impressive.

Overall, the show was a great illustration of how old and new layer together, and how tradition and innovation and technology and intuition can come together to create something amazing. Sometimes the time and place and circumstances are just right, and everything adds up to much more than the sum of the parts. That's the Spain I saw in this episode.

I could write for days about each of the places Bourdain visited, but since it's Wednesday, and Wednesday is "artsy", I'll keep it simple. The picture below (snagged from the Travel Channel website) is a chocolate egg created by Enric Rovira. Each egg is painstakingly molded, then slightly melted by the sun until a small hole forms. At that point, the egg is rushed inside to set, then airbrushed with a combination of chocolate and cocoa butter to create a matte finish.

Talking about the chocolate, Bourdain referenced the undulating, naturalist, art nouveau architecture of Gaudi, and I totally see that. I was actually also reminded of certain Brancusi sculptures. All around, the chocolate sculptures were amazing and I would totally buy one, if only they were available in the US.

This is before the hole has completely broken through and the final finish has been sprayed on. The end result is slightly lighter in color, and not nearly as shiny - with a hole where the indentation is.

The combination of the exact construction of the initial egg and the totally organic, traditional element of the sun melting the chocolate create a final product that evokes the larger story of what's happening in Spanish cuisine today.

Bourdain was right. This food blogger, at least, is freaking out about this episode.

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