Horizon at Sandy Point

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

made to be broken

This week I saw two art projects. One artist in the throes of creating edible art. The other artist following a line into writing drawing - or drawing writing! Whatever you call a kind of stream of conscious calligraphy, like balls of string with meanings to be unravelled. I try to enter art cautiously, because experiencing art is like entering another's secret space, their soul even. Art that speaks to you can provoke indescribable emotions, disorienting or like falling. Affective works of art can turn you upside down, and then right you again.

Today, let's consider the chocolate hearts made by Cocobel for Valentine's day. Trinidadian observances for Valentine's day are light-hearted - it's not an official special occasion. So offering a chocolate heart, filled with roasted sugared almonds coated with chocolate and dredged in cocoa, is the right gesture. The day originated in the memory of Christian martyrs named Valentine - the earliest may have been Valentinus of Rome around 496 AD. Chaucer (1300s) may be credited for the  associations to romantic love.

Leap forward some centuries to the chocolate maker's art of hearts. Chocolate making itself could be a devotional process: sorting beans, roasting, winnowing, grinding, balancing cacao content, pouring, decorating and packaging, the stations of the chocolatier's cross. The holy grail only attained when the chocolate is eaten and enjoyed. But art it is... to make a heart that needs to be eaten. Something gorgeous to look at. A heart that pulls you in opposite directions -  keep it to look at; or eat beyond satiety and let its mind-altering endorphins work their magic. Keep. Eat. Keep. Eat.

The blue heart

No names, just perfect

Watch the Cocobel chocolatier hand-paint her moulds, then fill them with liquid dark chocolate, then tap-tap-tap the chocolate so it coats the moulds evenly, and then flip them over with a bang to hollow the hearts. Chill to harden, then unmould, each a work of art. Could these lovelies really be eaten?

Do you eat the almonds first? And then tackle the chocolate shell? Nibble at the chocolate and pick at the almonds in between? Crush the chocolate shells so you can offer them round with the almonds? Why share? Eat it all by yourself, indulgently and in secret? How do you eat your heart? Let's savage the red one!

The chosen one

Scrumptious coated almonds nesting inside

Almonds first? Or chocolate?

The first cut is the deepest!

Easier now to have a smashing time.

Half gone!
Chocolate last? Or almonds?

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