August 04, 2008

Soufflé

















Jeni and I were invited to a birthday dinner last week at La Caille . We had eaten there for our anniversary in December (see previous post) and were so excited to return. We sat in an outside gazebo and the view, the people, the food, everything was just incredible. My favorite part of the meal was dessert (no surprise) as I was thrilled to try a real French soufflé for the first time. From the French word "Souffler" meaning "to puff up," it is described as a "light, fluffy baked dish made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a main dish or sweetened as a dessert." I had seen this made on cooking shows and it seemed like the difficulty was trying to prevent the top from caving in. As you can see from the picture above (my actual soufflé from that evening), our chef didn't have that problem.

They set it down before me, cut a large X in the top with a small knife, and then poured about half a pint of warm vanilla sauce into it. This was one of those few occasions in life where the world stands still, the noise around you fades away, and you are left alone, just you and your soufflé. It is impossible to describe the taste, the textures, the sound of the soufflé breaking apart as the spoon cut through the outer layer, the resulting fragments gently soaking up the sauce without fanfare or pageantry, as if this happened every day. The way the spoon seemed actually lighter with the soufflé than without. Oh the wonder and the marvel. Distinction and grandeur colliding with egg and cream into the majesty that is the French soufflé!

Jeni ordered the chocolate cake. She does not appreciate the subtleties of this elegant delicacy, nor does she agree with my "over-dramatic" description of it. She thinks I have taken this gourmet food thing too far. Is that even possible? Maybe just a sliver.