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Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

Chocolate Lovers vs. Fruit Lovers

February 15, 2010

There are two types of people in this world: Chocolate lovers and fruit lovers.

Chocolate lovers pace themselves through a meal, making sure not to order too much in any one course so that they may receive their reward in the end— some type of rich, decadent, chocolate creation.

Fruit lovers, on the other hand, go full bore ahead and dive into a meal from the first course, ordering multiple appetizers, a soup, a salad, an entrée, and sometimes an additional entrée for the middle of the table for everyone to share. At the end of the meal, they want something light and sweet, but not too filling such as fresh fruit or a sorbet

Chocolate lovers are patient, passionate, contemplative, and resilient. Fruit lovers are compulsive, impatient, high-strung, and uninhibited.

I am a fruit lover. My favorite dessert at the end of a meal is a small bowl of fresh fruit and a little bit of English cream or crème anglaise. If that’s not available, I usually go for a nice, light fruit sorbet. In a more casual restaurant, I’m looking for a fruit filled tart or pie once the meal is done.

Chocolate lovers love chocolate in any form. They don’t care how it is presented as long as chocolate is the primary component in the dessert.

My family and friends who dine with me on a regular basis know that I love to front load my meals. I almost always find the first course offerings more interesting than main course entrees. Some who feel this way just order two or three appetizers as their meal. I probably should do this, but just can’t bring myself to stop at the first page of the menu. I typically move on and order an entrée for me, and then a secondary entrée to share.

The secondary entrée is ordered because I can’t make up my mind between to entrée offerings. So instead of looking like a pig (which I am) I order a second entrée “for the table” so that everyone can have a taste. Although it is me who winds up eating most of it before I move on to some type of fruit finish.

It’s not that I don’t like chocolate. I do. I just don’t like it at the end of a meal. I especially don’t like flourless chocolate cake. True chocolate lovers love flourless chocolate cake. I like my cake t be cakelike. All of this flourless chocolate cake business drives me mad. Flourless chocolate cake is not “cake” at all. It’s just a big glob of chocolate. The term “cake” shouldn’t be anywhere in the title.

There are, of course those who like to combine fruit and chocolate. They are the chocolate-covered strawberry crowd. These people have a true zest for life. They want it all and they want it now.

Doctors are fruit lovers; lawyers are chocolate lovers. Cat lovers eat chocolate; dog lovers eat fruit. Most Baptists are chocolate lovers. Methodists prefer fruit. Catholics like fruit as long as it’s poached in wine. Episcopalians skip desert altogether and have another gin and tonic.

Fresh Strawberries with Crème Anglaise

1 cup cream
1 cup half and half
2 Tbl Grand Marnier
3/4 cup sugar, divided
5 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a 1 quart stainless steel pot bring the cream, half and half, Grand Marnier, vanilla and half of the sugar to a simmer. While it is heating, combine the yolks and remaining sugar in a mixing bowl and whip until light in color.

Slowly temper (pour) the cream mixture into to yolks. Once all of the cream has been added into the yolk mixture, return the mixture back to the pot. Cook over low-medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula, do not use a whip. Make sure to stir the edges and bottom of the saucepot well while the sauce is cooking. Cook until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat a spoon or spatula.

Remove from the heat pour the sauce immediately into a stainless steel bowl and cool down over an ice bath. Refrigerate until needed. This sauce will hold for three to four days covered and refrigerated.

4 pints fresh strawberries, hulls removed and berries quartered
1/2 cup sugar

While the sauce is cooling, prepare the strawberries.
Place the cleaned and cut berries in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the sugar over the berries and gently toss them in the bowl so that the sugar gets evenly distributed. Do this 1-2 hours prior to serving.

To serve, divide the strawberries evenly among 8 small chilled serving bowls or ice cream dishes. Drizzle one quarter cup of the sauce over the berries and serve.

8 servings

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