Moving has always been a bittersweet process for me. It is an ending as much as a beginning, the close of one chapter of my life and the opening of another. In the last five years, I have moved 14 times. Between summer internships, studying abroad, attending university, and moving back home for a month here or there, it adds up. Even as I sit here writing this, I still find it hard to believe. 14 times? How is that even possible?
3 countries, 7 cities, 5 years.
Every time I move, I acquire new things to add to my life, whether it be a new pair of shoes, a new tart pan, or a new set of clothes. Every time I move, I have to leave small parts of my life behind. My suitcase is a fixed size. If something new stays, something old must go. To make room for who I have become, I must part with some of the older pieces of myself. It might be a pair of beat up sneakers that were worn when I backpacked through Europe. An overused cookie sheet that produced such baked love during its lifetime. A favorite dress that fit when I was ten pounds lighter.
My suitcase has grown to represent change. Certainly a suitcase embodies an inherent change in setting, of people and places. But for me, my suitcase represents a very deep and personal level of change. My entire life fits neatly into that suitcase. All of my material possessions are held within its zippered walls. Every time I pack it, it shows me a visual representation of the objects that have grown to define me, that I have chosen to define myself. My suitcase shows me where I have been and who I have become.
Tomorrow I must say farewell to Montréal to follow my pastry dreams. For once, I'm not ready to leave. I feel like I have unfinished business. I fell in love with this city and the people and culture that surround it. Montreal allowed me to realize my heart wasn't in studying physics. It let me embrace my passion for baking and all things sweet. It gave me a taste of city life and forced me to learn a little French. I think I will miss the metro commutes and the intimate greetings, with a kiss on each cheek, from both strangers and friends most of all.
I have said goodbye to my wonderful friends, my suitcase is packed, and a new chapter of my life is just visible on the horizon. It is time to move on.
I am thankful memories and experiences pack lightly.
Au revoir, Montréal. Vous serez manqué.
Chocolate truffles represent much of my current emotions. Though truffles are undeniably decadent, they hold a bittersweet quality. You must break through the bitter, unsweetened cocoa exterior before you can reach the smooth, sweet chocolate interior. Or, in so many words, I have to say my final goodbyes to Montréal, however sad or bitter they may be, before I can embark on a new adventure, a journey filled with sweetness and sugar. So make these truffles to share with friends and family or send them to loved ones far away. Truffles travel well.
Yields 30-40 truffles, depending on size
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup cocoa powder
Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl.
In a small saucepan, cook the cream over medium-high just until it boils. Pour cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir the chocolate until the chocolate has completely melted and is silky smooth.
Allow the chocolate to sit until it begins to firm up, about 30 to 45 minutes. Stir every 5 to 10 minutes. If the chocolate gets too hard, melt over a double boiler and repeat the cooling process. Do not refrigerate or freeze the chocolate to shorten the cooling time. This will only result in rock hard chocolate or chocolate with an uneven texture.
Place the cocoa powder in small container.
Using a spoon, drop a teaspoon to a tablespoon of chocolate into the cocoa powder (amount will depend on how large you want your truffles). Shake the container until the truffles are completely covered in cocoa powder. Remove and set on parchment paper to firm up for about 5 minutes. When the truffles have firmed up, place them in a fine mesh strainer and shake off the excess cocoa powder.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks. Bring to room temperature before serving. If the truffles have absorbed the cocoa powder, you can re-roll them before serving to give a more polished appearance (in fact, I suggest this for the best results).