Monday, September 21, 2015

Pâte de Fruit

I am often a curmudgeon on my days off. I adore my line of work, and am un-sarcastically living my dream. That being said, sometimes the act of working a full week on the floor of the bar leaves me feeling spent emotionally.

It takes something out of the ordinary to bring me back to reality. Nothing expensive or lavish, just a little thing to treat myself.

This Tuesday I was beat down, but feeling better after Julie and I had Guadalupana for lunch. I was feeling better, but I needed something else.

I needed candy.

Not just any candy, but candy made by the brightest minds of our generation. I needed candy made with the bleeding edge of science that pushes the limits of deliciousness into unimaginable higher planes of epicurean enlightenment.

I am not talking about drugs.

Just admit it: candy is fucking great. Everyone in the world has had a moment where they felt down, someone gave you something sweet, and you felt better. When you’re a little kid, you don’t have the resources to get candy yourself, you have to beg. But as an adult, saying to yourself “I’m going to get in my car for the sole purpose of getting candy”, is just exhilarating. What kind of candy do you want? You’re a grownup, and you can get any candy you feel like. I am done begging for candy. I’ve spent 12 years of my life in the service industry so that when I feel like it, I can obtain the most horrifyingly delicious candy the world has ever seen. Candy you’d be scared to speak it’s name aloud. Candy that would make my younger self weep uncontrollably from the crushing and incomprehensible satisfaction it would cause.

Legally speaking I am considered a grownup.

I had to think hard for the candy I wanted most in the world. Price? No object. Caloric value? Sky is the limit. Rarity? I’m prepared to get on an airplane for the right nugget of sugar. I’ll say it again: I am a grownup, and I will have candy. My mental well being is at stake here, and I will pull a knife on a stranger if it means getting the perfect bite of candy.

Luckily Common Bond was just right down the street.

I knew they had sweet stuff but it took a second for me to remember: an instagram photo of Christine Au packaging one of my favorite things in the whole goddamn universe.

I wanted Pate de Fruit.

When I first started formally working with Justin and Karen, Karen’s Mignardises always fascinated me. Mignardises are like dessert dessert, a smaller, more final sweet thing after your actual dessert. This is how I came to love Caneles (tiny little cakes that taste good as fuck), and this is how I came to love Pate de Fruit. What is Pate de Fruit? It literally translates to “fruit paste”, a vulgar phrase to denote what is essentially a tiny, edible happy feeling. When I first discovered this, I would receive one every year or so, whenever Karen felt like making them. Now that there’s nothing to regulate my consumption, I’m in danger from choking to death from eating them too fast- like a puppy.

Pate de Fruit will make you throw your gummi bears in the trash.

The fastest analogy I can use to describe Pate de Fruit is really, really good gummi. People are weird and devoted to certain types of gummi: bears, worms, sharks, brite crawlers, peachy-O’s, etc. Pate de Fruit doesn’t need to take the form of cute animal or even a novel shape beyond just a block. It’s just a fucking block. It tastes so good that it doesn’t have time to try and catch your attention with a fun shape. Pate de Fruit knows that it is delicious, and doesn’t need your validation. I see a bag of brite crawlers and I pity their zany desperation.

All confection shops should be legally forced to sell Pate de Fruit.

They had two flavors: Blood Orange Vanilla, and Peach Vanilla. They taste like hyperreal expressions of their base fruit. Like a nuclear holocaust of peach goodness, its interior transparent like a jewel, with tiny black flecks of real vanilla pulp. This is so much better than one of my childhood gummi favorites, Peachy-O’s that I fantasize about breaking into the Ferrara Candy CEO’s house in the night, and threating them with a machete. I imagine I’d only be able to hiss rhetorical accusations like “Who do you think you are?” and “What gives you the right?”. I bite into the blood orange pate de fruits, and they’re so good I can’t even picture my gummi revenge fantasy anymore. I’m just going to eat candy with Julie in this refreshingly chilly bakery until I slip into a diabetic coma. At this point, Brad Wilcox will brew a pot of strong, spicy black tea, and pour it on my face to revive me. There will be no need to summon the paramedics.

I cannot overstate the unreal decadence of Pate de Fruit.

I refuse to believe that humans invented Pate de Fruit without the help of aliens or perhaps time travel. It just doesn’t make sense. The perfection of its squishy texture, the bracing clarity of fruit flavor. People say things like, “thing X is so tasty it feels wrong.” But I actually fear for my safety when I eat it. It feels like candy that only royalty would have access to. As I make my way through the box, I mentally prepare for a SWAT team to kick down the door, taser me, throw a black bag over my head and drag me to a dungeon where I’d waste away. The Pate de Fruits would be brought back to their rightful owner, some Russian oligarch on a yacht with his shirt unbuttoned, breathing heavily. It never happens, and I sigh with relief through a mouthful of candy.

Pate de Fruit is not expensive.

The true price of an object is how much someone is willing to pay for it. In my case, Pate de Fruit is extremely valuable since I’m willing to kill for them. This was never necessary, as Common bond sells a smartly packaged little box for five dollars. Five dollars is a steal for what those ten perfect little blocks of pleasure hold for your mouth. To get more enjoyment out of such a small container you will have to buy drugs.

Say no to drugs.

Isn’t that what mignardises (and thus, pate de fruits) are about anyway? Because you can’t deal with dinner coming to a screeching halt after dessert, we create another, smaller dessert. It feels like escapism to me- I don’t want this meal to end, please keep bringing me candies, I’m not ready to return to the wasteland of reality. Surely I’m not the first person to ask: what’s to stop us from having something after the mignardises? Why do we waste time on Mignardises that are not Pate de Fruit? How are other sweets considered superior? Can you put alcohol in Pate de Fruit? Would we be able to air drop crates full of Pate de Fruit in wartorn regions of the globe to promote peace?

I don’t have the answers to these questions. The world is full of mysteries. Go to Common Bond and eat their Pate de Fruit.