In the last six months, deadlines have started appearing simultaneously, two, three at a time. This makes me nervous. My hands shake, I lose things, I drink too much coffee... The giant hi-res digital scanning machine where I get my large work scanned is now churning out bad results. I am glad I have the camera and thankfully in this country, good light in any season is never a problem.
While returning from the Scan man, I stopped to buy some Chinese food. While waiting, I wandered into a shop next door which sold Organic food. They had with them, the chocolate I was searching for – Earth Loaf chocolate. And there was only one left in the fridge.
In Toronto, my flatmate introduced me to Chocosol. If there is the equivalent of pure gold in chocolate, it is this. It is excellent, dark, organic chocolate. No sugar, no additives. It is so good that just one piece is enough to give you your chocolate fix for the entire day. The Toronto flatmate was a generous woman who not only gave me some Chocosol chocolate as a parting gift but also took me to the Distillery district and to the SOMA chocolate shop over there. I could only marvel at the chocolate because it was very expensive. However I did treat myself to a cup of chocolate with hints of orange, pepper and spices, which needless to say was heaven itself on earth within that cup.
SOMA hot chocolate. Photo by Danielle
Here, Earthloaf chocolate is as good as Chocosol (I can’t believe I am saying that). It is as obscenely priced but it is value for money. The one I bought is studded with this strange fruit called Gondhoraj which lifts the flavor of the chocolate. It is so so so good.The commercial variety we get, even in the good brands like Lindt are essentially candy. We end up eating a lot of it because we don’t get the chocolate fix we are looking for and instead derive our high from the sugar content within it.
In that Organic goods shop I also bought some extra dark Palm Jaggery (Molasses). The extra dark variety is hard to find. It is usually available in temple towns in coastal areas and friends who actually procure it for me during their travels have been known to suddenly change their minds when it comes to parting with it. The jaggery's smooth, dark, muted sweetness is as good as the chocolate but in its own way. It tastes almost like chocolate fudge but better.It is of course very different from organic powdered jaggery. I tried some Palm jaggery in my coffee and the deep, complex sweetness that resulted was very good.
Why I am eulogizing these things so much? Because I firmly believe that strong coffee, excellent quality chocolate and rich jaggery is fuel and sustenance to an illustrator. The good things you imbibe, flows out into the picture you make and lifts it above the ordinary. With so much dark goodness in my system, my hands have stopped shaking, the answers I wanted have emerged on paper, I breathe easily and I am happy. The taste of dark chocolate, Palm jaggery and coffee lingers on...