I was 11 years old when I experienced the first food to change my dessert-eating experience for the rest of my life, an experience that you have with only a couple of things in life, in which the memory of the first and last bite of the meal are the only thing that would ever possibly live up to that one meal.
I was on a Carnival Cruise porting in locations throughout the Mexican Riviera. If you have ever been on a cruise you know how much you eat while stuck on a ship for days on end, the 24-hour buffet does not help the cause either. But my most memorable meal was more than just a buffet fix.
The “Captain’s Dinner” was held every night for all the guests on the ship. Passenger parties were assigned a time and table for the week-long trip, along with two waiters who served the table all week. We quickly established a very friendly relationship with our waiters, Arnie and Rocco (I’m surprised I remember their names). Each night we would be served a full course meal starting with bread and butter, and then either soup or salad, followed by two possible the main entrées, and finished off with a choice of desserts. Each meal was as tasty and satisfying as the next, and each night we went home with our bellies full. On the fourth night that consistent satisfaction was disrupted by my encounter with a chocolate soufflé dessert.
As the chocolate filled cup was placed in front of me, I was deceived by its appearance. A little cake in a cup, that doesn’t seem so special…oh but was I wrong. As my spoon broke through the powdered sugar doused cap of the cup, chocolate emerged from the epicenter, proving its molten lava chocolate name. Steam escaped from the eruption and followed the spoon which I slowly brought to my mouth. The warm bittersweet chocolate soaked the bite of delicate chocolate cake. As the cake was engulfed with the chocolate sauce it transformed into a soft mushy texture, much like soaked bread but instead of falling apart it held itself together and formed the perfect bite.
The combination of the smooth chocolate cream sauce and the chocolate cake, as light as a cloud, entranced me. That first bite is nearly indescribable; few words can encompass the feeling of warmth and happiness that spread from the tips of my taste buds to the light tingling of my toes. To this day I have not felt the same passion between myself and any other aspect of life as I did for those short-lasting bites of the Captain’s chocolate soufflé.