⟨ Food ⟩

Chocolate Terrine

So close, but yet so far

Words / 林琪香
Translation / Iris Heung

1.
午後三時的陽光從窗外庭園透進,把奈津頭上的數根銀白髮照耀得閃閃發亮。陽太曾經想過,自己要成為替她拔掉白頭髮的人。那時奈津的白髮,只有額角上的一根,而陽太只是高中生。

陽太記得奈津額上那根白髮在她油亮黑髮之中飛飛揚揚,如同隨風而來的種子,落在陌生的田野裡,長出來的份外格格不入,想不到十多年後,種子已落地生根,在奈津頭上漸長得茂盛。

2.
陽太回到家門前時,才發現自己沒帶鑰匙,雖然千萬個不願意,他還是致電給姐姐求救。這是他第一次來到奈津的咖啡店,那時木建築的外牆是素白得發亮。推開門,門上掛著的風鈴叮咚,唱機內的琴音也叮叮咚咚,餐室的一邊是落地玻璃窗,窗外庭園雜草野花搖頭擺腦。拿著長嘴水壼的奈緒站在吧桌後,抬頭發現穿著高中校服的陽太,笑臉綻開。陽太心頭一悸,接過姐姐遞來的鑰匙時,聽不到姐姐拋下的一句:「苯蛋!」

3.
「陽太,這是你的咖啡,沒添得太滿啊,因為你要放大份量的牛奶。」奈津笑意盈盈的,把另一杯滿滿的黑咖啡放在由起子跟前。「這是女朋友的。這個送給你們。」奈津放下兩小片巧克力凍,便匆匆回到咖啡店裡處的酒吧後,忙著為別的客人沖咖啡。

陽太看著忙碌卻悠然自在的奈津,他以前也常坐在咖啡店中央長桌上最後的位置,於她低頭專注在脹起的咖啡豆時,小心翼翼地偷看她,趕著於她抬起頭時,埋首在書本裡。把一小口巧克力凍放進嘴裡,巧克力凍在嘴裡瞬即溶化,泛出了淡淡的藍姆酒香,巧克力如此甜美,但都不及上奈津。

任由雜草生長著的庭園、鋼琴音樂、書架上沒分類的書刊、濃郁的巧克力凍、奈津⋯⋯多年來,一切都沒變,唯一不同的是,陽太不再穿著校服,鄰座多了由起子。

「店主好美呢。」由起子看著遠處的奈津,對陽太說。
「是嗎?」
「嗯,你不覺得嗎?」
「還好吧。可能因為她不是我喜歡的類型。」

4.
一個星期後,陽太再次來的奈緒的咖啡店,在長桌盡頭的椅子上放下了書包坐下來。長桌另一端,兩個中年女人各自喝著咖啡看著書。

陽太低頭翻著餐牌,眼角感受到奈緒從吧桌那邊漸漸走近,放下了一杯清水,桌子上玻璃拆射的光影晃動。陽太指著餐牌上的咖啡欄:「要這個。」

「要哪一個口味呢?巴西的比較苦、歌倫比亞的會酸一點點。」奈緒問。
「巴西。」陽太說。
「牛奶咖啡嗎?」
陽太猶豫了一陣⋯⋯
「不,要黑咖啡。」他終於把目光自餐牌上拔出,戰戰兢兢地落在奈緒的臉上。

奈緒送上咖啡時,伴著一小杯牛奶,還有一小片巧克力蛋糕。「這是自製的Chocolate Terrine,送給你吃。」那陌生的食物名字,碟子上隨意灑落的巧克力粉,對陽太來說,都像是異國的溫暖陽光。奈緒回到吧桌後,陽太呷了一小口咖啡。呀,好苦⋯⋯。他趁奈緒背著餐室時,瞬速地把牛奶全倒在咖啡裡去。

5.
由起子一下子就把巧克力凍吃光了,逕自走到書架前,翻著各種藝術書與雜誌。其中一本,有著大片的咖啡漬。

6.
陽太告訴奈緒,大學畢業後希望當個庭園師,說自己不喜歡那些過度裝飾性的庭園,庭園得自然而混雜的,叫人感到大自然的生命力;說最近正在讀Italo Calvino的《樹上的男爵》,他深深認同,大樹有讓人忠誠面向自己的能力。奈緒總是微笑聽著陽太的話。陽太從不知道,自己也能如此侃侃而談。

在咖啡店裡的日子,近傍晚客人不多的時候,陽太喝著加了牛奶的黑咖啡,吃著濃郁的巧克力凍,度過了高中生活裡最溫柔的時光。直到某天,一個五六歲的小女孩,推開了店門,喊著媽媽,走到奈緒的跟前,然後陽太不小心打翻了咖啡。

7.
由起子拿了兩本書回到座位,把植田正治的攝影集放在陽太面前:「你喜歡的。」自己則翻看著甜品食譜,想找巧克力凍的料理方法。

「對了,你喝牛奶咖啡的嗎?」由起子瞄了一眼空著的牛奶杯。

「嗯,但現在愛喝黑的。」陽太湊近由起子耳邊,壓低聲音說,並吃下最後一口巧克力凍。

*
Chocolate Terrine

材料:
黑巧克力200克、牛油160克、藍姆酒30毫升、牛奶70毫升、糖140克、雞蛋4個、鹽小許。巧克力粉,適量。

做法:
1. 將巧克力及牛油隔水煮溶;
2. 加入牛奶、藍姆酒、糖及小許鹽,攪拌宜到糖完全溶化;
3. 在另一個碗裡把雞蛋打散;
4. 把巧克力漿移離熱水,慢慢倒入雞蛋,攪拌。
5. 把巧克力漿倒進模具裡;
6. 將烤箱預熱至180度;
7. 預熱後在烤箱裡的金屬盆倒一點水,放進模具,以180度焗40分鐘;
8. 焗好待散熱後,放進冰箱裡冷藏一天。
9. 吃時,切成薄片,灑上巧克力粉。完成。


Afternoon at 3, sunlight seeped in from the terrace and made Natsu’s few lines of gray hair glow and glitter. Hatuta once determined that he would be the one picking her gray hair. Back then, Natsu had only one strand of gray hair near her forehead, and he was only in high school.

Hatuta still remembered how this strand of grayness stood out boldly among her shiny dark hair, as if a foreign seed that was randomly blown onto a field, has started to grow in a mismatched surrounding. To his surprise, the seed has then taken over the field and become efflorescence; in ten years time, her hair has turned mostly gray.

2.
Only when Hatuta got back to his home’s door did he realize he had forgotten the keys. He called his sister for help despite strong reluctance. That was only his first time to visit Natsu’s cafe. The pure white facade of the wooden building was blindingly bright. As the door was pushed open, the wind chime on the door made some clinking sound, which seemed to be in harmony with the piano notes from the record player. On one side of the cafe was a window wall that faced an undomesticated garden with grass and wildflowers swinging in the wind. Natsu was standing behind the counter holding a kettle with a long spout. Seeing Hatuta in his high school uniform entering brought to her face a big smile, which made Hatuta a little shaky. He got the keys from his sister but did not expect she would call him a fool.

3.
“Hatuta, here is your coffee. I did not fill the cup as you always put so much milk.” Natsu smiled as she put a big mug of black coffee in front of Yukiko. “This is for your girlfriend. And these treats are on me.” She laid on the table two thin slices of chocolate terrine and returned to the counter to prepare coffee for other customers.

Hatuta was observing Natsu who appeared to be happy with being busy. He used to sit at the far end of the long desk and peeked at her focussing on the coffee beans. He would bury his head in the book whenever she looked up. The tiny bite of chocolate terrine melted instantly on his tongue and diffused a gentle fragrance of rum in his mouth. No matter how sweet the chocolate was, it could never be comparable to Natsu.

The eccentric garden overgrown with weed, the piano music, the random books and magazines on the shelf, the rich chocolate terrine, and Natsu… all these never changed through all the years. The only thing that changed was Hatuta who no longer wore his uniform, and had Yukiko sitting with him.

“The shop owner is so beautiful,” Yukiko told Hatuta while watching Natsu who was standing far away.
“Is she?”
“Yes. Don’t you think so?”
“Not bad. Perhaps she is not my type.”

4.
A week passed. Hatuta visited Natsu’s cafe again. He sat at the far end of the long table and put down his backpack. The other end of the table sat two women in their middle-age years, drinking coffee and reading.

Hatuta could sense Natsu coming to him from the counter while he lowered his head to read the menu. Sunlight shined through the glass of water she placed on the table and reflected on the table some wave-like shadow. Hatuta pointed at the menu and said, “I will have this.”

“Which flavor do you prefer? The Brazilian beans are more bitter, while the Colombian beans are on the sour side.” Natsu asked.
“Brazilian,” Hatuta said.
“With milk?”
Hatuta hesitated for a second…
“No. I want black coffee.” He finally looked away from the menu and shyly turned to Natsu’s face.

Natsu still brought a small glass of milk along with the coffee, alongside was also a thin slice of chocolate cake. “This is a piece of homemade chocolate terrine on the house.” The name of the cake was totally new to him, the chocolate powder casually sprinkled on the plate looked like some exotic yet warm sunshine. Natsu returned to the counter. Hatuta had a sip of the coffee realizing it was really bitter. Seeing Natsu had turned away, he quickly pour the whole glass of milk into his coffee.

5.
Yukiko finished the chocolate terrine without any effort. She walked to the shelf and flipped through the art books and magazines. In one of the magazines, there was a huge coffee stain.

6.
Hatuta told Natsu that he wanted to be a gardener when he graduated. He did not like the gardens that had too much ornament, as only the natural and rowdy garden could exhibit the enormous power of nature. He then mentioned about how he was recently inspired by Italo Calvino’s book The Baron in the Trees, that trees had the power to reveal the most earnest face of human. Natsu always smiled as she listened to Hatuta. Little did Hatuta know he could actually talk so much.

Hatuta spent his time in the cafe around the time before evening, when the shop was not busy; enjoying his milk coffee and the rich chocolate terrine were the most serene moments during his high school life. His routine continued until one day, a little girl in the age of five or six walked into the cafe. She came to Natsu and called her “mama”. Her presence made Hatuta spill his coffee.

7.
Yukiko brought two books back to where they sat. She passed the photobook of Shōji Ueda to Hatuta and said, “you like his work.” She then started reading a dessert recipe book, trying to find the recipe for the chocolate terrine.

“Oh, do you like milk coffee?” Yukiko glanced at the empty milk glass.

“Yes, but now I prefer black coffee.” Hatuta whispered to Yukiko and finished the last bite of chocolate terrine.


Chocolate Terrine

Ingredients:

200g dark chocolate, 160g butter, 30ml rum, 70ml milk, 140g sugar, 4 eggs, a pinch of salt, some chocolate powder.

Steps:

  1. Place a bowl in simmering water, place the chocolate and butter in the bowl until just melted.
  2. Pour in milk, rum, sugar, and salt, stir until fully melted.
  3. Place the eggs in a separate bowl to whisk.
  4. Take the molten chocolate off the heat, slowly pour in the whisked milk and stir.
  5.  Pour the molten chocolate into the terrine tin.
  6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  7. Splash some water on the baking tray when the oven is heated up. Bring in the tin with molten chocolate and bake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes.
  8. Put the terrine into the fridge after cooling down.
  9. Cut the terrine into thin slices and sprinkle chocolate powder. Ready to serve.