Porcini mushroom truffles. They were handed to me at the show, five square inches of challenge and cojones wrapped up in brown fluted cups. I knew that if any company could make my arch nemesis, mushrooms, work, it would be Bissinger’s. Coincidentally, I received some porcini and pepita toffee in the mail around the same time, courtesy of Dude, Sweet Chocolate. It was then that I decided that a mushroom pairing was in order.
The verdict? Absolutely delicious and too smooth for its own good. The chocolate is austere, a good thing as there’s plenty of rich ganache, dark chocolate coating, and bitter cacao nibs to enjoy. For all intents and purposes, it would seem like an average, exceptionally tasty and beguiling truffle. But it’s clearly not. Mid-bite, the earthiness, the dirt and smoke flavors of the mushroom kick in. It’s almost meaty, which is why these go so well with a red wine. However, it’s a mild flavor and isn’t overpowering. Trust me, I’d know. The fruitiness of the dark chocolate counters the more savory flavors. It’s a compact, if subtly-flavored treat with a great set of flavors.
And now, onto the story!
Porcini was cute, perhaps a little too cute. Square-jawed, with piercing brown eyes and cacao nib dimples when they smiled, which was far and few between. P spent most of the time hanging out with us, but at the last minute, had to leave on their private helicopter-jetski for an important business call, leaving us their good wishes to play nicely.
“Are you sure you’re okay with this?” P asked, pausing briefly before securing their helmet and stepping onto the launch pad. I shrugged, “The contract says that I, the chocoholic, must obey the wishes of the chocolate. And if you will it…” P smiled. “I do. Have a good time, and remember, Jessica Ruby Emerald Hermione Spiderman McCondoms, you must face your fears.” Smiling, P stepped into the chopper. “Breaker 6-4, Cacao to Pricy Airport, airplane lingo, over,” and that was the last I saw of them, the helicopter soaring into the night sky.
Porcini turned to me. “It’s cold out here, isn’t it?” I looked them deep in the eyes, not wanting to back down. Porcini laughed, “Jessica, I’m fully aware that this is a dark path, perhaps even a 72% path, to lead you down, but this is the way I am. It’s the only way we can have any sort of relationship.” Holy crow, I thought to myself. Was this really what I want? As if reading my mind, Porcini smiled. “Tell me what you want. For instance,” they said, shifting their fluted wrapper down a hair, “Right now, as you’re biting your lip, I’m imagining you biting down on me, on my shell.” Stepping closer, I could feel the protrusion of the chocolate pressing into me.
“No!” I stepped back. “I…I don’t know what I want.” Porcini smiled again, moving the fluted wrapper on and gesturing toward the door. “There’s no need to rush. Shall we head back to my place? We could enjoy my collection of Pouilly Fuisse. Or Sauvignon Blanc. Or Chardonnay. I’m a man of many white-wine-based tastes, you know.”
Back at his expansive, spacious lair, Porcini strode into the kitchen. “Jeeves von Stereotypen! A glass of the finest Sutter Home for my guest,” eyes twinkling. “Now, tell me,” they said, “In your contract, is there anything you won’t do with mushrooms? You can be honest.” I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. “I’ve…I’ve never had a mushroom before.” Trailing off, Porcini turned away from me, head in hands. Suddenly, they threw the box of Sutter Home across the room. I stared in horror as I watched $7.95 worth of wine crash on the floor.
Porcini grabbed my hand, leading me to the aforementioned Brown Room of Confection. “Come with me,” they growled, and hurled open the door. “I want to show you all of this.” I gasped. The room was filled with mushrooms and chocolate, from wall to ceiling. All the varieties- chanterelles, truffles, fluffy white puffballs, massive porcinis, were all there, a musky scent rising from the floor. “You want me to eat these?!” I said. It seemed so scary, so overwhelming.
“I want you to experience them,” said Porcini. “With me.” Rushing toward me, they plunged a truffle into my mouth, my tongue and teeth singing with sweet chocolate, an underlying muskiness, and the tang of sea salt and bitter cacao nibs echoing in my throat. “Let go, baby. Oh, you’re so responsive!” I moaned around the truffle, swirling it in my mouth and reaching my climax as I splintered into a million pieces under Porcini. I ran around the room, grabbing mushrooms and hunks of dark chocolate, cramming them in my mouth. Porcini’s words undid me. Shoving pieces of Dude Sweet Chocolate’s porcini and pumpkin seed toffee at one minute, moaning over Meiji’s mushroom-shaped chocolates in another. I was out of control. I was completely addicted to shrooms.
When I woke up, it was dark. Melted chocolate was smeared all over my mouth, the taste of fungus still rank on my breath. I smelled like a drug dealer’s basement. I floated downstairs, beckoned by the sound of a wistful piano solo. Porcini sat by the piano, softly playing Yellow Submarine and transitioning to Terrapin Station. It was beautiful. “How long have you been playing?” Porcini smiled sadly. “Since I was six.” I imagined Porcini as an adorable, chocolate-smudged spore, and smiled. “Now, Miss McCondoms, we have a big day ahead of us, so sleep…sleep and dream of mushrooms. And me.” My subconscious, swiftly falling asleep with me, toked up to Harold and Kumar as I drifted to sleep…
To be continued…