I stared doubtfully at the tray of objects placed before me and counted again one more time. ONE......TWO......THREE.......three churros to be exact accompanied by a cup of chocolate, some milk to go along side of it and a small jug of water. But this time there was a foreign item that had not been present at my last visit to Cafe Tortoni. A media-luna, an Argentinean croissant. A series of events was what got me here in Cafe Tortoni staring at a croissant. Namely being a lesson in english that got cut short as well as an email recommendation from a friend requesting a blog on this exquisite Argentinean treat. Looks like in my somewhat budding career so far as a writer, the only pieces I'm getting commissioned to do are to write about eating croissants. And I get absolutely no royalties either! But we all have to start somewhere right?
I toyed with the croissant playfully for a moment or two, probably much to the disdain of the elegantly dressed but overworked waiters as well as the upper class crowd of both locals and tourists. Being not only an outsider but having a more bohemian edge I do admit that I feel somewhat out of place in this high end environment. Finally, without further adieu, I poured some chocolate into the tea cup provided and added some milk to water down the sweet thick taste. Then I gracefully took a churro and ever so gently dipped it in the chocolate drink. When the drizzling hot brown liquid had soaked through the churro, I placed it between my lips and let my taste buds do the rest.
Ahhhhhhhhhh........no wonder this café is so famous. The lightly sugared churro and the sweet thick liquid chocolate did a tango dance together on my tongue that brought a smile to my lips. Not wanting the dance to end, I quickly took another piece and repeated the same motion. Churro to chocolate and then churro to mouth. With plenty of drinks of water in between to wash down one's palate properly to keep the sweet taste from being overwhelming.
But it was then I noticed the media-luna was still sitting there alone on my plate. Not wanting to leave my precious media-luna out on the action, I gently broke a piece off and pretty soon it too found itself first being dipped in that glorious sweet brown liquid and then beginning it's journey into my mouth. The moment the croissant touched my lips I knew I was in for something special. If Cafe Tortoni was like the garden of eden then that chocolate dipped croissant would have been the forbidden fruit. Simply stated it was sinfully delightful. Although this time my sins against me were being counted in calories rather than penances. And this sinful deed would be something I would be repeating again and again for the next 3-5 mins until all that was left now of that media-luna was a plate of crumbs.
I stared hard at the plate of crumbs, wishing that instead sitting there was a whole croissant. No matter, I can always come back. After all, I only live a block away. I have to admit that I have never been one for croissants and pastries. But there is something about this country's ability to redefine even the most mundane of everyday foods into something extraordinary. A blast of the cold night's air once again hit me as found myself walking through the great double doors of Cafe Tortoni. I couldn't help but feel like I had just somehow taken a visit to the garden of eden and back......