Years ago, when we still lived in Tel Aviv, my husband used to work for the European Marketing organization at his company. He traveled a lot, and always came back bearing all sorts of exciting food gifts. He used to bring me Pates de Fruits from France, sweet chewy marzipan from Austria and Germany, melt-in-your-mouth Teuscher Champagne pralines from Switzerland, flavorful Salami from Hungary, and pungent, salty Gorgonzola cheese from Italy.
Back then, 15 years ago, I couldn’t get any of those delicacies in Tel Aviv. The sweet anticipation of his return (hey, we were newlyweds 😉 ) was intensified by my excitement over experiencing the amazing, intense textures and flavors. I savored the tastes for days after his return, allowing myself to eat just a small portion at a time. And when it was all gone, I was often left with the interesting jars and packages the food came wrapped in.
Now, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California in 2011, I have access to pretty much anything. Even if I didn’t, I could easily order it on the Internet. But it’s all here – and often you don’t even have to go to specialty stores to find international delicacies. Many of them are sold at the local grocery store.
When we found the charming little French-style cafe in Los Gatos, California, we loved everything about it. Coffee was excellent. Desserts were amazing – it was difficult to choose!
We ended up settling on an airy eclair, and a decadent chocolate mousse to accompany our strong, frothy cappuccino.
I was thoroughly excited to discover that the place sells pates de fruits – one of my favorite French sweets, little chewy fruit jellies with an intense flavor and a soft texture.
But then I realized that having pates de fruits right here, so close to home, so easily accessible, makes them a whole lot less special.
Yes, we can now get everything, shipped anywhere. And for the most part, it’s great and I would never go back to the old days of yearning for things that you could only dream about. But once in a while I miss the days when each country, each city even, had its own special delicacy – and the fact that it was so difficult to get made it all the more special.