It was the evening of April Fools day. I unlocked the door to my home in the evening after a non-eventful but draining day at the office to find the neatly wrapped “surprise” package from New York.
I had actually been awating the arrival of the parcel from Rene, my friend of 20 plus years, who had dropped me a line to let me know that he had sent me a “book” he had spotted at a restaurant. Although its delivery was not unanticipated, its appearance on my doorstep was still a wonderful surprise which put a smile on my face and sparkle in my eyes. Perhaps it was the timing that was perfect. I was still trying to recuperate from the fatiguing experience and results! of the previous Sunday’s local elections where I had volunteering at the polls, leaving my post past midnight to fly to Izmir the next day for a day trip on just four hours of sleep. Just like Ashley Mantagu once said. “The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but they seize us.”
Picking up the package, the my first thought was…if this is a book purchased in a restaurant, it must be a cookbook, but how light…perhaps it is just a few recipe cards of the most well-known dishes.
My friend Rene is a bon vivant, a real gourmand and an excellent cook. The memory of dining at eachothers’ apartments way back in ’92, when we were both masters students in New York, playing cards late into the evening, conversing about food and Ayn Rand books, is still very fresh in my mind. Rene has since then mastered his cooking skills. I on the other hand, as much as I enjoy good food accompanied with an enriching conversation, no longer devote the hours necessary to prepare appetizing and distinctive dishes.
The delight of opening the package was of course an experience beyond words. The carefully wrapped package in brown paper first revealed the generic US post box, then thin dark gray wrapping paper with polka dots, which then exposed an elegant white box tied with a delicate red and white yarn. As opening each layer brought me closer and closer to the finale, my excitement paralleled that of a child’s in a candy store and judging by the weight, the thought that was running through my mind was, this little bundle really cannot be a book.
Lo and behold it was not a book but a sweet delivery of the most delicious and colour coordinated petit fours from Torrisi’s in New York.
I had tears in my eyes when I reversed the Torrisi card to acquaint myself with the details of the contents.
Tri-Color Cookie – Traditional marzipan and orange marmalade Italian flags
Black and White Macaroon – Black and White sesame with kumquat
PEPPERMINT PATTY – mint buttercream, dark chocolate
Mango Pate de Fruits – Lime, Esplette
I knew immediately why these petit fours were sent to my doorstep…only a very dear friend would make a conscious effort to share the joy of his latest find from a distance of 5,000 miles.
Peppermint Patties are my favourite chocolate of all time which unfortunately are very difficult to get a hold of in Istanbul. I am very lucky though to be surrounded with great friends who make the conscious effort to tote along a few bags for me whenever they return from the US. Then there is my refined friend Rene who has the tender heart to send a box my way…
Of course the effect of the indulgence of Rene’s affection is such a cordial exhilaration that simply stretches beyond words
As Henry David Thoreau is quoted as saying. “The language of friendship is not words but meanings”.
I myself have not had the opportunity to dine at Torrisi’s yet, however I can attest that the petit fours are simply divine, especially the peppermint patties.
There is a very enjoyable article on this wonderful restaurant in the New York Times, published a few weeks back by Jeff Gordinier for which the link is below:
We walk alone in this sometimes serene, sometimes dark world and it is always loving family and prized friends who help create dreams and fables with happy endings.
They say friends come our way unsought where reverence plays a great part. I am glad our paths crossed at some point Rene, may we enjoy many more delicate and magical moments together.