Is a prerequisite of entering into adulthood leaving our sensitivity to our wonderful world at the door? When exactly did dark rooms cease to provoke imaginary salivating monsters sat waiting in the corner? How old is too old to fix a blanket around your shoulders and pretend that you have been called upon to save the universe?
Can pleasure still come with a sense of innocence anymore?
We believe it can.
We vividly remember the first time we stepped foot in Amsterdam. In our favourite plaza, Spui, we came across a small bakery called Lanskroon, near the scenic canals. We walked in to get our daily caffeine fix when we were suddenly tempted by the various cakes presented so neatly at the counter. “Excuse me, is this carrot cake really made from carrot?” we asked, puzzled. The kind lady did not seem prepared to answer such a naïve question. Staring back into our curiosity-glazed eyes, she giggled and answered, “Yes, it is!”. We had never seen a cake made from carrots before, and so many questions ran around our mind. Most significantly, did it actually taste vegetable-y? After one small nibble, our taste buds tingled with delight. This would be our new favourite cake. Afterwards, we found out just how commonplace this sensational cake is, popping up in every café we stepped into. Now, without even looking at the cake counter, we directly request this sweet treat whenever we encounter a new café in Amsterdam; our memory of this beautiful city is solidified in the flavour of carrot cake.
Our love for carrot cake has accompanied us to new destinations. When we set our feet in New York again, we didn’t just research places of interest and coffee shops, we also hunted down ‘the best carrot cake in town’. We became experts on it, detecting nuanced differences in every bite: a dash of mint, a pinch of sea salt, a sprinkling of hazelnut.
Love of food, then, is the key to unlock our greatest memories. We are, therefore, recreating that powerful feeling right here in our coffee shop. Our good friend, Anthony, a serious foodie-judge, participated in our brownie and carrot cake testing stage. He closed his eyes to heighten his sense of taste, exclaiming “This is so good, absolutely sensational. It reminds me of when I was eight years old. My favourite uncle took me for dinner, and ordered a brownie with a glass of milk just for me.” This is the magic of food. Not only does it satisfy cravings, but it takes us back to special moments in our past. Such an innocent pleasure.
“Making brownies is actually not too difficult,” said our head dessert chef, Nicole. “It is only strong chocolate and lots of sugar! It is so simple; a kid could make it. As grown-ups, we need such simple deliciousness to remind us of our childhood happiness.” The process of experimentation itself was full of fun and love. Our Indian mummy, Ms. Dhruve, shared her secret ‘best brownies in Bombay’ recipe with us. Natsuko, our Japanese teacher and life advisor, gave us a lot of professional feedback. Magic happened when we didn’t quite expect it, and before we even realized, a whole plate of freshly baked brownies had been finished in our kitchen.
Whether it is your first time to try these simple treats, or you already hold their taste dear to your heart, we all deserve to know this innocent pleasure.
What’s your most innocent pleasure?