Fashion mavens call beige oatmeal, book mavens call Murakami a literary deity and I, far from being a chocolate maven, call salted caramel and chocolate a true inspiration. I have so far read three of Murakami's books -1Q84, Norwegian Wood and Sputnik Sweetheart- and I am still not drawn into his language and style. As for salted caramel, this is my latest favourite taste and I have been trying to discover its layers in several brands around the world. Today -Maison Taillefer depuis 1945.
As a rule, it is somehow difficult to explain why a novel is amazing and how the language and the narrative speak to you and move both heart and mind. At the same time, it is awfully frustrating to be reading a book that makes you yawn in a metaphorical way and gallop through its pages for the ending. Murakami feels like that kind of writer for the reader has to go through a certain rite of passage to be able to grow familiar with its style. Once you are there, there is no guarantee that you, the reader, are likely to fall in love with his books or on the contrary, feel you lost something on the way.
I belong to the latter category since Murakami's novel Sputnik Sweetheart fails to give me goosebumps and keep me wanting for more of his prose. First, I find it very predictable from the point of view of the young man leading both a respectable life, again that of a teacher, and having a married mistress on the side. Then, the same man, K., is in love with an impossible woman that is hard to define or hold. Sumire is exceptionally good at leaving things unfinished, being disorganized and fickle. She is a budding writer who seems to be unaware of K's feelings towards her. Her name means Violet and her mother was inspired by Mozart in her choice. She shares with K her most intimate thoughts about life, writing and other ideas bustling into her mind. One day, she confesses having fallen in love with Miu, a married, older woman.
Again, the theme is human loneliness and the inability to connect to the very people around us. Miu is into the wine business and takes Sumire with her on a trip to Europe to meet suppliers and travel the beautiful vineyards. They end up in Greece, on an island of no name where, one night, when Sumire becomes obvious about her attraction to her, Miu shares a secret about how a person meets his doppelganger in a Ferris wheel and turns white overnight. To me, this was the most hallucinating and intriguing part of the book. Secrets are bound to trigger unexpected emotions and reveal hidden sides of our personalities and Sumire takes the leap into her own discovery.
"Being all alone is like the feeling you get when you stand at the mouth of a large river on a rainy evening and watch the water flow into the sea." In Murakami's novel, all three characters are lonely human beings that choose to live their loneliness differently, on this side or the other. It is the feeling of helplessness and frustration that stays with the reader long after the novel ends that captures the very essence of the story.
One of these days, I am going to review the best salted caramel chocolate I have eaten back In US. So far I have tried to recreate the pleasure my palate experienced a couple of months ago and still, I feel perfect is hard to replicate. Bouchées de chocolat lait fourré caramel au beurre salé par Maison Taillefer feels unsatisfying and random. The chocolate leaves a poor taste in the mouth and it is because of the salted caramel that you give it a second chance. It is probably the sel of Guerande (salt of Gerande) and the caramel bites that give it a good touch. Still, the chocolate ruins the potential in it.
This Maison of Taillefer goes back from 1945 and even expanded its range of products to coffee and tea. It strives to meet the tastes of ordinary chocolate lovers and the exquisite taste buds of the very few. It is hard to assess it after only having tasted one product but I have been hardly impressed with their chocolate.
I have come to realize some books and chocolate flavors are either too intense for me or I am a finicky eater. Either way, Sputnik Sweetheart and Bouchées de chocolat lait fourré caramel au beurre salé par Maison Taillefer seem to be a good match in terms of the sensations they created into my mind and mouth.