We all have friends. Most we meet during that sweet short life we share on earth and some, as it is with family and flukes of live; we cannot choose. They are suddenly there in your little excistence, regardless of how you wish your best friends to look, to attend in manners and often confronting us unanticipated with their quirks and irregularities. My wonderful friend Lou. I like sports and Politics, he snarres at such habits. We share on the palate of possibilities quite a bit in common:  We are unimpressed about status quo, fancy cars or any fighting-sports. Three key passions of his are mine as well. People watching (and yes, criticizing), dreaming about foreign lands (while Lou’s job is scouting for Hollywood Productions, stuck on the freeways) and foremost FOOD; (Lou is a self-announced food snob); in particular well blended chocolates.

Over the last year my gentle friend Lou would show up regularly at my little flat for dinner gatherings, bringing chocolate and certainly there is a story attached to each single piece he’d chosen. Oh, not just chocolates; Cheese stuffed Quince Jelly and Almond paste baked in Olives… Lou discovered the most unique and inventive places, introducing flavors and textures in combination so absurd the entire dinner table would be involved in his discovery. After such debacle and the critical tastings, enduring our snoody critiques about flavors ‘we dont understand’ or the ingredients he discribes as “tongue tickling and live enhancingly brilliant…” he’d simply stated: “If you don’t like it, leave it. I’ll eat it later!” Even in positive critique Lou would not hold back. After enjoying a great chocolate covered caramel pudding at his very regular hang out, the Tango Grill in West Hollywood, he would wave the owner Gene to the table and exclaim: “…fucking delicious!” (again and again, loyally eating the same dish…!)

About five month back, I brought up the idea we should visit South Africa. I heard the boom of Restaurants was praised and food to be exquisite. Convincing Lou I explained that they have Cocoa plantations and standing on the very south tip would be a spectacular life experience. Within days Lou would find restaurants and places to go, and had a whole three week culinary tour designed and decided. We finished a project, wrting a slap stick commedy and surely we could film it in Africa. His mom and sister Lisa would join from Chicago.

I went on a Thailand cooking assignment in late November 05, promising that March 2006 would be our travel month. I came back in January and within the first days, while still jet-legged ended up chit-chatting with Lou about all the places and culinary events I missed. I found him to be less energetic than usually. He left home early the next few dinners we had, normally being the last guest to go home and alarmingly did not touch the chocolate he had brought for Valentines Day. Two weeks later we went to see the Argentinean Ballet performing at the University in BH and while waiting in the Canteen, I bought a Palmiere, a puff-pastry dipped in cheap chocolate. Although critical about the abuse of the wholly cacao bean product, he did not even try it. It then downed on me; Lou had become chocolate abstinent. I could not have a friend like him no more. This was horrible! He needed instant chocolate resuscitation! Two days later we sat at his favorite breakfast niche, the “Conversation” around the corner where he lives and with great ease I witnessed him enjoying deliciously backed chocolate croissants.

I broke the news to him about my postponing Africa; I just agreed the night before to take on my current cooking assignment in Thailand again. He’s response was typical: “Thailand? They are certainly not famous for chocolate! Whereas in Cape Town I know six places…”  Two weeks later with four huge bags packed, Lou drove me to the airport, shaking his head in disbelieve: “This ain’t no short assignment?”

There has not been a day I have worked here in the kitchen without having to think of Lou when melting, grating or baking chocolate: Instantly smirking. I hope I will always think of Lou when eating, smelling or sharing chocolate. You have left me way to early, my friend.

Lou Rosenblate died

in his sleep peacfully

April 29th 2006

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