Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Chocolate Babka


Chocolate Babka
David, 08 Feb

I’d been anxious to eat at Honey & Co. in London, which was at the top of my list of places to try there, but never made it. One of the underrepresented foods in Paris is Middle Eastern food. With a large population from that part of the world, most of the restaurants are snack bar-like stands. And even at the standard Middle Eastern restaurants, I suspect they get their hummusbaba ganoush and other dips, from elsewhere. The knees on my pants are all worn down from begging people like Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi of Ottolenghi and Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, the owners of Honey & Co., to open a branch in Paris. But so far, they’re staying on the other side of the Channel.
My last trip to London was only twenty-four hours (too many places…not enough time!) and as much as I tried to get to Honey & Co., and a few other places, it didn’t happen. And before I knew it, I was back on the Eurostar train, heading home. But proof that if you wish for something hard enough, when I was in Ireland at Ballymaloe, spending time in the kitchen early one morning with the head baker, in walked Sarit and Itamar, who started to prepare a generous lunch of all the Middle Eastern foods that I love. And a few hours later, I was sitting around an amazing table loaded with gorgeous salads, spreads, and long-roasted lamb, prepared by the talented team themselves!
And proof that double-dreams do come true, Sarit and Itamar recently came to Paris and we had a lovely lunch together. They’re had a little difficulty adjusting to all the rich foods, but were troopers. And when we parted, again, they handed me a copy of Honey & Co. The Baking Book, which I was planning on picking up the next time I was in the U.S. or England, along with a bag of their chocolate and pistachio cookies (page 202) that were loaded with beautiful, bright green pistachio nuts.
The book was named the Food Book of the Year by the Sunday Times and it’s easy to see why: If I had more time on my hands, and I hadn’t been laid up for three months with a bum knee that eventually needed surgery, sitting around eating chocolate on my couch, I’d be able to eat everything in the book.
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