… but, no, I don’t mean the famous French stage actress of 100 years ago.
It was a lovely spring afternoon in Stockholm. I was out and about in the area of Fridhemsplan on the island of Kungsholmen, accomplishing small tasks for myself and the household, when I felt the need of a strong cup of coffee to bolster me for the rest of the day (the half-life of caffeine in a person of my configuration is about four hours). I hesitated a bit to go to a coffee shop, of which there are several in the area that I have frequented, because of the pastries that would tempt me in potential violation of the resolve I currently have to get below 88 kilos in weight. So I said to myself “Pav, at Thelins Konditori they may have just a little something, not too fattening, that I may ingest with only marginal accompanying guilt,” I said to myself.
So I went to Thelins (no apostrophe for possessives in Swedish) and, sure enough, in the display case was a tray of small chocolate-topped cookies about the diameter of a US silver dollar, and in thickness around that of my thumb.
I felt quite smug in finding this treasure, especially since it seemed too small to do significant damage to my avoirdupois. I received the cookie and a cup that I could fill endlessly from the open counter in the dining room, but was a bit taken aback that the price of the little cookie was 22 crowns (around $3.20 at the current exchange rate). Ah well, the chocolate dollop on the small cookie looked inviting so I filled my cup, found a comfortable seat where I could read my book and relax into the life-restoring coffee (plain, no additions).
As I addressed the eating of the cookie I thought I could put the whole thing in my mouth, but decided to bite off around a quarter of the morsel for starters, in order to make it last longer (and in mindfulness of the important women in my life who have admonished me to take smaller bites and to eat more slowly). So I bit.
This is where words fail. This is only where the greatest poets could adequately imply with similes, metaphors and neologisms the richness, the smoothness, the weight on the tongue, the oozing over the teeth and gums, and the hesitation to swallow this treasure away from the cavern of titillated senses that my mouth had become.
Four times, with sips of coffee in between, I indulged myself in this sensory transport and, finally, having nothing left to eat, sat back in the comfortably padded bench to ponder this unexpected experience.
Ah Sarah, I love you.
As far as I could tell, my girth was not materially enhanced by this adventure, so you can be sure that I have returned to scene of the original debauch several times since.
Note from the Internet: “Like several other great artists, most famously the ballerina Pavlova and opera singer Nellie Melba, actress Sarah Bernhardt had some sweet desserts named after her. There is a Sarah Bernhardt cake, and then there are these delicious confections called Sarah Bernhardt cookies, invented by a Danish pastry chef who wanted to honour the actress.”