Health & Safety be damned. The other day, I went to our local hospital to visit the ailing relative I mentioned in a recent post, bearing food for various family members who'd been keeping vigil for hours. In my stash of goodies were a couple of Waitrose crème brûlées, of the sort that come with sachets of brown sugar to sprinkle on top and caramelise. When I bought them, I told myself that, on this occasion, the hungry would probably have to go without the sweet crust. But then I decided that hospital or no hospital, crème brûlée isn't crème brûlée without its candied shell... so I crept onto the ward carrying a concealed blowtorch! I'd never realised how much smoke is produced by burning sugar. But fear not: with a good deal of strategic fanning, we ensured the fire alarms weren't set off. The naughtiness was worth it. For one thing, it made us chuckle. For another, it filled the room with the nutty, warm, childhood scent of caramel. The aroma hung above us, and for a minute or two, some sense of normality was restored.
PS Do check back tomorrow for my review of Nanban, the latest release from Arquiste, which will be showcased by the brand at Florence's Pitti exhibition, commencing on Friday.