Posted by: cassymuronaka | January 14, 2009

Providence Chocolates

I’ve been trying to restrain myself from inhaling this box of chocolates that has been more or less burning a hole in my pocket since early December.  I think the only reason I’ve been able to hold out this long is because I purchased it right as the holiday season blew into full swing, and I couldn’t step one foot in any direction without encountering someone holding out a platter of homemade something loaded with enough sugar to meet the daily dietary requirements of a medium-sized Swiss village.

The sheer beauty of these confections is one reason why I mentally slapped myself every time I thought of casually popping one into my mouth.  I really wanted to photograph them first.  They are the product of Providence, a mind-bendingly expensive restaurant in Los Angeles, legendary for its miniscule portions but robust flavors.

I did not purchase the meal, which is why I was able to have it in the first place.  It was a gift certificate from my-sister-the-entertainment lawyer, an extraordinarily generous birthday gift that I’ve been hoarding for nearly two years until there was something to celebrate and the time was right.  As it turned out, there has been increasingly little to celebrate in California, and there never seems to be a right time for anything, so I threw my husband in a suit, slathered on some eyeliner and mascara for the second time this year, and then boldly strode into Providence as if I ate there every other week.


There actually was a time when I did occasionally eat at a restaurant like Providence, but more often than not, what I did was attempt to cook things like they serve at Providence.  Until I had a child, I had not darkened the door of a McDonald’s for two decades, unless it was to drive through for a diet coke en route to a photo assignment in the heat of summer.  And while those days are over and I now shudder to think how many cheeseburgers I consumed just during first six months of motherhood, I like to think that I’m still pretty well versed in pretentious ingredients and ridiculously precise food preparation.

Which brings me to the second reason why I didn’t begin consuming the chocolates until … tonight.  And that’s because I needed a dictionary to eat them.  I have never even heard of four of the twelve flavorings in these candies: baharat, urfa, kalamansi, and rooibos. As for the fifth, saffron, well, does anyone really know how the hell saffron is supposed to taste?

So for those of you who are still barreling across town in rush hour to purchase galangal or West Indian burnt sugar before that obscure ethnic market closes for the day, keep your eyes peeled for these new ingredients:

Baharat: is a Turkish and Arabic spice mixture, which includes mint and rosebuds as key ingredients.

Urfa: is also Turkish, and in the pepper family.

Kalamansi: is a sour fruit also known as acid orange, and resembles a Mexican lime.

Rooibos: is a “broom-like legume” which tastes like black tea.



  1. This is great writing because I got hungry reading this.

  2. Yes, and I want to know how they tasted.

    • They were very very good. I ate at least half of them in one night.

  3. Cassy, did the patterns on the brown & white pokadot & circle go all the way thru??

    If not, maybe you can swap caning techniques with the Providence chef and score some more chocolates?

    • It has taken me a year to reply to your and Martha’s comments. I saw them again because I am such an admirer of my own work that I have been going back and re-reading some of my posts.

      No, the patterns were painted on in some kind of edible paint.

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