on cardamom

Somewhere between sweet and savory, a little aromatic and earthy at the same time. It looks like sand and it smells like nothing else. A little lavender, a little lemon. It comes out of nowhere. And I’m starting to see it everywhere.

I picked up this Richard Donnelly dark chocolate bar at Fog City News last week. The packaging was arresting in and of itself and the chocolate wrapped inside is outstanding. Go on. Judge a chocolate bar by its cover.

Rich and dark and made so much more intruiging with a dash of cardamom. Brought the heavy dark chocolate notes even more down to earth. Took that slightly cherry quality you’ll taste in fine, dark chocolate and rounded it out. And if you hadn’t read the package, you’d be stumped by the secret ingredient.

But there’s a light side to cardamom too. I added a teaspoon to a batch of banana bread and the loaves took on an unexpected floral quality. Echoes of Indian chai and the bread became a true tea cake.

I have more ideas for this fun spice. Introduce it to dessert. Maybe a cardamom panna cotta or semifreddo? Or play on the savory side and do a nice lamb marinade. This could be good.

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