It’s been unusually cold and rainy here this week and Iain found that the Several Annies were getting on his nerves so he turned them over to the Kitchen staff and ask them to do something fun with them. A few hours later I walked in and Mrs. Ware said, ‘You look like you could use a cup of really strong coffee. You also look like you wouldn’t mind consuming a moist, really intensely chocolate brownie.’
Now I’ll admit that coffee and a brownie isn’t what I’d usually pair together, so I approached this early morning treat with some caution. And I’ll also admit that I didn’t altogether trust the glint of mischief in her eye when she asked me that question. So I was even more surprised when simply handed not a cup of coffee (I take it black, no sugar, no cream) and a brownie, but simply a very large brownie still warm from the wood-fired oven we’ve used here for centuries now. (Yes, I think it dates from the early 1600s!) It was, a Several Annie proclaimed proudly, a fudge coffee brownie.
I tasted it. It tasted of bittersweet chocolate, cinnamon, and, of course, coffee. If possible, it tasted better than the bittersweet chocolate brownies that show up here from time to time to be served at Eventide meals with handmade Madagascar vanilla ice cream. The coffee taste was subtle, more of an undertone than a kick in your face taste.
I was impressed, very impressed. And even more when they all proudly admitted that both chocolate and the coffee were the result of a project that Gus, our Estate Head Gardener, has resurrected from the Journals of Lady Alexandra Margaret Quinn, Head Gardener here in the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. She had managed somehow to have both chocolate and coffee rootings shipped here to grow in the Conservatory and Gus noted that both of those species were still being cultivated there. So he and a, err, crop of Several Annies a decade back decided to increase the planting enough to actually roast coffee here (a simple enough task really) and make chocolate (a slightly more complex process but doable). Their decision to make brownies was an odd one but certainly tasty.
So I left full of dark chocolate, honey (for sweetening), and slightly buzzed. Oh, well, it was breakfast time so I suppose there were worse things on the stomach! Though sleep may not come soon…
Affectionately, your fox.
PS: There’s enough roast coffee beans left that I claimed a half pound to make some rather special Irish coffee with.