Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Whip It Up with Elizabeth Coldwell!

Welcome Elizabeth! Make yourself at home. 

I’ve always loved to write scenes that involve food as part of sex play– in the first novel I had published,
Image credits: a chocolate fountain in Brussels (Chmouel)
back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, my heroine and the guy who was trying to impress her with his cooking found a whole new use for a bowl of Eton Mess – so when the call went out for a Total-e-bound anthology that would combine BDSM themes with culinary pleasures, I couldn’t wait to start fleshing out a storyline.

The setting, I knew, would be an upmarket chocolate shop. The jury is still out on whether chocolate actually has any aphrodisiac qualities, but there’s definitely something very sensual about the way it feels in your mouth and the way it looks when it’s liquid and glossy. And the people creating filled and flavoured chocolates have become so much more creative in recent years. When I was growing up, if I wanted an exotic chocolate taste experience, I’d treat myself to a Fry’s Five Centre bar, the filling of which moved from orange to raspberry, lime, strawberry, and pineapple along its length. (Mmm, I’m getting nostalgic for one right now…) But these days, you can find chocolates that contain the most incredible flavours, from Japanese yuzu to crispy bacon.

On my travels, I’ve visited a couple of incredible chocolate shops, which played a big part in the creation of More Than Vanilla. In Amsterdam, there’s the wonderful Puccini Bomboni, where you can try chocolates flavoured with black pepper, tamarind, tea, and thyme, alongside the more conventional fruity or alcoholic centres. But their creations pale in comparison to those of The Chocolate Line in Bruges. The shop’s owner, Dominique Persoone, describes himself as a ‘shock-o-latier’, and his creations are designed to make you take notice. He invented a chocolate shooter for the Rolling Stones that lets you snort chocolate
Image credits: Truffles (Wikimedia Commons)
powder, rather than eat it, and his ideas of flavour combinations include rice wine, soy sauce and sesame seed praline, basil, black olives and sundried tomatoes. He also fills his chocolates with lavender, Coca-cola, and fried onion (so wrong, but so tasty), among any other things. These weird and wonderful products ensure The Chocolate Line is always busy, in a city where every second shop appears to sell chocolate.
Slightly closer to home, I’m also a fan of Merry Berry Truffles, whose stall pops up at all the big beer festivals, and who flavour their chocolate pieces with an array of spices including ginger and lemongrass. They even have a product called ‘Scorpion Death Chili Chocolate’, so don’t say you haven’t been warned!
In More Than Vanilla, the attempts of Oliver Honeyman and Nina Lee to drag the chocolate shop they own in York into the Twenty-first Century prompt Oliver to experiment with some new flavour combinations similar to the ones above. To discover what works and what doesn’t, he engages Nina, who’s his submissive as well as his long-time girlfriend, in a very kinky taste test. Blindfolded, she has to guess what she’s eating, and if she gets it wrong, there’s a forfeit to pay. Here’s a little extract:

For a moment she waited in darkness, only the odd rustling noise breaking the silence. She caught the faint snick of the living room door being pushed to—not that they were in any danger of being disturbed on this quiet Sunday afternoon. Trust Oliver to be thorough about everything, she thought. Then he came close to her. He wasn’t wearing cologne, presumably so as not to distract her from any aromas the chocolate might hold, and she breathed in the warm, male scent of his skin.

“Open wide,” he ordered her, and obediently she let her mouth fall open. “Now taste this, and tell me what it is.”

Prepared to rise to his unusual challenge, Nina let the square of chocolate Oliver had popped into her mouth dissolve on her tongue. With the blindfold securely fastened over her eyes, it seemed her other senses had sharpened to compensate. The hit of cocoa was instant, intense and almost bitter. This blend had to be at least sixty per cent pure, she reckoned, far higher than anything they’d used till now. Following swiftly behind came a taste she recognised at once, subtle but still hot enough to leave her lips swollen and tingling, as though she’d been thoroughly kissed.

“Chilli,” she pronounced, confident in her answer, “and very good dark chocolate.”

“Well done,” Oliver said, the words of praise bringing a warm glow in their wake. “Perhaps a slightly stiffer test is called for.”

This time, she tasted white chocolate, soft and creamy. With it came a hint of something clean and herbal, naggingly familiar, but, struggle as she might, she couldn’t bring its name to the front of her mind.

“Sorry, no,” she said at last.

She couldn’t see his face, but she knew from the tone of his voice he must be smiling in satisfaction. “I thought that might fox you. It’s lemongrass.”

With his love for Thai food, it shouldn’t have surprised her that Oliver had chosen to blend chocolate with one of the staple spices of that particular cuisine. She wasn’t entirely sure she liked the effect, but she had to admit it was a bold experiment on his part, and one that might appeal to palates other than her own.

“And as you failed that test,” Oliver continued, “I’m afraid you’re going to have to pay the appropriate forfeit. Remove your blouse, please.”

The Whip It Up anthology contains stories by Wendi Zwaduk, Elizabeth Coldwell, Victoria Blisse, Ayla Ruse, Normandie Alleman and Caitlin Ricci, and is published by Total-e-Bound

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