Real love is the love that sometimes arises after sensual pleasure: if it does, it is immortal; the other kind inevitably goes stale, for it lies in mere fantasy. – Giacomo Casanova
Today we’re going to prepare something sweet. I’m not referring to the rich chocolate cakes we make for birthdays or the grandmother’s cookies with a homemade jam that we devour on Sundays.
I think of a cure for the days where you feel frustrated and powerless to change something when few understand you until you stop wondering yourself with the people around you. A remedy invented at a time when intrigue and deception were still clashing with honor and memory in public squares and most representative halls.
You wouldn’t believe it, there are days when I feel like Venice. Surrounded by boulders and prone to sinking. In these, thank God, rare moments, I reach deep into my repository of hard-to-use knowledge and pull out some – story of life. Of someone’s life. So when I am already so Venetian fragmented by the channels of everyday misery, I let sigh worthy of the best from the Ponte Dei Sospiri, and I think of him.
Giacomo Casanova – the most famous lover of all time. To my taste too small, too fickle, elusive, but so damn charming and unavoidable. That dark-skinned Venetian was an adventurer, a priest, a musician, a spy, a soldier, a Freemason, a writer, a hedonist. Well, my people, he was all he wanted!
In his memoirs, he counted 122 women, some more careful counters, would say that there were 200 of them. Anyway, he labored around every woman, because easy hunting is not a success, right? “I knew there was no woman who could resist the constant attention and perseverance of a man who intended to fall in love with him,” he wrote in the story of his life, as I believe the best recipe for all men. Continuous attention and perseverance, just as we women would wish! And more than that, in his extensive autobiography, he also left a testament to his extraordinary gastronomic taste. He gave as much force in good food and fine wine as in an interesting and beautiful woman. Between adventures, he was spending time on gastronomic journeys, tasting great pies, liqueurs, wines. Thanks to him, oysters, truffles, maraschino, and champagne are known as aphrodisiacs.
When this century, just like the previous one, was poor with Casanova, at least his legacy was given to us to enjoy the semblance. With a glass of maraschino, listening to the wind that brings the sounds of men’s footsteps over the Adriatic in today unacceptably high heels, the clatter of the crossed swords in a duel, the glow of the gilding on the mask during the Grand Carnival, the rustling of sheets and baldachins, the ripple of gondola agitated water in the canal, and the sight of a man who does not give up. Cheers to you – I raise a glass of toast to you, then bring a spoonful of divine dessert to my mouth, and everything is better. I smile at Venice over there somewhere, turn my back to the boulders around me, and let it ‘lift’ me. Almost as its name says.
TEXT – Karmela Vukov-Colić
PHOTO – Robert Blašković
1 package of Savoiardi (Ladyfinger biscuits)
4 freshest eggs
3 tablespoons of soft brown sugar
1 vanilla sugar
2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
500g mascarpone cheese
2 cups of strong black coffee, cooled
cup of maraschino
bitter cocoa for sprinkling
Whisk the egg yolks with sugar and vanilla sugar until they are frothy. Add the heavy cream, then beat further to obtain a velvety mixture. Stir in the cheese, which will give the cream its firmness and consistency. Beat egg whites separately (with a pinch of salt) in solid snow. Carefully blend the two mixtures, gently and slowly, like you caress each other. Soak the biscuits (like gondolas in the canal) in coffee mixed with maraschino and lay on a tray. Cover with cream (as a veil) and then re-layer the soaked cookies. Finish with cream and leave to refrigerate overnight. Sprinkle with bitter cocoa in the morning. The layer should be thick, soft and comfortable as a nice memory.