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January 16, 2009

Blackberry, smoke, bee balm

I'm not one to hide my opinion on something I find distasteful, disgusting, or offensive so let's just get this out of the way from the get-go:  I hate smoking.  Even taking my involuntary asthma-related reactions to second-hand smoke out of the equation, I hate everything about it -- the smell, the taste, the way it makes other people smell and taste, the way second-hand smoke infiltrates every fiber of a favorite sweater or my hair follicles without my permission, and the havoc it wreaks on my sinuses when I walk within 10 feet of someone puffing away.  And that's just cigarettes.

What I hate more are cigars.  To me, there's no more offensive a smell than a cigar.  It's suffocating, toxic, and intrusive.  It's vulgar, vile, and almost hostile in its permeation.  I absolutely hate everything about cigars. 

So you can imagine how I felt when I saw that I had to steep a crumbled bit of cigar in some cream for this recipe.  To say I was less than thrilled would be kind.  I was actually pissed off.  I didn't want my fingertips, let alone my kitchen or my house to smell even remotely like cigars, because that shit takes days to fade, and since it's been -974 degrees Kelvin outside, opening windows to air out the house really isn't an option right now.  And, more on principle, I just didn't want to bring a cigar into the house, or cook with it at all.

I mean, why ruin a perfectly luscious, magnificent blackberry with something so onerous?  It just didn't make sense to me, and going into this dish, I was cranky and feeling a defiant animosity that, quite honestly, took even me by surprise.  I mean, it's only a food blog, right?  But still.  I was pissed about having to do this, and went into this dish hoping it would fail beyond anything that had ever failed before, because I wanted to feel some sense of justice that my belief about cigars was right.

Here's the mise en place:


Aren't those blackberries just gorgeous?  I found them at the Asian grocer (and only 99 cents for a pint, compared to Whole Foods' $4.99), and made sure I tasted one before I bought them.  Buying produce at my local Asian market, H Mart in Wheaton, MD, can be touch and go.  Sometimes their fruits and vegetables spoil before you even get them home.  Other times, they just don't ever taste ripe.  These blackberries were from Mexico and they were so juicy with the right balance of sweet and tart, with the flavor bursting across my tongue -- perfect!  I was tempted to eat them all right out of the bowl and just bail on doing this dish altogether, but again... I needed to do it to prove it sucked and was bad, so I soldiered onward.

Let me go off on a semi-related tangent for a second: does anyone else out there have a rapturous affection for blackberries, but detest raspberries?  I could eat blackberries every day, night, and in between.  But put one lone raspberry on top of my cheesecake or slather anything raspberry-flavored between the layers of a chocolate cake and you've ruined my evening.  Seriously. This wanton trend of adding raspberries where they don't belong (anywhere but the trash can, if you ask me) needs to stop.

Okaaaaaayyyy.... wow.  I'm kind of ranty today, aren't I?  Lucky you.

The instructions for this dish were really quite easy, so I figured, at least if it's going to suck, it's going to be overwith quickly and without too much fuss or wasted ingredients, so I got started.

The first thing I did was combine the half-and-half, cream, sugar, salt, and those vile tobacco leaves in a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer.


After it had simmered for about 45 seconds, I turned off the flame, covered the pot, and let the mixture steep for 20 minutes.  For the last five minutes of the steeping time, I soaked five gelatin sheets in cold water.

When the 20 minutes were up, I squeezed the water out of the gelatin sheets, added them to the tobacco cream mixture, and stirred until they had dissolved.  I then poured the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a separate container and discarded the tobacco leaves.


Also while the tobacco cream was steeping, I leveled the ends of eight blackberries and set them on paper towels to drain.


I lined a 9x13" baking dish with plastic wrap and poured a few ladlefuls of the tobacco cream and gelatin mixture into it -- just enough to cover the bottom of the dish -- and put it in the fridge so it could set (which took just 45 minutes, not the two hours the book suggested).


Let me interject here that I tasted the tobacco cream as I poured it in the baking dish, and I gagged.  It tasted so sharp and pointy and pungent and intense and awful.  And while I not-so-secretly wanted this dish to suck, I found myself also feeling really disappointed that the cream had turned out to be so awful and disgusting.  Why?  Because even though I hated the tobacco element in concept, I hated even more the idea that we'd all take our bites off the spoon, and fight over space in front of the sink to spit it out in disgust.

Really.  It was that bad.

After the cream had set, I took the pan out of the refrigerator and placed the blackberries evenly on the surface, pushing them down ever so slightly before pouring in the rest of the tobacco cream liquid and putting it all back in the fridge so the next layer could set.



The last thing I had to do was grind some long peppercorns (the book called for Thai long peppercorns; I had Indonesian and used those instead) and smoked salt:


I also pulled the smallest mint leaves to use as garnish, since finding bee balm leaves and flowers this time of year isn't possible.

To plate, I slid my 1.25" round cutter down over each blackberry, through the tobacco cream, and back up again.  Then, I used an offset spatula to lift it up each serving and place it onto a spoon.  I sprinkled each serving with the finely ground long peppercorns and smoked salt mixture, then topped each blackberry with a mint leaf.  Wanna see?




I called my friends to come over, and made sure it was okay for their kids to eat something with tobacco cream.  Everyone was cool with it, and a few minutes later, seven of us (four adults, three kids) stood in my kitchen staring at the platter in front of us, all the spoons of doom lined up in a row.

I explained what the bite was going to be, and we all looked at one another and said, "You go first."  "No, you go."

We agreed that we'd each pick up a spoon and try it at the same time.  I arranged it so that some of us would be near the sink, while the others had easy access to the trash can.

I foresaw lots of gagging and spitting and water drinking and tongue scraping in our future.

And you know what?

I was wrong.

Dead fucking wrong.

This dish?  This blackberry-assaulting tobacco cream dish is my favorite one so far.

And it's now the dish by which we'll measure all others. 

I can hear it now: "Well, this salsify was okay, but not as good as the blackberries with tobacco cream."

The tobacco cream wasn't pungent, and it wasn't sharp or at all offensive.  It was smooth, slightly smoky, a little sweet, and was the most perfect cushion upon which to place a blackberry.  Having a very smooth, lightly smoky taste partnered with the sweet juiciness of a perfectly ripe blackberry was great... but then add the very subtle salt and pepper to it, with a fresh infusion of mint?  Off-the-charts good.  Spectacular, in fact.  With every chew, a little more of the blackberry became masticated, and when everything was together in my mouth, it was such a wonderful surprise.  I wish I'd doubled or tripled the batch, THAT'S how good it was.

All seven of us LOVED it, and after we'd ooooed and aaaahed, we all honed in on the lone, remaining spoon left on the platter.  There was one extra serving, and after a dorky contest of guess-the-number-I'm-thinking-off-between-1-and-100, my friend's daughter, "M," got to eat the extra one and was quite thrilled about her victory.  This, from the girl who is one of the most finicky eaters I've ever known, and can only name 3 out of the 100 French Laundry dishes she ate as being dishes she only "sort of liked."  Awesome.

So instead of us racing to the sink to spit it out, I'm happy to say that this was the end result:



A spit-free sink and licked-clean spoons.


And for the first time in my life, it feels... no, tastes good being wrong.

Up Next: Tuna, candied and dried

Resources: Blackberries and mint from HMart in Wheaton, MD; Romeo y Julieta Medallas de Oro cigar from Talbert's; Organic Valley cream and half-and-half; David's kosher salt; King Arthur Flour gelatin sheets; Indonesian long peppercorns and smoked salt from Whole Foods.

Music to Cook By: Joshua Radin; Simple Times.  I like the singer-songwriter genre, but nothing too folksy or too strummy-strummy-la-la.  Joshua Radin is neither.  I first heard Radin's music when I watched the movie Catch and Release (SHUT UP) and then again when I Netflixed I'm Reed Fish (Jay Baruchel is this generation's Patrick Dempsey, the Can't Buy Me Love years).  When it seems like so many musicians just yell incoherently or overdo the melisma, I'm tending to lean more toward singing that sounds like a quiet, comfortable, easy conversation with someone you've known forever. [Oh shit.  I'm officially old.] I like Radin's voice and his overall sound.  It's great to cook to when you're in the mood to be contemplative or need to feel calm, and this month, I've been desperate for moments of calm.  Radin toured with Schuyler Fisk (Sissy Spacek's daughter), who also happened to be in I'm Reed Fish, so I listened to some of her tunes, as well.  They go nicely together.  But Joshua Radin is nice afternoon background cooking up some tobacco and blackberries music.  Especially if you're a senior citizen like me.  Wonder if he's ever done a cover of the Matlock theme song....

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I feel pretty much the same way about smoking, but only with cigarettes. I enjoy a cigar or a pipe every now and again. A pipe mainly because it reminds me of my grandpa and seems to remind everyone around me of their respective grandparents as well. I love the fact that this dish was so off the wall bonkers and came out so good. I must attempt.

Wow. The entire time I was sitting here at my desk, reading this post, I was trying not to gag, because? Tobacco cream. Ew. I'm so glad for y'all that it turned out well!

Also, I love Joshua Radin- discovered him while watching One Tree Hill (no shame.) So soothing, it even mellows me out on the train ride home.

So, what did it taste like? Why do you think it turned out not to suck?

*points* Neener,neener! You was wrong!

I just kept thinking to myself, "Damn, this dish is going to suck, and she's going to have a shitload of that cream left over....."

I'm glad this one turned out to be a winner; I would have had my doubts, too.

I'm weird and sometimes enjoy the smell of someone's cigarette but cigars creep me out. But now I'm intrigued. Did you eat it all in one bite? I want to make it. I also want to find out what the heck bee balm is.

Surprise ending! I'm amazed that it got the gold star. I second Kate's question: what changed from the time you tasted the nasty cream to final plating to make it not suck?

99 cents for a pint of blackberries??!!
And count me in as one of those people who loves blackberries but detests raspberries. Daddy had wild blackberry bushes on his farm and the berries were the size of my thumb. They were out-of-this-world delicious.

Then, when I was pregnant with my first, I had an ... unfortunate ... dinner incident, which I thought was caused by the raspberries. Turned out it was the cantaloupe. RATS! But to this day, I still despise raspberries from that experience.

And I've read this recipe for tobacco cream.
I, too, abhor smoke, but I loved the smell inside the tobacco barns on Daddy's farm.
Go figure.

Thanks. I'll try this.

If that was a 1.25" cutter, them were some big-assed blackberries!!

And YUM!


and man alive, but those spoons were CLEAN, no?

i happen to love berries, whether they be blackberries or raspberries. i watched the most brilliantly laughable show last week about a guy with a raspberry complex.

honestly. he just could not stand to be in the same room as them. the show followed his endeavors to get over his raspberry complex.

there's this one scene where he's there with a spoon full of fruit salad (featuring raspberries) and he's had to smother the lot in ice cream, just to make it palatable. the spoon is poised midway to his mouth and he's actually GAGGING.

"I can see the raspberry, it's all hairy. i can't do it!"

so, SO funny.

yeah. i love to laugh at other people's misfortunes.

OMG, i haven't even finished reading the post because i had to respond re: raspberries. YES!!! i now can eat them as long as they have not befouled any chocolate - the worst combination EVER. and people use raspberry jam to "moisten" chocolate cakes sometimes and DON'T EVEN TELL YOU and then you get it home and it's SO GROSS.


Kate and Liz C: Not really sure what changed from the time I poured it in the pan until the final product was done. Maybe it mellows with time/setting/gelatinizing? All I know is, it blew me away, and I still feel like a jerk for being so hateful about it at the outset.

Rosie and Laurence: These blackberries were the size of half my thumb. Huge, gorgeous, ripe, flavorful and amazing.

TheProjectivist: As raspberry aversion program? I probably need that. No wait; I don't. I'm fine with hating raspberries, because as Lisa noted, people sneak it in things and it RUINS THEM. I think the first order of business in the new Obama administration should be an executive order to ban raspberry production and consumption in America.

Carol, your posts just seem to get funnier and funnier. This was such a great read. Thank you!

I usually shy away from purchasing produce from my Asian market if it's something I know I can buy at the Farmer's Market because I try to support American farmers as much as I can. But I'm in California, you're in Maryland. So if that's the best place to land Blackberries, so be it.

Gotta say that I love a good cigar. I hate every thing about cigarettes, but a nice spicy cigar after dinner with two fingers of scotch -- that's the finish to a good night. Glad it worked out for you guys.

I am loving every single sentence of your new blog. Thanks again for sharing this with us.

Amazing! I would NEVER have tried it. Making it I mean. I'd eat anything anyone offered :)

Beautiful! I really love blackberries but I wouldnt eat them in the winter. Maybe the fact that I can only get them for a short period of the year is what makes them so good. There is nothing better than a blackberry that has just been picked. I might have to bend that rule to try this recipe. I cant say I look forward to tobacco cream... I will just have to trust you on this.

Totally agree with those of you who've posted (and those of you who are thinking about it, but didn't post a comment) that it seems odd to buy/eat blackberries in January. I do think about seasonal availability quite a bit -- not just for this blog, but for how I cook every day. I also think about local sourcing, and supporting my local farmers/growers. I've been quite clear about that in this blog AND in French Laundry at Home. However, every now and then, I make exceptions and break my own rules, and I bet you do, too. We're human. This time, it was because it's been so, so cold, and work has been so, so overwhelming (as it always is in this political climate with what I do), that I needed to close my eyes, take a bite, and pretend it was August, even if only for 10 seconds. And it did my heart some good. So yes... I GET it. And I'm glad you guys do, too.

H Mart Shout Out! Free yourselves from over-priced chains. Their produce is as fresh as any chains and the new fish counter under construction promises gore aplenty.

How beautiful. This cookbook is simply amazing.

I am so going to try that you made it look sooo good. It only seems a slight move on from tea flavoured creams

I was actually pretty stoked about the idea of tobacco cream. However, the "bee balm" totally skeeved me out. It seems like something you'd use as a diaper rash ointment, or to make the raspberry hairs glossy.

I am sure it was great but I just can't imagine what tobacco cream would taste like. Glad it all worked out.

In Anthony Bourdain's A Cook's Tour, he talks about his first visit to the French Laundry. Thomas Keller knew that he was coming and prepared a special surprise for him--at just about the point in the very long meal that TK knew that AB would be fiending for a cigarette, he sent out a 'coffee and a cigarette' course! AB said that he was somewhat embarrassed and thought that it was a very funny yet cruel joke at his expense, but he was very pleased that the dish actually tasted really good. I would suggest that anyone who followed the French Laundry at Home blog read at least that part of A Cook's Tour. It's very interesting.

I cannot agree with you more -- cigars are the most vile smell known to man - I cannot (CANNOT) stand it! Now, Radin - I heart him - he is so amazing and so it Shuyler Fisk... I am actually going to try to see him at the Virgin megastore in union sq monday night. Glad you like him as well :-)

Looks like you chose a nice cigar to cook with, at least. I'm curious how different cigars would have affected this dish, like any other ingredient might.

I always wonder about using a really smokey tea, like Lapsong Souchong (or however it is spelled) to impart a smokey flavor. I am veggie and some veggie recipes call for liquid smoke, which kind of skeeves me out.

What a beautiful bite. It looks downright professional, Carol! How cool you were able to put your preconceptions aside and let the dish speak for itself.

Glad that it tastes great because the thought of tobacco in any dish is...o.o" and the whole health issue...=/

I HATE RASPBERRIES SO MUCH!! They tastes so weird and DO NOT pair well with chocolate! I used to like blackberries...but then I found out that the ones I actually liked were black MULLberries o.o"

I'm not sure I believe you on this one... I find cigar smoke, smell, aura, absolutely nauseating... But, if you find cigars as offensive as this and liked the taste, maybe the cigarishness somehow disappears?

Anyway, I love your blog... I'm addicted to it (as much as I am to Alinea... I can't wait until you try the bean puree... I had that the first time I went to Alinea, and was completely surprised that it was my favorite dish out of the 24 I've had there.

Carrroooolllll, stop making me want to buy a cookbook to entertain fancy friends that I don't have, with ingredients that won't be nearly as good here, with time that doesn't exist, and skill set I'm not going to acquire because I'm lazier than you just so I can try the amazing flavours you write about.

Seriously, with every entry I become more tempted to visit Amazon and just buy the book I can't afford and won't use just so I can follow along.

See, I'm the opposite - I adore raspberries (should I have to pick a last meal someday, raspberries and cherries will be the mainstays), but blackberries, to me, are all seed.

A question about the number of servings. It look s like you could have placed another row of blackberries. Was there a lot of unused cream or is that just a trick of the camera? And what did you do with the leftover cream?


Veranda: Had the blackberries been a bit smaller, I might have been able to have a few more in there, but it would've been tight. There was some unused cream, so I saved it in some Gladware and threw some leftover blackberries in there and enjoyed a bit of dessert the next night. :)

Ohhhhh, this makes me wish I had been the recipient of one of those spoons!

I love tea flavored ice cream, and I think I'm now inspired to try a tobacco and blackberry ice cream. Or a coffee and cigarettes ice cream (all my addictions in one bite)

I remember going to hookah bars and getting all sorts of flavored tobacco, I wonder if that would make the flavors better or worse for sweets...

Hey rant away! It's generally the fun part of your posts :)

I couldn't agree with you more about the awfulness of cigarettes and cigars. So it was no surprise to me that the dish turned out spectacular. Of course it did! Tobacco wouldn't be so evil if it couldn't provide such a seductive end product. I'm not sure I could bring myself to try it, though. Just reading about this dish made me my skin want to crawl off my body. Eating this dish would just feel wrong, no matter how great it is. Kind of like heroin or crack. ;-) Using tobacco as an ingredient would bother me the way cooking with veal would bother some people. I'm not criticizing anyone for using it, though -- I'm too busy trying to pull my skin back onto my body to go around picking fights.

You get 11 points out of 10 for the presentation. Those spoons look fantastic.

"I was wrong. Dead fucking wrong."

Oh Carol, Carol... this has to be one of the funniest, crankiest, honest-to-goodness all-out-bitch-fest posts of all time!! I'm still wiping the tears and my stomach hurts from laughing.

I was with you on the cigar-as-food (erk) and am glad it turned out so well. I might have to try making it.... Any particular type of cigar? They all smell (and taste) different (I had a mis-spent youth in the 80s where cigars and single malt featured prominently...). We heart raspberries here though we think putting them anywhere near chocolate is a sin. Pavlovas, yes; champagne, check; straight from the box, yes. Chocolate.. not so much. My other half truly double-hearts blackberries!

LOVE the rant and cranky pants! Your posts are major highlights in my week! Keep it going!

You are missing the point between dried tobacco leaves, which would be an herb - I think, and tobacco smoke. The 'smokieness' is a flavor/smell associated with tobaco, not with tobaco smoke.

Lots of dishes taste better having had a chance to 'rest'. The first time I made a country pate http://blog.charcuteire.com/2008/04/29/country-pate.aspx

we didn't wait and it was, if not dreadful, pretty bad. The same pate, two days lter was excellent.

As for the blackberry, rasberry, chocolate debate: 'Bring them on'.

Wow, I never would have thought tobacco leaves would taste good in dessert, I figured it would taste like licking an ashtray *brrr* (not that I've actually tried that, but you can probably imagine what that would taste like). The plating looks gorgeous, this recipe is going straight to the top of my 'to try' list!

Well, this sounded so disgusting that I almost gave up reading about it - and dang it was I suprised at the end too! I can see how this would taste good, but the cigar bits n' cream wasn't giving me a good feeling at first. Whoa.

I'm going to have to stand up for raspberries. I LOVE RASPBERRIES! They are easily my favorite berry.

I remember my grandparents had a veritable maze of raspberry bushes growing in the backyard(or at least it seemed to me as a small child). I would be sent out there with an empty marjarine container to pick as many as I wanted. I think I ate three for every one I put in the container. As for the ones I brought back, my grandmother would add some cream and I'd sit at the kitchen table and polish them right off.

I don't think they pair with chocolate as well as strawberry or orange, but I love raspberry jam (even the seeds).

As for my reaction to blackberries, well they are kind of like raspberries. Of course I've also been known to enjoy a nice relaxing cigar with friends on a relaxing Friday evening, so what do I know.

I am currently cleaning a couple of "roaches" into a Jello vanilla pudding cup, and garnishing it with a freeze/dried blueberry from a Jiffy muffin mix box hiding in my pantry. This will all be topped with a small basil leaf. Will my results vary?

I was REALLY surprised that this was a success. I was alienated from my art school friends, because I was boiling tobacco to make ceramic glazes. It was awful and would smell up the whole studio area. I finally had to do it outside and at home. I was reviewing my FL, Alinea and Under Pressure the other night and came across this tobacco cream recipe again and wondered if I could force myself to take the chance on something containing a tobacco product. You make it sound most inviting.

oh, it looks so cute and yummy!

strange confession: i've never smoked a cigarette and used to detest the smell of cigar smoke. my husband goaded me into trying a puff off one of his cigars a few months back and for some reason i agreed. i not only liked it, i LOVED it! for me, it tasted like a good, strong, dark coffee, but without any bitterness. not the way it smelled at all. i'm willing to bet this is why the dessert was so yummy -- because the smell of the cigar and the actual taste seem to have a bit of a disconnect. :)

This actually sounded like it would be good from the start; I'm not big on smoking, but unburned tobacco has always smelled good to me. Seems to me there's a difference between the raw ingredient and the smoke thereof; after all, I love steak, but if you dried it, ground it up, and set it on fire, it would smell like a burning weasel. Or cow, I guess.

P.S. Carol, your blog prompted me to pick up the phone and see if it was actually possible for a mortal to get a reservation at Alinea over the new year. It was, and I went, and now I have a new and wonderful perspective on this whole experiment.

I'm loving your Alinea adventures; thanks for making the climb and sharing the view. When you think about it, tobacco is a flavor nuance that shows up in quite a few things, bittersweet chocolate and red wine for instance. Beer too. I do love it when it is perfectly harmonious and balanced as you describe here.

Hilarious Carol -- and FYI -- Bee Balm is a monarda, you might have it in your garden as an ornamental -- it grows really tall and has lovely purplish funky flowers. Wikipedia is telling me it's the same as bergamot, like Earl Gray tea, which would have been really interesting with these other flavors.

I had this dish at Alinea. And I hated it!

And you have to understand that I've eaten at Alinea twice, and at Trio five times before that. And it's the ONLY dish of Grant's that I did not finish. That's well over a hundred different dishes that I loved, or at least enjoyed. This tobacco cream was the only one I hated.

Like you, Carol, my wife and I hate smoking. As I was reading, I was sympathizing with you, and expecting you to dislike the end result as much as we did. Needless to say, I was shocked by your experience!

Good for ya! Doesn't mean I'm going to try the recipe, though. Blech. Although maybe if I make a little dry caramel to have ready as a chaser...

When I worked in the kitchen at Alinea this is one of the dishes that I was responsible for. I remember eating so much of the tobacco custard that I started to feel sick one day.
I think the interesting thing about the dish is the individual flavors can be flavor components of a rich, red wine.
Dark berry flavors with hints of pepper, tobacco, and smoke.
It doesn't take like red wine in any sense, but an interesting exercise in re-arranging those flavors.

and yes, bergamot is bee balm, but the herb is not the same as the bergamot orange, which is the flavoring in Earl Grey Tea.

I'm so glad that these turned out so well! I'm inspired to try this recipe, maybe even for the Super Bowl party!

But, the best part - and I'm still laughing out loud - is your part about your amazement at how good they were:

"I was wrong.
Dead fucking wrong."

Ah, the beautiful prose of a food-loving poet.

LOL - I'm still laughing. Laughing out-fucking-loud!


I made this dish Saturday for a dinner party. I expected a lot more tobacco flavor from the cream, but it was very, very mild. I imagine the type of cigar makes a big difference. It didn't suck and nobody gagged, but it wasn't great either. It's really more of a novelty because you have a cool story to tell. Overall, my guests thought it was near the bottom of all the dishes we had that night. To the contrary, Transparency of Manchego absolutely ROCKED!!! (I wish you hadn't mentioned Beavis in your post...)

Thanks for the blog Carol, you tell a great story and show these recipes can be done at home. Rave on girl!

as a professional chef it is wonderful to see these things done at home. though it takes time to gain skill at this craft (i am constantly learning) it is great when people are not intimidated. cooking is fun. i agree with you about tobacco, but a good substitute is lapsang souchong tea...gets me thinking about summer berries and lapsong tea.

Would this dish work without the tobacco?

Derek: Would it work, functionally? Sure. But would it be good without the tobacco? No. It's very subtle and rounds out the bite quite beautifully.

Isn't tobacco poisonous when ingested? I thought I'd read that someplace. I do know that a lot of perfumes use something, I think Tonka seeds, to add a subtle scent of tobacco, especially in men's colognes, etc. It's the whole 'leather, tobacco = 'masculine' thing going on there, and I've smelled some perfumes and colognes which say they have 'notes of tobacco' and they don't smell bad at all. And, as someone else pointed out, many wines have that 'nose' going on as well. Still, I don't think I'll try this recipe, as wonderful as you made it sound. I MIGHT be tempted to try a smoky tea as someone else suggested, in place of the cigar. As for berries, I've never met any I didn't love...as long as they were perfectly ripe. I also admit to loving the chocolate, raspberry combo, in fact anything chocolate, as long as it's a good quality, is my idea of heaven. I hope if someone DOES try this with tea rather than cigars they will post their results here.

MMM! I don't smoke (although I have tried it -- isn't it supposed to keep the appetite down?) and I don't care for stale cigarette smoke, but I love the smell of fresh cigarette smoke in the open air and have to admit the first time I saw my husband smoke, I thought, "Wow. That's sexy."

I am one of the few people in his life who knows he smokes -- if his liberal, intellectual friends (and parents) knew, they would disown him. Not that a disowning by the parents would be so bad. That would mean we don't have to visit, right?

Beautiful. posted it to my face book page today.

Mommy, mommy - please make the bad woman stop!!!!
Finally made it tonight, and I loved it!!!
Tobacco here serves as the spice, the pepper enhances the spice.
Mint subdues the spice so I chucked it and replaced it with a few drops of dark clover honey.....
My taste buds flew through the roof....
Keep on rocking....

That looks amazingly delicious!

Then, when I was pregnant with my first, I had an ... unfortunate ... dinner incident, which I thought was caused by the raspberries. Turned out it was the cantaloupe. RATS! But to this day, I still despise raspberries from that experience.

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