The One Who Got Away
Originally published on 12-30-10
I thought I had a high standard by which I judged desserts, until a few years back. It was a cold, dreary fall day in Montepulciano, Italy. We (my brother and Mom) were walking of the streets of Montepulciano and were seeking refuge from yet another basilica. On our way to the gate of the city (yep, there are gates to cities), we found Osteria Acquacheta. Pomp and circumstance were nowhere in sight. The owner, Giulio was busy butchering, small tables were covered with paper table cloths, and nameless red wine was being served in simple glass carafes. We enjoyed a lovely lunch and then ordered dessert, my choice, a perfectly sized portion of mascarpone mousse with white truffle carpaccio. I had never tasted anything like it, it was magnificent. I still remember the simple presentation (more Bourdain’s style than Colicchio’s), the taste, even the creamy texture. Perfection. Since then, nothing has come close.
For the rest of my life all other desserts will be compared to that one perfect dessert. They may be good, memorable even, each in their own way (God knows I love a good dessert), but THE BEST will always be the Spuma di mascarpone con carpaccio di tartufo bianco, served by Giulio Ciolfi at Osteria dell’Acquacheta. Or will it?
Is that what love is like? Once you’ve had that one great love, that surge of love which fills your mind and heart with joy, it is possible for future loves to live up to it? Will you always put that great experience and person on a pedestal? Will they be the standard by which you judge all others? Did true love get away? Is it fair to the loves who follow, to be with them, to marry them, to have children with them; if deep down inside you know they are not the best, that there is someone out there that you connect with more intimately?
You can try to mask that longing by filling your life with more: money, power, fame, activity, and even success; but in the quiet moments when the world is asleep and it’s just you and your thoughts, will they take you back the one who got away?
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