The white cup sitting in the middle of the plate surrounded by fruit and other treats, is filled with deep rich milk chocolate. Warmed by the candle emitting a glow across small bites of moist pound cake and thick slices of strawberries, the chocolate remains the perfect thick, yet liquid texture. Over time, however, I remember that the chocolate began to bubble as the temperature of the pot rose while its contents quickly diminished and disappeared, along with the dipping treats, into our stomachs. My favorite combination was dipping the strawberries into the chocolate while my oldest sister preferred the bananas, and my other sister the apples and the marshmallows. We all loved the pound cake.
“There’s no way we can finish all of this,” my sister mumbled as she tried to speak through a mouth full of chocolate covered fruit. We all began to laugh because we shared her sentiment. All three of us were already so full from the extensive and exquisite selection of tapas we had eaten and the glasses of wine we had drank. The wine section is somewhat obscured on the menu lying just to the right of the plate of fondue in this photograph, but I remember the glass I ordered the first time we visited La Crema because none of us knew how to pronounce the name and laughed continuously as we each tried to pronounce the French word “Blau” of “Cellar Can Blau” and completely butchered the word with attempts such as “blah,” “blue,” and “bla-ooh” having absolutely zero knowledge of the French language between the three of us.
Looking at this picture reminds me of the standing tradition the three of us still have to visit this restaurant, La Crema, one night every time the three of us are staying in my family’s beach house. Every time these dinners happen, conversation mingles between stories from our past and current lives in a way that can only happen between sisters who share a long history together, yet no longer get to see each other on a daily basis. When I look at the warm glow from the light of the candle under the pot of chocolate, I am instantly reminded of the warmth I felt inside of me on the night the photograph was taken formed by a mixture of great food and wine, warm chocolate, and blushing cheeks caused by excited conversation and laughter. While neither of my sisters are featured in this photograph, they cannot be torn from my memory of this evening, and many other similar evenings that will continue to come as we carry on our tradition of taking time to eat tapas and chocolate together.