Toffee-Coated Dreams

Anusha Nachiappan

Copyright 2014 by Anusha Nachiappan



Toffee clip art.

Toffee-Coated Dreams

 I am Anusha Nachiappan, aged 17 as of August 2014. I enjoy writing creative fictional and non-fictional texts, and occasional poetry. My favourite novels include the Great Gatsby, the Devil Wears Prada and Memoirs of a Geisha. My other passions include music, and food; especially chocolate and confectionary. The following text is a creative piece on this subject.

I have always loved the rustle of chocolate wrappers. A myriad of colour, twists, slowly, revealing every facet of the gleaming silver wrapper, as it catches and dances in the sunlight. The little chocolate tumbles out, in all of its simple complexity, with its flawless curved surface. The aroma explodes into its surroundings, in a woven tapestry of the fantastical flavours that teleport every adult from their dark, barren workplace to paradisiacal green fields and sandy beaches, where the cool breeze once whipped through their hair as they flew down a hill in their youth.

You close your eyes, and feel a warm smile of contentment spread across your face. You take a bite. The milk-chocolate shell bursts and shatters, as the milky, sweet, flavours erupt inside of you. The chocolate melts in your mouth, revealing the tangy, sweet honeycomb. You crunch down, and the formidable wall of honeycomb daggers smash down in an avalanche of salty, sweet crunch. You crunch again, going back to the soft, smooth chocolate. Then back to the softening daggers of honeycomb. You swallow.

Perhaps this is the reason for my incurable obsession with the design and enjoyment of anything confectionary, or ‘toffee-coated dreams’. I am a freelance confectionary designer. I wake early every day, filling several volumes of shabby, off-white hand-written journals with radical ideas for the next new flavours. Because I know, that a mere ‘sugar-hit’ for any one person, is the dream of a life-time for me. Sweets are a dream, but the one thing even better than the taste of chocolate-coated honeycomb, is the look on the faces of the regulars at our market stall in my childhood, for whom our famous toffee-coated walnut truffles were the highlight of their week.

I waited in a crowded lobby, full of hopefuls. The nervous energy in the room was sickening. I closed my eyes, clenching my fists, praying in desperation. I looked up, as a perky voice called my name, and my eyes traced along a pair of opaque pink stockings, and along a short, slim-fitting dress, accentuating the bulge of her thighs, with the words ‘Cyanide and Happiness’, in large, bold, crimson print. I was choked by the otherwise intoxicating smell of fuchsias. “Hurry up!” she exclaimed, with a voice so high in pitch that it could shatter the chandelier above us, “We don’t have all day!”

I scurried after her, feeling dizzy, as my temples filled with the warmth of light-headedness. As the perky woman turned the metal handle on the a white, glass-panelled door I stumbled into a sterile, mint-smelling room, with white walls and white floors, and a panel of four men.

A trembling sound came from my direction. “Good morning gentlemen. I would like to say what a pleasure it is to be here today and show you my design, for the”- I paused, taking a deep breath- “All organic, ‘Strawberry Burst’”. I filled with confidence, and the room around me shifted into clarity and focus. I proceeded to reveal my diagrams of a chocolate bar, filled with superior quality dark chocolate, small pieces of popping candy, and the delectable tang dehydrated strawberries. “I-” I was interrupted mid-sentence by a member of the panel on the far right, who had not spoken. “We have a range of strawberry products. Thank you for your time.”

I was dizzy with regret, and my stomach was in knots. For the first time in my life, I threw out all of the cocoa and sugar in my house, watching the brown powder, burst out of the upturned bag, over the balcony, diffusing into the dingy emergency staircase and the waste bucket between our apartments with a myriad of smothering, but beautiful, toffee-coloured dust.

I was dizzy with grief, but it passed. A year on, I was the Assistant-Team Leader at Subway in Ballarat. Every day, I would wake up at four in the morning, when the sky was still the cerulean blue of a wholesome life, and my friend and I would ride our bikes up and down the hill, before she comes home for breakfast. “Can you find the coffee?” I ask her, as I gently flip two fluffy pancakes, congratulating myself on their intactness. “Yeah, I did,” she replies, “Hey, What’s this?” I turn to look, not knowing what’s in the brown paper bag. “If it’s edible, feel free to try some”, I say, nonchalantly, turning back to the pan. I hear a gentle ‘snap’. ‘What is it about that sound, that is so familiar?’ I muse to myself. I turn, to see her, chocolate in mouth, and wide-eyed, chewing slowly. “Everything okay?” I ask her, handing her a plate with a warm pancake, covered in cream and maple syrup. “This. Chocolate. Is. Amazing.” I take a small piece, and I remember the ‘Strawberry Failure’ from months ago. “It’s not that great”, I say, “I made it ages ago.”

You?” she asks, not believing me. “Prove it!”

Okay!” I bring out the journal, and put it on the table next to her, as I proceed to busy myself with more useful things, washing dishes.

These are amazing! How come you didn’t tell me? You have to take these back, they would be crazy to refuse you.” I scoff, thinking of the triviality of the whole book.

After she leaves, I return the maple syrup to the pantry. I lift the coffee, jar, and find a tiny plastic pouch of non-descript, chestnut-coloured powder; Non-descript to most, but as clear as day to me. I chuckle to myself, deciding on what I can do with this cocoa powder over the next three hours, before I leave the house. A wave of nostalgia washes over me, as I rule up a new page in the journal, and scrawl “The Fantasie Bar”, across the top; A truffle, like those I grew up making, but in the form of a ‘fun-sized’ chocolate. Milk-chocolate, made here, but with a touch of vanilla-bean paste, for that exquisite scent. Tiny, chewy chunks of fragrant honey-nougat, crushed roasted almonds, and some dehydrated strawberries I found in the pantry, are stirred around in a large pot.

Some toasted coconut, and tiny chunks of popping candy end up in the bar, before I take it down to our local Koko Black studio a week later, and wait in their waiting room with twelve other designers. It takes me back to the days when I used to stand in rooms like this, anxious to please, and sick with nerves. Not today.

When I reach the panel, I begin, before being invited to speak. “Here, try the Fantasie Bar. If you like it, give me a call.” I leave, not listening for their quiet gasp at being interrupted. A year later, I received the call that made my life the toffee-coated dream that it is today, and I have never looked back.

I was born in Broken Hill, a rural town in New South Wales and moved to Adelaide in 2004. I currently attend an all-girls' secondary day and boarding school. My passions include Music, English, and food. I intend to pursue further study in writing and text production in the future.

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