Chapter 70: The Dessert Battle!
「Fitis here. My dessert dish is complete. 」
「…Snow Witch Isu here. I completed as well. 」
Both of their dessert dishes were completed almost at the same time. Seeing that, the Gourmet Master looked at both of them and declared the start of tasting.
「Let’s taste the Gourmet Hero’s dish first.」
Fitis carried her dessert to our table including the judges’ table.
「Oh, this is. 」
「So beautiful. 」
Fitis presented a Western confectionery with the words “Beautiful” lined up on the table. Next to the chocolate mousse stood a dazzling orange mousse in a glass jar. Mint and cream sauce decorated each dessert. It was the embodiment of good looks and taste.
「Dessert is a food that requires delicacy in terms of appearance. You made them look gorgeous. In recent years, the appearance of desserts has been required to be finely crafted, and this is a good example of how you not compromised its appearance. Let’s check the taste.」
With that said, the Gourmet Master brought a spoon with the dessert that seemed to be an orange mousse up to his mouth. We brought to our mouths as well.
The next moment, we felt a stimulus in our tongue that spread slightly to the mouth as well as a pinch of sweetness.
「This…This is…No way…! 」
The Gourmet Master was astonished by the stimulus that spread slightly on the tip of his tongue. However, at the same time, it had a nostalgic taste.
Wait a moment! Was it for real? It was a shock when we realize the type of seasoning used on this dessert.
「Impossible. If I had to make a good guess after understanding the taste with just one bite, I would say that the hidden seasoning you used for this dessert was black pepper.」
It was exactly like water and oil. Originally, it felt like an irregular combination that none should use it. Certainly, the technique of sprinkling salt on watermelon had existed for a long time, but sprinkling pepper on chocolate cake seemed too impractical. Everyone knew about it, but.
「I am surprised. Incredible. The stimulus of black pepper has deepened the taste of the orange mousse.」
Yes, the spiciness of the black pepper stimulated the tip of my tongue. On the contrary, it enhanced the original sweetness of this dessert.
「Usually, the standard route is to sprinkle raspberry sauce or caramel sauce on cakes and mousses. Sweetness is entwined with even more sweetness, which makes the original sweetness taste peculiar to cakes only. But if done wrong, the sweetness of the sauce may obscure the original taste. However, by sprinkling a spice called pepper, which has the stimulus of spiciness, on a slightly sweet cake or mousse, it fully enhances the original sweetness of the dessert.」
As Fitis described, this spice was an unlikely combination, yet it brought out the sweetness of the dessert.
「The same is true for the mousse. I chose mousse as the dessert dish since it goes best with this pepper. Especially chocolate as it is said to be the king of sweets, and orange since it is said to condense the aroma of the orange fruit. Please enjoy it with pepper.」
After Fitis’ explanation, I really felt the stimulus of pepper, which enhanced the original sweetness of chocolate. I was not originally a fan of mousse dishes, but I brought countless of spoons to my mouth without stopping.
This was exactly the revolution in a Mousse Dessert. A pepper cooking method!
「Amazing. Such a novel cooking method. It is something I had never tasted before. The Gourmet Hero is someone astounding.」
After receiving the greatest compliment from the Gourmet Master, Fitis quietly bowed and took a step back. Fitis left a very good impression, and I felt that it would be hard for me if I were to compete with Fitis in a dessert match.
What kind of dessert did Isu-chan prepare?
「Well then. Snow Witch Isu. Prepare your dessert. 」
According to the Gourmet Master’s statement, Isu-chan quietly carried her dessert.
Her dessert looked like Japanese sweets that resembled crystals. Her dessert looked so beautiful, and letters that said “fantasy” were shown in a rectangular form.
「Is this…Sweet Bean Jelly, or should I say Amber Jelly*?」
It looked like one of the main Japanese sweets. A sweet that was hardened in a firm shape using agar. In this world, Slime jelly was used instead of agar, but the amber made by Isu was transparent, and colorful fruits were condensed in it. It seemed like lemons floated in the beautiful yellow jelly. Moreover, one of the jellies looked like Mitsumame**. The other was a beautiful orange amber that contained other citrus fruits. Unlike Fitis’ Western dessert, Isu presented an artistic Japanese dessert.
「It’s really beautiful. Such a stunning food that looks like a work of art.」
I nodded upon hearing the acclaim of the Gourmet Master.
When I was on Planet Earth, I saw many pictures of this type of dessert on the internet, as I wanted to buy a souvenir from Kyoto. Isu-chan’s dessert was just as good as an artistic Japanese confectionery.
Fitis’ dessert was wonderful, but Isu-chan’s dessert had a beauty and fantasy appearance that went beyond that.
「However, no matter how good it looks, the taste will determine the outcome. So, what kind of taste am I expecting from such a beautiful appearance?」
The Gourmet Master cut a piece of this traditional Japanese dessert, carried it to his mouth, and we followed suit. At that moment, the shock that spread in our mouths was a torrent of sweetness…But it wasn’t just sweetness.
「This is…Such a rich and fruity taste! 」
「The taste of apples, cherries, kiwis, and various fruits enhances the sweetness, but the taste of lemon balances the sweetness with sourness!」
Just like Fitis’ pepper method, the sourness of the lemon fruit sensitively expanded the taste of sweetness in the dessert.
This was the polar opposite of Western and Japanese sweets that were hard to conceive. I evaluated it that way, but the Gourmet Master who ate a piece of Isu-chan’s Amber Jelly quietly closed his eyes and declared.
「This is…quite a match. But, we have decided on the winner. 」
The judges around me nodded as they agreed with the Gourmet Master, and…
「The victory of this match belongs to Isu after she used the Japanese confectionary called Amber Jelly.」
The Gourmet Master decided the victory and defeat of this dessert showdown.
「Gourmet Master. Why? 」
Fitis naturally spoke her doubt upon hearing the Gourmet Master’s declaration. The Gourmet Master, on the other hand, quietly pointed to the Amber Jelly in front of him and explained the reason why.
「First, you should taste this dish. You will know the reason why.」
Fitis ate the Amber Jelly to follow the recommendation of the Gourmet Master. She chewed well and checked the taste. Eventually, Fitis discovered a secret behind the Amber Jelly and opened her eyes with surprise.
「This is…it can’t be. 」
「Yes, this Amber Jelly does not contain any sugar at all, which is an essential ingredient in desserts.」
Sugar was inevitable in making a dessert, and it was an absolute law of sweets confectionary. However, the Gourmet Master said it did not exist in this Amber Jelly.
I tasted the Amber Jelly again with the feeling that I could not believe it. I wondered if such a thing could happen while maintaining the sweetness alive. In a short moment, an idea came to my mind.
「This sweetness… Did you switch the sugar with the natural sweetness of the fruits?」
Isu-chan nodded quietly to answer Fitis’ question.
Indeed. The fruit lurking inside and the color of the dessert that solidified the jelly itself. All of this was made from the juice of the squeezed fruits.
Such method did not use sugar and was composed of the pure sweetness of the fruits. This method further enhanced the sweetness of the fruits such as lemon and Azuki beans***. Not only was the outer art done with proper calculation, but also the confectionary method.
This dish included a natural and compassion for fruits. Isu-chan demonstrated that the sweetness from a natural origin was the most delicious and healthy for humans, and not the sweetness made by sugar.
「…It’s a complete defeat.」
In the past, even before sweets were created on Planet Earth, people ate fruits as a dessert. I heard that the earliest confectionery produced in Japan was the dried persimmon. Perhaps, there was a time when fruits were called desserts, and the message that Isu-chan gave to this Amber Jelly was the embodiment of the classic desserts called “natural fruits”.
Isu-chan did really symbolize the theme of this match “Dessert dish” more deeply than anyone else did. Deliciousness was not the only aspect that gave her victory, but also the deep meaning behind the sweetness.
「Both were great desserts. But for this match, the winner is the “Snow Witch” Isu from the Demon King side!」
Upon hearing the declaration of the Gourmet Master, our cooking battle had reached the final stage with 2 wins and 2 losses.
*Meaning Kohaku-Kan (琥珀羹). It is a traditional Japanese sweet. “Kohaku” means Amber. It is made from brown sugar and Kanten (Agar). It is decorated with soymilk Kanten but generally, it doesn’t have any decoration.
**Mitsumame (みつまめ) is a Japanese dessert. It is made of small cubes of agar jelly, a white translucent jelly made from red algae or seaweed.
***Adzuki beans, also called Azuki or Aduki, are a small bean grown throughout East Asia and the Himalayas. These beans are most typically used in Japanese cooking. They are often featured in sweet recipes such as red bean paste.