For years I have been eating avocado. Growing up with a Cuban Father and a Puerto Rican Mother that is very much a given. But just like music always invited me to experiment, so have foods and drinks tickle me in challenging directions. Avocado halves succumbed to my coffee universe many years ago, but experiences of the palate are even more abundantly available than the monetary wealth any of us might witness. And so, a couple of ingredients I have known for many years were composed in a new form today, accompanied by a spice totally new to me from Turkey: Urfa Biber – a type of chili pepper native to the Urfa region of Turkey. It is smoky, slightly sweet and of a milder spicyness. Here I suggest just filling the avocado cavity with two parts Pumpkin Seed Oil and one part Espresso Balsamic Vinegar.
Several drops of pumpkin seed oil, extended with several drops of very good/tasty olive oil, sprinkled with a pinch of very fine coffee powder and salt and pepper to taste… everything atop an avocado half.
Many many years ago – I had already tasted my initial Mexican coffee near Harvard Square and a few others, but knew not what a coffee drinker is and was far from putting a single sentence together, was decades far from formulating any sentence, thought or even phrase trying to elevate the value of this or any other seed – back in the late eighties I began frequenting the Bauturm Café in Cologne, when the land was still known as West Germany. I found it odd, creative and telling to see that something as simple and routinary as breakfast could be set in a philosophical context. On their menu there was an “Existentialist Breakfast”, consisting of a coffee and a single Gauloises – the famous French cigarette. I wonder if Albert Camus ever sat down to have breakfast and conscienciously had his Gauloises and coffee in such tight connection with his existential views, or Jean-Paul Sartre, for that matter (also a Gauloises smoker).
I have been having my wonderful coffee infused cigars from Drew Estate of late and some days ago I thought of going in the fresh air and just having an avocado and a cigar, instead of going into two separate localities: in one to obtain a cooked meal and into another to enjoy a cigar. It is then that the Existential Breakfast idea left my memory and entered the present. Being that I never was a great fan of Gauloises (I prefered Roth-Haendle), I never ordered that breakfast at Bauturm myself, but the idea of taking the bare minimum on food, do it in a very simple form (raw fruit) while adding the pleasure factor, was very inviting. Well, I am an existentialist. Besides, lately I have been enjoying a wonderful discovery as well: the sea salt mixed with espresso from the Fill Station at the Chelsea Market. For a few years I have been eating avocado with salt and an oil mixture, plus instant coffee. The instant coffee disolves when contacting the avocado, allowing both to mix and taste better than if it was coffee grounds. This salt-espresso, on the other hand, disolves as well, allowing also the melting of the tastes, yet without the need of an instant product.
A cigar-avocado pairing might be an unusual situation for most palates and pleasure realms. An avocado is not what a smoker will crave when having a cigar and the avocado lover will seldon waste a thought on the tobacco taste to accompany this beloved ancient fruit.
It could be said with certainty that for several years now the avocado with coffee is a proven taste in my palate and that of several others that followed my idea from early on. However, the initial idea was to funktion as a salad, usually to be eaten as a side order, to accompany, to be part of many. In this case the avocado is asked to contribute to 50% of the act (meal) and receives in turn no less than half of the attention as well. It has thus very high responsibities in a minimal, but existential act for nutrition and joy purposes.
Then there is the coffee infused cigar for itself – its taste. The cigar has a rich herbal and earthy flavor, clearly supported by vanilla, hints of milk, cocoa and vanilla.
“The Java Latte I smoked is a 5” x 42 ring gauge claro corona size cigar. I don’t know how the infusion is done, but this is a real cigar and not at all in the same class as other ‘flavored’ cigars.”
“This is a box pressed cigar. It lights easily and draws easily. The burn is with a moderate amount of smoke. The wrapper is a firm natural color and the cigar is very well constructed and required no relighting. The flavors in this cigar are great rich coffees. What else? Well, it is a coffee infused cigar and it works perfectly. I drank a nice dark roast coffee with the cigar, and it was nothing short of a great smoke. The aroma is also coffee, but with that nice smell you get when roasting coffee. If you have never roasted coffee, this is you chance to experience that aroma. The cigar is mild, flavorful and very enjoyable, especially in the morning. It is a good choice when you might want a milder cigar to start the day. You are getting more of a coffee flavor from this cigar because of the infusion and I was impressed.”
Not that coffee as a drink could ever be truly compared to coffee in a smoke, but irrelevant of the coffee taste and amount or intensity of the coffee used, sugar or sweetness in a drink tend to alter the coffee taste. In smoking it does not. The immediate sensation when this cigar comes to the lips or tongue is the experiences of sweetness, not of tobacco. Then follows the tobacco taste, and both, sweetness and leaf taste enhance each other.
A wonderful lady had taken me hiking. After a week in the Dolomite Mountains in the South of Tirol (Italy) many years ago, this was only my second time challenging a Mountain. It was in my second mountain, newly that I – perhaps trying to impress – had the sudden idea of breaking an avocado in half without the use of a knife. I made a fairly deep cut with my fingernail around the avocado, then proceeded to hold each half firmly with a hand and make a concentrated twist in opposite directions. It worked! The cut is not a clean one, but that is part of the beauty about rawness and existence.
An alternative to the avocado with espresso salt is certainly and pleasurebly the espresso balsamic vinegar.
On my Coffee Sunday I went into the Chelsea Market, before crossing the street and sitting a few hours in the Blue Bottle Coffee. It was a fine decision that payed with the discovery of a few other coffee things, including an Coffee (Espresso) Salt, offered at the Filling Station.
Avocado (Persea americana) is an exotic fruit, botanically classified as a berry and it belongs to the plant family Lauraceae. The root of the word is in the Nahuatl word ahuacatl, which means testicle. It was later renamed acquiring the spanish name aguacate.
In earlier days the plant was able to develop only thanks to giant mammals who ate them and later secreted the seed far from the tree. Hence the cultivation of avocados today is only possible through man’s hand and not through “natural” ways.
In some cultures where avocados grow, these are used with sweet components (like in Brazil), while others (like Japan, Mexico, Caribbean) use them mostly for salty dishes. I grew up with avocados on the salt-side, with pepper, lemon and olive oil, alone or in salads and on bread. But today also the avocado has become a victim of my coffee universe.