I walked into the store and towards the counter. I had pretty much already made up my mind and knew where to look. I made my way through the crowds, nearing the display I was headed for. I could have almost reached what I had come for if it hadn't been for two people blocking my view. The sales person was showing his customer a product. I looked on a little impatiently, hoping I would make it to school in time to pick up the kids. It wasn't until they started discussing skin tone and color tests that I did a double take.
Since when have jeans-clad, unshaven, sneaker-wearing students with back packs started buying/wearing foundation? I ask this out of pure curiousity, I am not in the least preoccupied with a person's preferences or judging.
I simply am not accustomed to seeing a guy that age, an age when most of us felt uncomfortable in our skin, standing self assuredly at a make up counter amidst a throng of women, trying on foundation and discussing the pros and cons of the product in question with the sales person. Even if I live in one of the world's fashion capitals, where appearance is a priority and something to be taken seriously. Even if I live in Italy, where men are known to be well-groomed and where the concept - if not the word -metrosexual probably originated.
I admit I have sometimes wondered with friends if that guy who just walked by was wearing bronzer. We have all read article after article about the male population being the fastest growing consumer group of cosmetic products (and surgery). But let's face it, not many of us are used to sharing their Diorshow mascara with the man in their lives.
Have you ever had to elbow a man to get to that last box of No. 2 foundation first? Do your male friends/kids wear make up? Is this a new trend?
Here is the kind of girly dessert a lady would order because of the creamy, soft texture and the sweet nuggets of marrons glacés and dark, toothsome bits of chocolate strategically hidden throughout. It is also the kind of dessert any husband eating a manly slice of bourbon pecan pie would constantly be stealing forkfuls from. It is also one of those shortcuts I often like to post about to make our lives easier. This is a quick version of a Monte Bianco, a popular dessert in Lombardy and Piedmont of quite certain French origin. The ingredients are pretty much the same and despite this taking literally just a few minutes to put together, the final effect is pretty sinful and delicious.
This recipe was given to me by a friend, Laura, without exact amounts, which just goes to show how forgiving it is. And why my amounts are pretty approximate. You basically have to eyeball your ingredients according to the size of your container. Those below should be enough for a springform. Ideally that is what it should be made in but I haven't replaced my broken one yet so I made mine in a glass, freezer-proof bowl. You could also make it in individual glasses.
500ml container of liquid whipping cream
1 tbsp sugar
1 box (about 10) marrons glacés
100gr dark, good quality chocolate
meringues (about 10 medium sized)
Two things before I tell you how to assemble this dessert (because there is no baking or cooking involved). First of all, in Italy you can buy broken up pieces of marrons glacés, which are much cheaper than buying whole ones. Go for those if you can find them because you will be chopping them up anyway. Secondly, I bought my meringues, chocolate dipped ones at that, because the meringue and I have not established a good relationship yet. You are more than welcome to make your own, it will just take a little longer. So, your first step will be whipping the cream, in which you will have added the sugar. In the meantime start chopping the chocolate (if you aren't using chocolate chips) and marrons glacés. Be sure to set aside some meringues, marrons glacés and chocolate to decorate the top. When the cream is whipped start layering, starting with a thick layer of crushed meringues. Top that with the whipped cream and chopped chocolate and marrons glacés. Add another thick layer of meringue and so on until you have finished the ingredients, about four layers. Decorate the top with the leftover meringues and marrons glacés (and chocolate if you like). Put in freezer and take out a few hours before serving. It has to be solid enough to slice and serve but should have a creamy and not too frozen texture.