I recently received a slim box in the mail with the surname "Gannon" written on the return address. I knew that could mean only one thing: I was going to eat some of the best chocolate in the world.
For those who don't know, Brendan Gannon ran the artisanal chocolatier known as La Tene out of Cambridge, MA. He had sent me a precious box of his spectacular creations as a combined wedding present/holiday gift, and I was thrilled to savor his stuff once again. There was only one catch... Brendan Gannon had been dead for years.
Well Brendan hadn't, but La Tene had. In a turn of events that still breaks my heart (or at least my taste buds), Brendan closed the doors to La Tene a couple of years back for no particularly shocking reason except that it can be really, really hard to run a small business. At the same time I was burying my own creative enterprise, the sketch comedy group my friends and I had started in college and that kept us touring around the U.S. for years afterward.
I was ready to let the comedy group go, but I was not ready to say goodbye to La Tene, and I told Brendan as much in no uncertain terms. His chocolates are simply the best. From the vegan peanut butter cups to the triple creme truffles (or the Sichuan peppercorn truffles, or the Guinness truffles...), this was a man who knew what he was doing. And what he was doing was making great chocolate.
I relished each and every one of my phantom La Tene chocolates as though enjoying one more night with a lost love. Actually, you can just change the "as though" in that last sentence to a comma.
I'm guessing that the box I received was part of a limited run that BG did for the holidays, because as far as I know it is simply no longer possible to experience La Tene. But if you really, really want to, I suppose you could beg Brendan or offer up vasts sums of money here.
But maybe that would be asking the beautiful and mysterious woman to take off her scarf.