Requiem for a Cheesecake

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Cheesecake is my only vice if you don’t count all the other vices. It’s both tasty and delicious. I myself have won awards for cheesecakes in baking competitions. Well, award singular, to be fair, but still an impressive accomplishment in my mind. But what makes a great cheesecake? The answer is complicated, fraught with peril, and begins, unquestionably, with presentation.

Here in a café in Istanbul we have a large slice of cheesecake, covered with a thin coating of delicate melty chocolate, with a lovely design imprinted on the top. A good start.
Another angle, closer this time and outside the display case. Notice the addition of chocolate inserted into the bottom layer of the cheesecake, adding a textural anomaly to the proceedings, separating itself from both the richness of the filling and the darker chocolate covering the top. A bold stroke executed with precision and accuracy.
Amateurs often present cheesecake that is a bit lumpy or uneven in texture. This is a calamitous mistake, likely resulting from poor baking technique. Neither can it be too crumbly, for this represents a weakness in the quality of ingredients, and if a cheesecake is too soft, well, we’re not talking about risotto here, cheesecake isn’t meant to spread. It’s a tenuous balance, perfection teetering on the edge of disaster.

As I dig into this glorious example of dessert goodness, we move outside in, revealing the perfect consistency.
In the time it took you to look at that photo, I ate this much more.
I stopped for a moment to contemplate just what the cheesecake meant to me. I thought of Thoreau, who wrote that truth was above all, be it money, fame, even love. I imagined the unfettered joy Keats felt in writing his Odes, or the crushing weight of greatness bearing down on the shoulders of Brahms.
And after much soul searching, this pretty well sums up my conclusions on the subject.
Anyway, soon the cheesecake was no more.
My girlfriend offered to pay, and as I learned in this moment, the obvious and unquestionably correct answer to the question is that free cheesecake makes the best cheesecake.
We filled out a comment card, as is only appropriate after such a fine dining experience.


I am a hermit living in a cave inside a mountain underneath an abyss. Your comments are the only contact I have with the outside world.

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