The Pierre Bear Affair356
Pierre was bored. He hated being the youngest child. He hated how nobody liked to play football with him. He hated how nobody in his family shared his love of animals. But most of all, he hated how everyone around him was obsessed with chocolate. There was a current war, if you can call it that, going on between his family and the family across the street. The Prestats (to whom Pierre belonged) had long laid claim to making the best chocolates in the land. This claim was mightily disputed by the chocolatiers Bonaba, who had a prime spot on Bond St, and liked to claim they made the best chocolates in the world. This rivalry had been decades in the making, and not even the union of the two sides which resulted in the birth of Pierre and his siblings was enough to quell the bitterness.
Bored as he was of the bickering, Pierre decided that the only way to end the fight was to learn the secret recipe his Uncle Antoine had been working on for the last five years, and perfect it himself. He knew his uncle had been trying to perfect a truffle that would be the envy of the world, but hadn’t been able to get it right. You could see the frustration on his face whenever he was seen. His eyes were constantly screwed, he scratched his chin so much his fingers had left permanent indentations on his face, and he was going bald. If Pierre dared to say ‘hello’, it would barely register, and he would hear Antoine muttering about cocoa and conching under his breath.
Pierre had learned much about the art of chocolate- making, simply by osmosis. He had grown up around the profession, and knew the basics. But what would create the perfect truffle? He gathered together a small lunch, put on his boots, and went to wander in the woods near his home, hoping to find his friend the Bear for some inspiration. He had been sneaking into the factory, stealing small bags of chocolates and feeding them to this bear for the past couple of summers. The bear had a sweet tooth, but was a discerning animal, and would turn his nose up if something wasn’t quite right. He would know what a perfect truffle tasted like.
Pierre got to the woods armed with some fish the Cook had given him, and a bag of chocolates he had pulled from the counter in the factory. He had waited until dark the night before, snuck into Antoine’s ‘ Truffle Chamber’ and picked out a few samples, along with some melted chocolate, which he knew Bear loved, and some honey, because to go and visit a bear without any honey is folly.
Pierre was a clever little chap. He didn’t much like fish himself, but he knew that if he wanted Bear to find him in the expansive wood, he would have to attract him. He went to his usual spot in a clearing, took out the fish and waved it around. Within minutes, Bear had come bounding into the clearing, a look of delight on his face. He was a friendly animal, with large almond- shaped eyes and a big brown snout perfect for sniffing out sweet delicacies. He swallowed down the fish, gave Pierre his best bear-hug and waited to see what treats he had today.
Pierre slowly took out the truffle samples, and laid them on the floor. Bear sniffed at them cautiously, and slowly licked them up with his tongue and ate them. There wasn’t very much enthusiasm registered, and Pierre thought sadly of his increasingly mad uncle Antoine. He pulled out the last batch of truffles, and was dismayed to see that the melted chocolate container was broken, and had covered the truffles in its contents. Cursing, he picked out the ruined truffles and threw them to the ground. As he reached in for the honey, he saw Bear sniff at the unwanted truffles, and suddenly whip them into his mouth before licking the ground around them. He trundled over to Pierre and stuck his nose in the bag, sniffing out more. ‘Wait’ thought Pierre, ‘he actually likes the truffles with chocolate covering them?’ To test the theory, he enrobed the truffles with the remaining chocolate, and watched in wonder as Bear wolfed them down. Since Pierre knew exactly how discerning Bear’s palate was, particularly when it came to confection, he believed he had found the secret to the perfect truffle.
Thanking Bear and leaving the honey, he raced back home and dashed into his uncle’s Truffle Chamber, where he found Antoine looking more like a mad scientist than ever. He picked up a jug of chocolate, poured it over the truffles, and begged him to taste one. Antoine, too tired and disheartened to put up any resistance, put one in his mouth. Then, in a sudden movement, he jumped three feet in the air, a look of joy spreading across his face.’ YOU’VE DONE IT!’ he cried. “YOU’VE CREATED THE PERFECT TRUFFLE! Tell me EVERYTHING”.
So Pierre relayed the story back to him, and the rest is history. Prestat became the best chocolatiers in the world, with the most famous truffles, coated in fine cocoa. The shop was named for Pierre. But it would be sad to have left out the bear completely. In memory of the bear with the discerning palate, a box of the finest truffles (including, of course, honey flavoured) can be bought in his image. The box is unmistakeably the very same bear who helped Pierre and his family long ago. You can tell from the almond eyes, and that very discerning snout! Though this cannot be confirmed, it is said that the bear still helps Prestat try out new flavours.
We not try our Teddy Bear Truffles
Anthony Lewis- Binns