Creating Encounter in Colour: Black Forest Gateau (Schwarzwaldtorte)

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We walk through Grimm’s forest tales, peering into witch’s ovens and shaking our heads at young princes on brave steeds as they charge headlong into thorny frontiers, wonder at young maidens sleeping in glass coffins and follow, eventually, the long trail of breadcrumbs that leads us out into the open air. We breathe long and deep, pondering whether or not we have just entered or left reality.

Broken bread leads us, as it always does, to some kind of Kirche, and since we are recently passed through gloomy Austrian pines, to kirsch, oozing into chocolate cake, all of it softening into a dark deliciousness, a velvet plateful of baked flour and alcohol, akin to the mystery of communion.

Is this richness too, a picture of life in all its fullness, and the bleeding of fermented cherries a reminder of how many horrific stories there are, written to prepare children for the dangers that lurk behind close-camped evergreens, or to remind adults that we too, need to be wary of gung-ho princes and apple sellers? And as I think on the syrupy deep morello red drizzle soaking into cocoa, mixing sour and sweet, am I a warning to myself on the perils of an overactive imagination?

This sermon in the Kirsche Kirche Küche has left us glowing with Glühwein, drunkenly drenched by Spirit, flammable for God. A powerful combination of taste sensations, warmed here out of the cold depressing zeitgeist, and aware of another kingdom, where burgundy deep plum aubergine liqueur and plain brown sponge sing to us of flesh and blood, and the possibility that heaven might be sumptuous glory, a melt-in-the-mouth savouring and a colour to get lost in, sustenance so rich we can only be treated once in a while, as we also embrace the poverty of daily bread. These two, as far and near from one another as fairy stories and liturgy, everything made holy by our cosmic Christ.

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay