I recount all this to my husband, for whom it only proves vanilla's role as chocolate's perpetual sidekick. He's lying in bed next to me, studying a chocolate body-frosting kit that someone has sent us as a kind of romantic joke: You're supposed to stencil your lover's body with sexy sayings and then lick them off, but my own lover jokes that he's just going to snip open the pouch and squeeze all the frosting into his mouth. I can't help feeling that vanilla is subtler somehow. There's a musky, floral flavor you can't always put your finger on—the softness underlying the chill in a minty cordial, for instance, or the dreamy, exotic fragrance in sautéed shrimp. You have to make these dishes extradelicious, of course, to placate the chocolate lovers—like the friend who smacked her lips over the panna cotta before saying, "Wow, you know what would make this even better?" Mm hmm.
Of course, that's just how I feel now in bed, about the chocolate tattoos. "You know what I'd love?" I say, picturing them creamy and aromatic instead of deep and chocolaty, and my husband says, "I do." Then he tears open the packet with his teeth and starts to write v-a-n-i-...
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Sexy vanilla desserts