In the social function after the banquet, Duchess Renalier invited me to dance. I accepted that invitation and took her hand. After that, we began dancing.
I personally experience directly touching her hand, facing close with her, who is still in her late teens. I wonder how heavy is the burden that she takes on with her small shoulders.
“You have such big hands. Moreover, they are strong and firm. It’s the first time I hold these toughened hands of a man.”
That’s because she has only been touching the hands of the nobles. Theirs would be soft, clueless about physical labors. My hands are gnarled, the kind that belongs to a field worker.
“My apologies for showing you this unpleasantness.”
“It’s nothing like that. These are a worker’s hands. They’re wonderful, but it came as a surprise for me that these hands could actually make those tiny, detailed pastries.”
Duchess Renalier grips my hands tighter, as if she wants to confirm the feel of them. It’s a little tickling.
“Every pastry chef is a magician, after all.”
Yes, magic. With unexpected ingredients and techniques, we continue to make pastries that make people smile.
“Fufu, it’s interesting for a real magic-user who possesses mana like you to express it that way. At least, let me say this. Thank you. Today’s banquet truly improved the influence of my words.”
“I’m glad that I can be your strength. I do not wish for war either.”
“I’m shocked that someone like you would be born to the Arnolds of the spear.”
Until now, the Arnold house flourished through their deeds of arms in the war. Originally, my family would welcome war with open arms to think of what kind of deeds they could achieve through that opportunity.
“It is my intention to make the Arnolds flourish from pastries and special regional products instead of warring. That’s why, a war is just a hindrance.”
I’ve decided it like that. I want to prosper while making everyone smile.
“Hey, have you really not thought about discarding your current territory? There’s a territory near my domain that is larger and richer that I can prepare for you. I can even elevate your peerage rank into a marquess. If I’m not mistaken, you have a younger brother, right? Let him care after your current territory instead.”
That offer does hold a tremendous charm. It’s a huge promotion in the social ladder. However……
“My deepest apologies, but I have to decline that offer. There are also a lot of things that cannot be achieved unless it’s in the Arnold fief. And I actually love my current territory, because I helped shape the land into its current state.”
When I say that, Duchess Renalier looks startled.
“My, I didn’t expect to be rejected. ……But that is so very like you. All right, then, do as you like. However, if I need your strength again, I wonder if you are willing to lend it to me?”
There’s only one answer to that question.
It was within my hypothesis. If I showed my strength right now, she would rely on me later on.
“If Your Grace’s resolution never changes, I will always lend my arms.”
“Then, I’ll be under your care.”
With that, our conversation ends. We continue dancing until the music is over.
The music finally ends and we finish our dance. As expected from dancing twice in a row despite never doing it before, I want to take a rest.
Luckily, there’s an intermission before the next song starts playing, so in this time of rest, I decide to walk away from this spot. If I stay around, the other female scions will most likely expect a dance from me as well.
The servants are carrying the food and drinks as replenishment. The dish this time was prepared by the chefs of the Renalier house while I acted as a support, but because there were a lot of methods and ingredients that I didn’t know about, I was positively thrilled.
“Your Grace, did you recognize those kinds of servants?”
Suddenly, something grabs my attention. After several days in this place, I often get in touch with the servants responsible as the waiters in this area, so I kind of remember their faces, but I don’t remember ever seeing theirs.
“I don’t know. It is impossible for me to remember every single servant in this place.”
That’s a given, huh…… The detail that grabbed my intention wasn’t only their unrecognizable faces. It’s their footwork. Those people aren’t amateurs. Their footwork doesn’t show any useless movements, which is the result of years of training.
There’s no way that mere servants can possess that kind of footwork. Moreover, it’s not just one of them; all three of them are the same. Moreover, their gesture shows that they keep nonchalantly confirming the position of Duchess Renalier. Those servants approach this spot.
“Your Grace, shall we look for a little bit of fresh night air?”
I take her hand and walk toward the terrace, so that I can take her away from this area in a natural manner. I wonder if it was too sudden, because the gesture makes her face redden.
“What do you intend to do?”
“It’s better if it’s just an unnecessary precaution. They,”
I stop talking in that moment. The servants make their run without any sound. It’s an impressive body movement that pushes their way through the rows of people. They are heading towards our direction, no, Duchess Renalier’s.
“Step behind me, Your Grace.”
I step forward to cover her. Then I take out my cake knife. They did some body checking, but because Duchess Renalier is an influential woman and I’m just a pastry chef, they let me bring it in.
I make my stance with the cake knife. Originally, this kind of knife cannot be used as weapon, but I have my Sword Ability. Just by holding a blade, my physical ability will climb up, my movements become sharper, I become exponentially stronger. Moreover, I strengthen my body with mana. Handling both【ability】and mana. That’s what makes me the strongest Arnold.
“You! Servants over there! Hold your position!”
Disregarding my shout, those servants plunge forward towards our place. It’s as I suspected then. It’s not like I expect them to really stop; I want to confirm the fact that they did disregard my order.
They must have planned to hinder me with two of them, while the third servant will grab the duchess. They take out the big knives they have hidden. Those are different than my cake knife; they’re lethal weapons. I have to be on guard. The moment I focus my attention on the knives.
One of them takes out a sharp needle from his mouth and spits it out with the duchess’s nape as the aim. I swing my cake knife and make the needle fall.
It was a surprise attack, with the knives grabbing all the attention. Without the reaction speed granted by mana strengthening, I wouldn’t be able to ward them off. While my posture got disturbed by that action, the other two launched their attacks.
It’s a situation that no ordinary man can shrug away from.
But I’m no ordinary man. With twice the strengthening, that movement has long surpassed a human’s common sense. I reside in a different time axis.
I make my posture down low, then I stop one of the servants by kicking right on his jaw. My foot is raised overhead; I crash it down against the back of the head of the other servant. The third servant who aims for Duchess Renalier makes his way to my side.
He’s fast. He reeks of mana. I can’t reach him with this pace.
Clicking my tongue, I turn around and throw my knife towards him. I hesitate to turn a kitchenware into a direct weapon, but I have no spare time to think like that. At the very least, it’s not the knife that Faruno gave to me, but one that I borrowed from the Renalier house.
Flying like an arrow, the cake knife pierces the right half of the man’s chest , toppling him down. With this, I have curbed down the impending danger. However, the problem only starts from here.
“It’s an assailant!!”
“What are the guards doing!?”
The Four Great Dukes gather around, so naturally there should have been strict security. However, some assassins could trespass and make their move. This incident will undoubtedly drag down Duchess Renalier’s popularity.
Right then, a beautiful voice rings in the room. It belongs to the head of the noble faction, Duke Härtling. With just a single order, the silence returns.
“Why are we, the prestigious nobles of this empire, getting perturbed by this level of incident? Everyone of you, keep yourself close to someone you can trust.”
As expected from one of the Four Great Dukes, he shows how easily he appeases the crowd in a blink of an eye. Then, he walks towards here.
“Duchess Renalier, are you well?”
“Yes, I’m all right. The heir of the Arnold baronetcy protected me.”
Duchess Renalier who was disturbed before has finally returned to her calm state.
“I’m glad that you’re all right. You’re one of the most valuable people in this empire. We cannot lose you. This is a simple suggestion, but it must be difficult to continue the party like this, isn’t it? Let’s close the curtain of the party.”
There’s no other option. The nobles from the imperial faction must have felt especially threatened.
“Yes, I agree.”
Duchess Renalier nods and then speaks out.
“Honored guests, let us have today’s party to come to its end. …..I deeply apologize that it has to end like this. We promise that we’ll strengthen our security. I will call the guards immediately, please return to your rooms with them.”
That way, the nobles make their way back. Today they should shut themselves inside their rooms.
Duchess Renalier shows her firm attitude, but she looks strained. It’s not strange, though. Someone just aimed for her life, and the party that has been going so well has to be destroyed by such an incident at the very end. There must be a mole within the guards. Her mind must be a mess.
I softly grab her hand. Being by my side who just saved her life would have added some ease for her, right? Then she instantly opens her eyes……
She murmurs with a small voice.
Looking at us in that circumstance, Duke Härtling makes a thin smile and speaks.
“The one aiming for Duchess Renalier must have been someone from the neighboring Hartbuffer (ハルトバッファ) Principality. Those facial features and the peculiar scent from them, there’s no mistake.”
Duke Härtling speaks loudly as if trying to make everyone know on purpose. The nobles in the vicinity curse loudly towards the Hartbuffer Principality one by one out of anger and disgrace from having their lives put in danger. The place is heating up, and in that timing, he speaks to me.
“Heir of the Baronetcy of Arnold, you are amazing as a pastry chef, and your martial arts is skillful too. I would have never pegged a toy-like knife capable of instantly defeating first-rate assassins. To my understanding, you must have possessed mana. Oh, how much you must have suffered!! As expected of the strongest Arnold!!”
He’s smiling, but it’s eerie somehow. I don’t know whether he notices my vigilant state or not, but he continues to run his mouth.
“If there’s someone like him, I’m sure we can win the war. It’s suffocating for you to use your talents in cooking. That’s right, if we combine his power with the hero of the last war, Volg the jet black, not even the famous magic knight of the Hartbuffer Principality can remain undefeated!!”
The surrounding nobles get excited with his words. They start to incline their opinions towards his words.
I have confirmed something after reaching this point. He’s the one who drew in those assassins. His objective is to destroy Duchess Renalier’s party. If the assassination succeeds, it will eliminate Duchess Renalier, the head of the imperal faction, while the noble faction will win. Even when it failed like this, he makes my strength to appeal the possibility of winning the war. It’s a two-fold plan.
He got us. That’s why he must have propelled me up into the spotlight.
“Duke Härtling, I’m a pastry chef, not a soldier.”
“Even though you possess this strength? As nobles, it is our duty to contribute to the empire. It is treason if you don’t fight.”
I can hear the righteousness of those words at a glance. However, there’s no way I approve of it.
“Indeed, I am strong. If I’m sent to the battlefield, I can massacre any number of enemy soldiers hurling at me. However, what will that achieve?”
“The more you kill, the less allies we’ll lose.”
“If it’s not within your wish to lose any of those allies, the war shouldn’t happen in the first place.”
“If we win the war, we can obtain the gold and resources of the neighboring land. It’s essential to make this empire prosper.”
I’ve been waiting for those words.
“Winning the war won’t return the lives we will lose. There is a way to make the empire prosper without spilling any blood. Since there’s such method, it is not a necessity to choose the path of carnage. I humbly work together with Duchess Renalier to realize that path.”
Making the empire prosper from the inside is the statement of the imperial faction. Duke Härtling shows a displeased expression at once.
“As a part of the whole, I, with my humble strength, am spreading my pastries all over this empire. The feelings that all the honored guests experienced when tasting my pastry today, will be able to reach everywhere in this empire. I choose that path, because I believe in the path that will make many, countless people happy in that way.”
“……A mere sophistry.”
“No, it’s a conviction. And then, Duchess Renalier has the power to make my conviction a reality. Even without new land, the people’s lives can flourish even more.”
Yes, there are still so many possibilities. Even without taking an inefficient method like war, the people’s lives can still be improved.
“The thinking of someone wet behind his ears. If they attack us, it’s only natural to strike back at them.”
“And in order not to let that happen, there is diplomacy, which is a noble’s job, isn’t it?”
“Fufu, you speak of something interesting. But what happens, happens.”
“……I’m not denying that possibility. If that time comes, in order to protect the peace, I will arm myself with the spear. However, now is not that time.”
Duke Härtling’s discerning eyes pierce into me. And then he raises both hands and show his back.
“I understand that it’s impossible to make you consent…… “With words”, that is. Then, I’ll be returning home now. Your food was truly delicious. I shall look forward to being able to enjoy that again, somewhere.”
His exit draws people’s attention. I notice the last words that he left behind, his minute emphasis on “with words” part. I don’t know what kind of scheme he has in mind right now.
“Heir of the Baronet of Arnold, you’ve helped me.”
“It is my duty to protect you, Your Grace. There’s no need to thank me.”
“Truly a desireless man, aren’t you? I tell you that you have gained my favor and am about to reward you with compensation, you know?”
“That’s because I’m the one who owes so much more, Your Grace.”
“Fufu, I’m really no match for you. I’m completely helpless now, due to wrapping up all of this. Will you allow me some of your time tomorrow, perhaps? I wish to thank you and talk with you a little.”
“Yes, Your Grace. It’ll be my honor.”
With that, the party ends after so many ups and downs. This incident has completely ended…… is the exact opposite of what’s in my mind.
However, it’s the world of politics from here on out. There’s only so much that I can do. Right now, first of all, let’s think of how to feed Tina and Chloe, who must have been starving. It will be our private, modest banquet.
I thought Hartling is a much more decent man that will provide complicated plot twist of betrayal and such, but his ways are a bit too obvious and gaudy. Kind of disappointing, really. Maybe he’ll do something to Arnold fief in the future?
The good thing is the fact that pastry power doesn’t just magically turn people to his side, lol. In this point only, Hartling is a good opponent to fight with. Let’s see which pastry power will defeat him in the end!
There’s only 3 chapters left to this volume! So in the next update, I’m pretty sure we can reach the end of this volume in one go. I can’t believe it, wow <3
It’s official, I can’t keep up with daily updates because it’s boring to translate the same series apparently hahaha. I’ll still churn out as many Pastry Chef as I can in a week though. Sorry for being irregular. I remember someone said that reading this has been the good part of his day… :'(
P.S. If you make PDF/Epub from my translation, please exclude the food pictures! And if you retranslate my translation to other languages, I implore you to link the credit to both the raws chapter and my chapter… U_U
The full course meal served at the banquet earned rave reviews, which began with the Four Great Dukes and ended with the rest of the nobles. Only then did I feel relief from the burden on my shoulders. Honestly, I very much prefer to hold a private banquet with Tina and Chloe like this, but I still have a single task to do.
I need to mingle with the other nobles, so I head over to the dance hall where the get-together is currently held.
The banquet has ended safely, but there’s an intriguing matter. About Duke Härtling. He is hiding something beneath his gentlemanly behavior. He also has an uncommon interest in me. It wouldn’t be strange if he has set some traps for me after this.
“You’re making a complicated face. Kurt-sama, do you hate dance parties?”
“No, I just have something on my mind, that’s all.”
The soft-looking pink-haired beautiful young girl who is standing beside me smiles. She’s Faruno, my fiancee. Her well developed pleasant-looking figure is clad in a lovely dress of the same pink color as her hair.
“This is the first time you’ve shown me this dress, but it looks cute. It’s a perfect fit for your warm atmosphere, Faruno.”
“Kurt-sama is blessed with a glib tongue.”
Faruno’s cheeks redden. I tear my eyes off of her to look at our surroundings. As expected of Duchess Renalier, she even hosts dance parties. Live music from the absolute best orchestra reverberates in the room, while the prided chefs of the Renalier ducal house are all serving snacks to the best of their abilities, they have even prepared the finest wine to go with them.
Holding this party once must have already exceeded the budget of my pioneering village for a month. I’m not concerned with the food, though. I want to savor this chance as much as possible, I wish to learn this land’s culture and techniques. However, it’s not as if I have that much spare time. Such a waste of such a valuable opportunity.
“Fufu, I’m very glad that I can participate together with Kurt-sama in this party.”
“I have way more fun staying in the kitchen hall and working with the pot, though.”
That’s 100% true for me. I do have the interest to build a network for the sake of marketing my pastries or gaining approval for my business, but I have no hobby of climbing the social ladder.
Participating like this in a dance party, the nest of everything that is evil, brings me so much agony, but I still have to do it. I’d rather work behind the scenes, but Duchess Renalier has specifically told me to participate. As a lone aristocrat, there’s no way I can escape from participating.
The nobles around me don’t even notice the music or wine, as they plunge head first into networking here. Naturally, that’s how I should act too.
“You cannot say that, Kurt-sama. You are my fiancee after all.”
“You’re right. I can’t possible leave my cute fiancee in disgrace.”
When I say that, Faruno grabs my arm. She said something logical. Even if I have no interest in climbing the social ladder, I want to avoid causing the ire of the other aristocrats. I must interact with them within my limits. While thinking like that, Margrave Fernande shows up while bringing a man with him.
“Hey, Kurt-kun. Have you been enjoying the party?”
“Yes, I am. I won’t be able to taste the music and liquor of this quality anymore if I run away from this opportunity.”
“There are countless marquesses and counts who asked me to be introduced to you. How do you want me to act, though?”
“It will be a great help if I can be introduced to as few nobles as possible, within the limitations of not marring your reputation, My Lord.”
Hearing my reply, Margrave Fernande wryly smiles.
“Honestly, you’re really a man with no greed. It’s a chance to increase your personal connections. ……Nah, someone like you doesn’t need that, I suppose. You have even moved Duchess Renalier. After gaining the duchess’s favor, you don’t really need to curry more favor with the other aristocrats here.”
Margrave Fernande says that lightly, but he actually hits the mark.
“And I caught the eyes of someone as influential as you as well, My Lord.”
“Hahaha, your words made me happy.”
I pause there.
“There’s a single person that I want to greet personally, Baron Frenhertz. I wish to directly express my gratitude for taking my younger brother Jörg under his care. And then, if possible, I wish to know Jörg’s present condition.”
Jörg had been twisted, crushed by his own inferiority complex which had accumulated from being compared to me while he was growing up. That’s why I sent him out of the Arnold fief to try living with his own power and talent as a man in a place where he wouldn’t be compared to me all the time. So Jörg headed over to Baron Frenhertz’ domain and started being a retainer there.
We’ve been keeping in touch through letters, and he mentioned that he was doing well in his writings, but because he’s such an obstinate person, I can’t just take his words at face value. As an older brother, I want to listen to the opinion of his superior.
“Ahahahaha, so it’s something like that. You’re thinking of your brother, huh? It’s just as well, because the truth is, Baron Frenhertz also wishes to see you. That’s why I brought him here.”
When Margrave Fernande says that, the man who has been standing by his side faces towards me and smiles. He’s a man with large build that can only be achieved through continuous tempering. His face and figure seem to have sincerity, fortitude, and vigor painted all over. His atmosphere resembles my father’s somehow.
“Hear that, Fernande? Kurt Arnold, the one who is currently in the spotlight, spoke well of me, you know? I’m not someone who can be cast away so easily, right?”
“It’s just some simple flattery from Kurt-kun, don’t let it get to your head.”
Margrave Fernande and Baron Frenhertz talk to each other as old bosom friends without any attention to their respective statures. Now that I think about it, my father told me that they were childhood friends who also fought together side by side in the last war. Without fail, Baron Frenhertz would take command of the front line in the last great war and Margrave Fernande had a great faith in him. It seems that he also has saved Margrave Fernande’s life before.
“No, it isn’t just some flattery. Even among the pioneers in my fief, there is no one who doesn’t know your name.”
“Come here, come, you make my back itch. Sheesh, after thinking that you’d become more impudent and intoxicated in that kind of spotlight, you said those things instead. It’s not cute, really. As expected of Jörg’s older brother. His boasting does hold some truth. No, it’s more like the real one is an even better man.”
It’s a little embarrassing. Has he been praising me out there?
“Is Jörg doing well?”
“Yup, that he is. He’s my right-hand man now. He’s talented in the spear and quick-witted. Lately, he even had his mana awakened. He’s earnest in learning, so he catches on fast to everything. Having that chap around is such a great help, you know?”
So Jörg has been doing his best. I feel relieved hearing that.
“I’ll be leaving him under your care from now on as well. He might be uncooperative, but he’s a good man at heart.”
“Of course. I’m not that stupid to discriminate against that man. Still, though…”
Baron Frenhertz shows a complicated expression. Looking at that face makes me feel somewhat anxious.
“Is there something?”
“Initially, I promised to send him back if he misses his home, but now, it’ll be painful for me if he does go back there.”
I can’t stop myself from laughing. I see, so Jörg has been recognized to this extent.
“Whether he will eventually go back to Arnold or not, it will be his decision alone. If you don’t want to return him, please treat him well until he doesn’t want to come back home.”
“I thought the same. Maybe I should give him one of my daughters. It looks like my third one has fallen for him, and it doesn’t seem impossible to get reciprocated from his side as well.”
Just like that, we kept talking about Jörg. It seems that he was appointed to go with Baron Frenhertz to this estate, but he said that he didn’t want to see me before he could stand on his own. I feel slightly regretful, but there’s a greater happiness from having him say that for me.
After separating from Baron Frenhertz, I greet the other groups of aristocrats with Faruno. As Duchess Renalier’s person of interest, they butter up to me. Many of them seem to have the intention to ask for any leftovers, so having Faruno and her high standing to ward them off is a great help.
If it’s just me with my low standing, I’ll probably only be taken advantage of and it will be disastrous.
Finally, after making one round of greetings, Faruno looks at my face with greedy looking eyes. I wonder what the cause for those eyes is. That’s right, I think she’s been looking at the pairs who joyfully danced in the center of the dance hall.
“Faruno, shall we dance too?”
“Yes, Kurt-sama! I gladly accept your invitation.”
She definitely wished to dance all along, but it must have been difficult for a girl to be the one who initiates it.
“However, I’ve never danced before in my life since I was born. Please don’t laugh if I take the wrong step.”
“It’s all right, because I will be leading.”
So we head over to the center of the hall to dance like that. When we go there, other people around us start to gather with great attention. It’s natural. I’m a person who suddenly rose to fame, while Faruno is a pretty girl who catches people’s eyes. While basking in the showering attention, Faruno and I begin dancing.
“Kurt-sama, is this truly your first time? Your movements are very fluid.”
“I memorized the movements of the others around us with my eyes. Besides, I only match my moves with Faruno’s. Doing that will make me dance, naturally.”
Just as I said, I unexpectedly catch on to dancing pretty well. The detail of the movements is difficult, but I can grasp the outline. I can predict how to move next from the music and Faruno’s movement and breathing. Then I just need to move accordingly.
“I’m very happy that I can see Kurt-sama’s splendor. It’s a complex feeling, though. I can only dance well after a lot of bitter study.”
She sighs without realizing it. Even this display of her childish side is part of her charm. After a while, the music ends. We stop dancing and Faruno retracts her hand reluctantly. It’s rare for nobles to dance with the same partner twice in a row. I feel slightly reluctant as well, but this is just enough, isn’t it? When Faruno and I separate, though, there are many female scions gathered nearby.
They should be here to request for a dance. If possible, I want to refuse that, though…… While I’m thinking of that, the crowd splits open.
Duchess Renalier is there in person. Her fixed blonde hair is fascinatingly elegant. Her bewitching figure, clad in a black dress, draws out her attractiveness. Both Faruno and Tina represent cuteness, but this girl can only be called beautiful.
“Kurt Arnold, heir of the Baronetcy of Arnold. Thank you for your hard work today. The food was more wonderful than I expected.”
“Those words are enough to reward all of my efforts, Your Grace.”
“If it is suitable for you, would you allow me to have this one dance?”
Her words cause the people in the vicinity to make noises. A duchess and a baronet. Originally, even asking for such a thing is enough to make me waver. Even so, it should have been allowed for this day, right?
Poor Faruno, I don’t think she has a chance as Kurt is thinking for Tina and Chloe only hahah. It’s a given though, she has eaten Kurt’s dish while the other two haven’t.
The dance party should look like this.
Also Jooooooorg, I miss that chap Q_Q and his tsundere ways. None of Kurt’s girls are tsun, so, having his younger brother sought for his brother attention, badmouthing him in the front but boasting about him in the back, it’s really a nice sight. I can’t help but to melt when thinking that he’s been trying his best to become a respectable adult………with a stock of Kurt’s konpeito to accompany him while he’s doing his best.
Someone please hold me or I’ll keep gushing about him slfjlajsfk.
Oh right, additional address such as “My Lord”, “Your Grace”, etc is not originally there in the Japanese text. I add it because it seems to make the speech flow more naturally, and more indicative for readers to know who is currently speaking. Sorry for taking those liberties!
Sorry that you have to click that last chapter twice. (I noticed the doubling visitors for the chapter haha.) Even though it’s officially tomorrow in my timezone, I hope this counts as the double chapter for Monday. ^,^
At last, it’s the finale of the full course meal, the greatest highlight, the dessert. The servants have just brought out the 80% completed Imperial Torte, which is nothing more than a chocolate sponge cake that I have baked prior to this banquet. That is still not enough to be called the supreme cake. There’s still some finishing touches left.
My prototype chocolate cake, Sachertorte, was a baked chocolate-flavored sponge cake with plenty of butter and chocolate. I used apricot jam to glaze over the surface, and then I coated the whole cake with sugary fondant that contained chocolate as its finishing. With just that much, it was already called the king of chocolate cakes.
In order to make an Imperial Torte which surpassed that Sachertorte, I used walnut oil in place of butter and mildly added Western liquor to spice it up. After that, in place of apricot jam, I used Pinal jam from the peach-like fruit that had received all the blessings of the spirit village. I sliced it into two layers and made a fruit cream layer as well.
“Fufufu, dark-colored cake? It’s yet another queer one again. Is it the effect of that thing called chocolate, I wonder?”
“Yes, that is indeed correct, Duke Härtling. This is a pastry for adults, guaranteed to give you the most elevated taste.”
Around the time I replied with a smile, the servants brought up a polished marble plate. It’s the absolutely indispensable tool in making Imperial Torte. Now, I shall begin the finishing touch.
“From now on, I’ll be making the finishing touches in front of all the honored guests. Please, have a look.”
Firstly, I’m having Tina heat up a bowl of chocolate until it turns into liquid form. The temperature is about 40-50 degree Celsius. This is important.
I pour 2/3 parts of the melted chocolate onto the large marble plate. The dark liquid spreads on the plate, and it exudes the alluring smell of heated chocolate. After all, it’s the highest grade of chocolate made from cocoa beans. Not only is it of a great quality, I also adjusted it to be the most suitable ingredient for Imperial Torte only. This smell will even entice the most sensible man in the room. The Four Great Dukes who smell this for the first time must be unable to endure any longer, right? Their eyes are perfectly glued to it.
I spread the chocolate thinly on the large marble plate, then I mix it all together again with a spatula. This process is called tempering. By processing the chocolate like this, the cocoa butter will crystallize; it will harden to give the crisp mouthfeel texture and shine with a brilliant luster finish.
The processing temperature, thinness when it’s spread, all of them allow no room for compromise and demand all of my focus. Even the most trivial miss will result in the lack of glossy finish of the chocolate and harm the texture.
The ability to perfectly conduct a tempering is one of the proofs of a first rate pastry chef. Thinner, even more endlessly thinner. Looking at the sight of my cooking process seems to take away the breath of those around me.
Gradually, as the temperature is cooling down, I withdraw the spatula and form horn swirls that stay up. It’s the evidence of a successful crystallization. I mix the chocolate that I’ve safely tempered into the bowl with the 1/3 of the remaining chocolate inside. If I fail here, everything will come to nothing.
I plaster the jam made of pinal fruit that has been immersed in liquor onto the chocolate sponge cake.
The liquor taste is a great match with the chocolate. The jam made from the finest quality pinal fruits grown with the elves’ blessing is already so delicious on its own. It’s exceptionally compatible with chocolate.
Then, I coat the surface of the chocolate cake that has pinal jam plastered on with the chocolate that has been tempered.
Swiftly, evenly. All in a second. The chocolate coating spread turns solid just like that.
Just in case, I’m having Tina take away the heat too. It’s not about applying cold air onto it, but taking away the heat itself so that the cake will firm up without any bad influence. The perfectly tempered chocolate emits an endlessly gorgeous luster finish.
Looking at my cooking process, Duchess Renalier uttered that word absentmindedly. The technique of a craftsman who has gone to the extreme will be a beautiful work of art in itself.
With this, my cake is completed. It’s literally a shining cake. This is the improved version of Sachertorte, Imperial Torte.
“This is my finished dessert. I will cut it now.”
I cut the Imperial Torte into portions. Except for the Four Great Dukes’ table, the guests receive a serving of Imperial Torte that I have baked yesterday.
“Then, please enjoy. This is the best pastry that I am able to humbly present to you.”
I can hear someone gulping. The Four Great Dukes reach for their Imperial Torte.
Their expression turns sloppy as they sink in ecstasy. They are at loss for words and can only indulge greedily in the cake as if in a trance. Just like that, the cake is all gone. Everyone in the room wear the same sated look on their faces. Until they finished eating, not a single person in the room make any words. When something is truly delicious, people will be rendered speechless.
To be able to draw out this kind of reaction from them is not only credited to the power of the best cake, but to all of the full course meal leading to the dessert which have served to make the cake as delicious as possible. The seeds sowed from the beginning bore the fruits at the finish line.
After quite some time has passed, the nobles finally open their mouths to speak.
“I was thoroughly surprised. When I was enjoying the high class bitter flavor and the sweet chocolate exterior that snapped in my mouth, it revealed a gentle sourness from the jam, and it even hid a soft decadent cake in the inside. Those bitter, sweet, and sour tastes blended into one flavor that is so emotionally moving….. ah, indeed, it’s just as you said. All the dishes that I highly praised before only served as the opening performance for this. Ah, no, I’m quite sure that I didn’t just eat a cake. I wonder what that is.”
Duke Härtling looks dazed in disbelief.
“This chocolate thing is really amazing. However, one needs talent to perfectly draw out that chocolate’s potential. As expected, there’s nothing to complain about, whatsoever. Duchess Renalier, it’s your victory. I’m unable to deny that the full course that you have presented is truly the best, newest full course meal.”
Eichhorn of the west has already surrendered.
Duchess Renalier smiles.
“It is my pleasure to be able to deliver. I wonder if that means you have acknowledged the height of the cultural development in the east that I manage. Is it?”
“That’s right, I admit it. It’s the full course that is 100 years more advanced than the rest of us. However… Is this truly the power of the east?”
“And what are you trying to say with those words, Duke Härtling?”
“No, no reason in particular. Today is truly the best banquet of all times, Duchess Renalier.”
After that, they engage in a pleasant chat.
Somehow, the banquet has successfully ended. It was a good experience for me to be able to use the highest grade ingredients as I liked, but I wish I could avoid another high pressure job like this.
“That’s right, today’s full course menu was all prepared under your direction. Is that correct, Kurt Arnold, heir of the Baronetcy of Arnold?”
“That is correct.”
“It’s the first time I’ve ever tasted a full course meal this amazing. I absolutely need to thank you. I will present you a gift later on.”
“As expected from Duke Härtling of the west. You have deep pockets. It won’t do if I fall behind the duke of the west. I will also send over a present for you later on.”
Personal gifts from the dukes. Most likely, they will be things that I can never even lay my eyes on, in my whole life. I do wish that I can accept them to further advance the Arnold fief. However……
“I terribly apologize, because I cannot accept those gifts. I was only moving to assist Duchess Renalier, not a single speck more. This amazing banquet is all the meritorious deed of the person who chose me as her assistant, Duchess Renalier. If I accept presents, they will be from Her Grace’s hands. I cannot possibly accept any other present.”
I can only say that, because jumping on board of this openly headhunting maneuver will only result in a bad reputation in the short term and increase the number of my enemies.
“Ahahahahaha! Kurt-kun, you…… You are really good.”
Duke Härtling’s voice is cheerful and amicable, but his frame is trembling.
“Forget the speech just now. However, let me say this at the very least. I wish to eat your food again. I can’t endure only tasting it once. Can you serve more for me?”
“That possibility depends on Duchess Renalier.”
“Ahahaha, that’s right. It is indeed as you said. Un, but I’m still surprised. A black kite can give birth to a dragon, let alone an eagle.”
And that is the end of my conversation with Duke Härtling. Duchess Renalier flashes a smile at me. That was probably the correct answer. After that, the banquet gradually ties into a close.
“Since we’ve stuffed our bellies, let’s move to the dance hall. A place for casual chats has been prepared beforehand. You may freely participate, so I wish you all will do as you please.”
Along with those words, people move in crowds. Free participation means the ideal opportunity to build their network. No aristocrat will miss it. I stand still in my spot. If possible, I don’t wish to join in, but I shouldn’t be like that, right? Though the lowest of the kind, I’m still of nobility too. Though, most likely, there are many nobles who will approach me as I’m seen as Duchess Renalier’s person of interest, which sounds troublesome.
I’ll simply take a small break now. After all, I’m mentally exhausted. I’m simply standing still, watching the servants and the nobles that they’re escorting.
An elderly man calls out to me in that state. It’s Duke Ortlöpp of the north. He’s Duchess Renalier’s ally from the imperial faction.
“Thank you for the wonderful food. I’m also grateful for the help you’ve sent to Duchess Renalier.”
“I only completed my task.”
“Even more so. That girl only has a small number of allies. By thoroughly completing your task, becoming an existence that she can trust, you gave her a great mental support.”
I’m at loss for words to reply. In a conversation with this person, I don’t want to show any disrespect by saying something clumsy.
“Your food was great, young lad. Not just the taste, even thoughtfulness you put into it was amazing. Today, my body feels lighter compared to when I haven’t eaten, I also thoroughly enjoyed the performance. I never thought that it could happen to someone from eating something. You are a great chef, young lad. Like that Härtling, I’d love to enjoy your food again in another opportunity.”
Without waiting for my reply, Duke Ortlöpp turns around. And then, he spoke even though I can’t see from where I’m standing.
“I shall bestow one advice from an old man like me. You’ve shown too much power. After this, people with bad intentions will approach you, and your old allies will see you with greed, perhaps make a full change in front of you. Don’t be too trusting, but don’t be too doubtful. To live longer as a noble, that is the crux that you must engrave in your mind.”
He’s a person a I cannot fathom. There’s a weight of a person who has lived a long time in his words. His figure gradually disappears from my sight. While being all alone, I mutter on my own.
“That’s indeed true. A pastry chef’s power is not enough. I must learn a lot more.”
In my past life’s knowledge, I have the knowledge of pastry and food, but I haven’t learned anything about this world other than those two things. And then, as a noble, the presented opportunity for Arnold is too small. My ability cannot be limited to simply being a pastry chef. A simple pastry chef will only be the prey in the thriving and rampantly running evil in the nobles’ society. I’ve painfully experienced that by myself.
By the way, I have some insights from NUF about how to translate from now on. Since Kurt mainly used present tense, I’m probably not going to change that (as we’re already halfway in anyway), but other than comedic series that I have on my hands, I’m going to use past tense for narrations from now on~
Thank you so much for all of you who have supported me. I really, really cannot thank you enough. Q_Q
The drum container that the servants carried all of a sudden, inside that is precisely the main dish of this full course. And this time, Tina comes forward along with the drum. I need to borrow her power to make the final touch.
“Completing right in front of our eyes, is it? There should be a meaning to it.”
Duke Härtling looks at the drum container with deep interest.
It’s against my principle to do anything meaningless. I want to have them enjoy the dish to the utmost.
It’s obvious that the flavor is the most important element of a dish, but there are also other crucial components, such as the presentation, the aroma, and then, the staging.
Any of those will result in elevating the enjoyment of the original taste of the dish. And of course, the opposite also applies. That’s why, for the meat as the main dish of the full course, I want to let all those elements shine to the utmost.
I take out the roasted ducks from the drum container, pierced with an iron skewer. The browning of each roasted duck arouses appetite. I used the drum container to let the heat spread evenly.
“So the main dish is just a whole roasted animal? Such a kill joy.”
The good looking Duke Eichhorn of the south from the noble faction jeers; it’s odd enough that he never misses a chance to disparage my dishes.
“Eichhorn, be quiet for us. Think about all the dishes that had been served before, you should be able to understand that it’s impossible that this chef is going to present us a simple whole roasted fowl, isn’t it?”
The elderly Duke Ortlöpp of the north rebuked Duke Eichhorn. He’s right. This isn’t just a whole roasted duck. I’ve plucked out the innards and stuffed the stomach to a bulge before sewing it closed.
I put up the iron skewered duck on top of a deep dish. And then, I cut off the seam with a carving knife.
When I do so….. vibrant jade color liquid flows out of the duck into the deep dish. It emits intense amount of steam.
“Oou, what a fragrant aroma.”
“What an aromatic juiciness. Moreover, it’s a very calming aroma.”
The second aroma explosion. The aroma of meat juice from the duck and gentle, sweet fragrance that embodies the forest mingle together and waft in the air. I’ve prepared this final touch in order to let the guests experience this aroma.
I cut the duck meat into slices and put them onto the plates, and pour the jade-colored liquid seeping out of the duck’s belly, borrowing Tina’s power to boil it to down.
I add some wine and seasonings, reduce it to make a sauce, then pour plenty of it on the duck. Now, it’s finally completed.
“This is the main dish of today. It’s called Jade Roasted Duck. Please, enjoy to your hearts’ content.”
As soon as the dish is served on the table, there are only impatient hands all over them. It’s only natural. The previously presented dishes have increased their appetites, and this aroma made them submit to it. They must be at their limits already.
“This. What a rich flavor. The dry duck meat entwines with the sauce. What is the true form of this jade sauce?”
“It’s too delicious. It’s both gentle and flavorful, I never tasted anything like this before.”
“Hm, the meat dish is also of the finest quality. Lately, I didn’t have much appetite, which was probably due to my age….. When was the last time I finished everything on my plate like this? If it’s a full course like this, I wish I can eat it everyday, hm.”
“Yes, I’m very satisfied with this meal. …..But I wish I can eat a little more.”
The last dish to be served, Jade Roasted Duck. The cooking technique was simple. Basically, it was just attentively heating the ducks in the drum container. However, I prepared a special condiment. The ingredient was natively grown in my hometown, the mountain of Arnold, pistachios.
I crushed the pistachios along with walnuts, combined them with cheese, and let the condiments go through lactic acid fermentation.
Pistachio, which contains the first class special umami even among nuts, mixed well with cheese. Those flavors accumulated and turned even more compact, while the fermentation made the flavor milder and yet deeper.
I put plenty of the condiments into the duck’s belly after emptying out their innards , then roasted the ducks in the drum container.
When I did, the pistachio condiments inside the belly permeated into the meat, and likewise, the meat juice and duck fat also seeped into the sauce, making it a sauce with umami aplenty inside those bellies.
That condiment came out when I cut open the duck’s seam. Using that as the sauce enabled me to serve the best dish. In this full course, it’s the only dish with extra fattiness. That’s why it tastes all the more delicious.
And then, I’ve calculated that this dish is stopping short of bringing them to complete satisfaction. They are in the stage of being so close to fulfillment, and that is the best condition for their stomachs to eat the dessert.
“Phew, I feel sated. The dessert will round it all up, right? It was a great full course.”
“Bringing us to this state, I can’t find any fault at all…… Renalier is blessed with a great chef. It’s the first time I finished a full course meal while feeling this pleasant. Before, when finishing the main dish, my stomach had only suffered. I always thought that it was a given, but this, this has opened my eyes. This is truly what it means to enjoy a full course meal.”
The full course is completely over. There’s only a bonus left, the dessert. The room is filled with that kind of atmosphere.
That is a big misunderstanding, because the real show is only about to begin.
“Honored guests, with this, the true main dish will be prepared from here onwards.”
The Four Great Dukes show startled looks when they hear me….. then their expressions turn into great anticipation.
“I thought only the dessert remains after this.”
“Yes, the full course meal throughout the previous servings were all prepared to ensure honored guests’ condition to fully enjoy the dessert. The reason for that, is the dessert, which is my most prided dish, the best menu of this full course.”
I respond passionately.
That is my identity. The dishes before are no more than the tools to fully showcase my identity. I devised today’s dishes, which were essential to let the guests enjoy 100% of the decadent chocolate cake. The dishes before only had reserved amounts of fat content. I also conditioned their stomachs with the knowledge of medicinal cooking, which provided the vitamins that they severely lacked from the luxurious meals that they usually consume. Today’s full course dishes could be called edible medicines as well.
Looking at my figure brimming with confidence and passion, Duchess Renalier giggles to herself, then speaks.
“Let me say that the person responsible for today’s full course dishes, Kurt Arnold, the heir of the Baronetcy of Arnold, is actually not a chef. I made an impossible cooking request to him.”
Those words shock the other members of Four Great Dukes more than before, as they look at me even more closely.
“Duchess Renalier, saying that someone with the ability to present dishes to this extent isn’t a chef….. then pray tell, what is he? What is his real occupation?”
“His true occupation is a pastry chef. The dessert that will be served to us next will finally show his true worth.”
I can hear someone’s gulping sound. The preparations are all good. In that case, the only thing remaining is to show them my full power.
“Then, to bring us all towards the finish line, I will bring out the best dish. What I will present to you today, is the apex of chocolate cakes, Sachertorte. I improved the dish into what I shall call as the Imperial Torte.”
Since they never heard the word chocolate before, the anticipation of the unknown seeps into the Four Great Dukes’ eyes. The imperial word in the name holds the meaning of the imperial stage. In other words, it’s a pastry worthy of the emperor.
If there’s any falsehood in that title, I will be punished for treason, let alone making the worst impression. However, my cake definitely deserves that title. It holds the knowledge of my past life and the most wonderful ingredients that I’ve encountered until today. Using those two, it’s a cake that no one else can make besides me.
Now, let’s satisfy their curiosity to their hearts’ content, shall we?
The banquet began. As the man responsible for both the dishes and the menu descriptions for the Four Great Dukes, I stayed close to the great dukes’ table.
Just like its titular namesake, the Four Great Dukes consists of four people.
Duchess Renalier of the east. A beautiful late teenage girl who exudes keen senses. She’s also my current employer. Part of the imperial faction who wishes to avoid war.
Duke Härtling of the west. A young man in the middle of his 20s who appears gentle. I came to know the madness hidden behind that innocent appearance due to the dispute yesterday. Part of the noble faction who wishes for war.
Duke Eichhorn of the south. A good-looking man in his 40s who looks kind. I heard he was part of the noble faction.
Duke Ortlöpp of the north. A slender elderly man in his 50s with stern-looking face. Imperial faction.
The one that I have to be wary of is Duke Härtling of the west, obviously.
After Duchess Renalier finishes my introduction, I open my mouth to speak.
“The full course of the day was kindly entrusted to me. My name is Kurt Arnold. There are two dishes that I’ve served as the hors d’oeuvres, Tuna Steak Tartare and Seared Deer Liver.”
There are two hors d’oeuvres. The first one is tuna, the most delicious part of the flesh that I carved out diligently from the bones before being chopped into bite sized pieces. Then I mixed the tuna with gelatin formed on top of the tuna bones consommé soup, herbs, and all sorts of condiments to be refined into a firm Steak Tartare. Then I put vinegar into a basic vivid green sauce.
The other one is the venison from a freshly caught game this morning. After the skin was heated, I promptly cooled it down, then adding a specially made sauce, the Seared Deer Liver.
Neither of them used a single drop of oil. Hiding a burst of umami, they’re truly the most excellent hors d’oeuvres. As the appetizer of the full course, they don’t have anything to criticize.
“This is beautiful. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a tuna dish such as this one. Vibrantly red, with emerald sauce.”
Duke Härtling of the west slightly exaggerates his praising of my cooking.
“The appearance is pleasing, but how about the taste? …..Ah, no, no, I was surprised. It’s the first time I ever ate tuna this flavorful. Moreover, it doesn’t stray off the stage as a light hors d’oeuvres. I’m impressed…… There’s another one, Seared Deer Liver, is it? How about this one?”
Duke Härtling put the deer liver into his mouth with cheerful look.
“This, how on earth!? You, is it possible to ask for seconds? I lost myself for a moment there. The springiness is too great, the moment I bit into it, it burst so pleasantly. A wonderfully unparalleled milky sweet taste. Wonderful! The best hors d’oeuvres. The slight heat from the sauce is probably the deciding factor. To make me feel this moved simply from the appetizer, what a chef you are.”
He must have wished against the success of the banquet that Duchess Renalier hosts, but he didn’t stop praising my cooking.
“I deeply apologize. This Seared Deer Liver needs a special ingredient, therefore there is no more than can be offered aside from these current servings. There will be more dishes that I made with all my skills afterwards. I wish for your leniency.”
“That’s truly regretful. But, I’m having higher anticipations now for the next dishes. Fufufu, what kind of surprise will we get next, I wonder?”
Duke Härtling obediently pats the corner of his lips. The other ones of the Four Great Dukes didn’t particularly show anything different from his odd behavior.
However, looking intrigued by the rave review from him, they take their food in turns.
“Hohoh, I now understand why Duke Härtling gave this such a high praise.”
“That’s right. The truly new, best full course that Duchess Renalier noasted of isn’t necessarily more than just a statement, but it doesn’t seem like she was only being presumptuous. ……Perhaps the next ones will reveal the true nature* of this full course to us.”
The strict-looking elder duke of the north, as well as the good-looking middle-aged duke of the south, both praise my cooking. I used a weapon called deer liver, which was said to be the most delicious sashimi in the world. If they don’t show at least this much of a raving, I’ll be troubled.
Suddenly, the general nobles who had heard the high praises from the Four Great Dukes about the venison dish visibly asked the servants to prepare the same dish for them.
I contemplate on this cruel thing, of being unable to prepare enough of an amount to serve the dish for anyone other than the Four Great Dukes. I burdened the servants with the fallout with the other nobles. However, I can’t just stay still and contemplate.
After the dishes are served in this banquet, I give some slight commentary on the dishes, and before the Four Great Dukes finish eating, I return to the kitchen hall to give the finishing touches. It’s truly a busy task, yet necessary.
Now, it’s time for the next dish.
The next presented dish, the Scallop Salad also gained favorable impression. It’s a plate of steamed scallops with dressing.
In the dressing, I used the grape-like paple fruit. It’s the finest quality fruit that the elves raised. The dressing that pulls out the best of the fruit is able to both draw the light flavor of the scallop and hold exceptional affinity with the fresh vegetables.
After that, the presented dish is the soup. The soup consisted of only vegetables boiled for a long time, I take out the clear liquid as the foundation before adding shikabushi, smoked venison flakes, just for a short moment to create this specialty soup.
The sweet flavor of the vegetables and the umami of the vension are both present aplenty. And then, with the benefit of vegetables and all sorts of herbs, it will wash down anything in the mouth, condition the stomach, and increase the appetite.
“Transparent and beautiful looking soup. Yes, it’s delicious. A comforting taste. It feels like it’s permeating inside the body.”
Just like before, Duke Härtling of the west is all praises for me.
“Hmph, this doesn’t pass the bar. The hors d’oeuvres and salad were wonderful, but the soup that we came up with in the last banquet in Eichhorn, the potage soup made from local specialty pork, was clearly better. The richness of that potage with plenty of butter and the sweetness of pork fat, I’m salivating from just remembering it.”
The good-looking middle-aged Duke Eichhorn of the south drinks the soup in one gulp and talks bad about it.
“And why is that?”
The elderly Duke Ortlöpp of the north, slurps the soup noisily, making it look really delicious.
“Is there a counterargument somewhere in your speech, Duke Ortlöpp?”
“For me, as a soup dish of a full course meal, this is overwhelmingly better. Your specialty pork potage soup is delicious, naturally. But that was too heavy. The oil cloyed in the stomach, while turning the tongue numb, hm. I could not taste well the fish and meat dishes afterwards. First, it was good enough to be a standalone dish.”
“But, the flavor-”
“It’s related. Right now, I can’t do anything else except anticipating the fish dish next. The soup, hm. Its role is to be a foil to the very end. ……Moreover, hm. I can’t think of the taste as inferior. The tender sweetness of the vegetables, and the packed umami of meat getting drawn out to this extent without any stench. Instead of cloying the stomach, the more I eat, the more I feel my belly cleansed. It’s a magical soup. This kind of soup, I never tasted it before, hm. Without realizing it, I ended up drinking it all.”
“I’m of the same opinion. Duchess Renalier, this is truly amazing, isn’t it? Even the soup is the best. I tip my hat off already. As expected of the east, renowned for the forefront of cultural development. Today has been a series of surprises.”
Duchess Renalier’s expression crumbles for a second. It seems that there’s something else that came to her mind.
“It is my honor to receive your praise. However, up until now, it’s only the opening performance. After this, the main dishes of fish and meat, and moreover, the dessert, are being prepared as we speak. If you are surprised by this, I cannot guarantee what will happen to your body later, don’t you think?”
“I’m looking forward to it. It’s this soup’s fault, my stomach feels too empty. Now, let us taste the next dish, please.”
As he said, the soup is already finished, even for Duke Eichhorn, who complained about it.
The conversation dragged on, robbing me of the opportunity to go back and do the final touch. If I go back to the kitchen hall right now, the guests will have to wait, won’t they?
However, there’s no problem. I’ve predicted this outcome. The next item n the menu, Eel Soup in Puff Pastry, has already been baked and carried over here.
I left those cooking steps to Tina. She’s truly reliable in anything that requires fire while cooking. I have no doubt that she will have the perfect final touch.
“Understood. It will be served soon.”
I snap my fingers. When I did, the servants serve the dish all at once. This dish is presented in a large tea cup. And then, that tea cup is covered by a puff pie dough and baked.
“Eel Soup in Puff Pastry is served.”
“This is another mysterious dish. It’s the first time I’ve seen a fish dish served in a tea cup. Seems like it means something.”
“It terribly reeks of poverty from the looks of it, isn’t it so? I’m disappointed after all that anticipation.”
The dukes of the west and south express their own clashing impressions. Indeed, at this point, the appearance is too plain and there’s no aroma from the dish. However, this is the bomb of my arsenal. It means that it holds an explosion.
“This dish is a dish that will be completed by the guests’ own hands. Please break apart the puff pastry lid, and let them fall into the cup. If possible, simultaneously for everyone.”
When I said that, the Four Great Dukes hold their spoons and break apart the pastry lid. In that moment.
“Oou, what a wonderful aroma!”
“It really arouses my appetite.”
“Oou, it tightly grips my stomach.”
“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a red soup.”
The aroma hidden under the puff pastry lid burst out all at once. Yes, this puff pastry has fulfilled its role to lock in the aroma inside.
Inside the puff pastry, a curry soup with fleshy eel fish and all sorts of condiments boiled together.
A spicy aroma really draws out one’s appetite. This dish doesn’t contain anything else other than eel and condiments. That’s precisely why it tastes straightforward without any muddles.
“This tender and fatty eel is just too good. When it’s together with spicy soup, it’s the best.”
“Hafu, hafu, this spiciness tastes so pleasing. I feel like I can keep eating no matter how much. Oh, I never thought I would sweat this good.”
“The crispy puff pastry is exceptionally compatible too.”
The four of them eat the stewed eel as if they’re in a trance. Eel contains a lot of fat, so it will taste greasy when being eaten normally. However, with this specialty curry soup, they won’t taste that greasiness. The spiciness seizes the tongue from being numb to the flavor to the utmost limit.
Moreover, the spices aren’t there just for the taste, they also enhance a person’s appetite. Truly a strange flavor. Emotionally moving and chemically reacting. Experiencing both at the same time, there’s no way anyone can stay calm.
Originally, this will disqualify the dish from being French, but I can get away with it in this world.
“Ahahaha, honestly! I decided to hold back from being surprised anymore, but this really caught me off guard. It’s not just delicious. It’s the first time I’ve enjoyed eating this much.”
Duke Härtling of the west raises his voice while laughing.
“The next one is still the main dish. I will add the final touch in front of all the honorable guests, please, enjoy it.”
The servants transport a drum container in. Hidden inside the container is the main dish of the day.
Now, let’s scare them out of their wits.
“I shall request the honorable guests to watch carefully now.”
It’s been going well so far. The dishes remaining are just the meat dish, and the dessert. If I fail here, all the things that I’ve built up until now will fall into ruin. With that to propel me forward vigorously, no, with more vigor than anything before, let’s show that I can smash forward until the end.
While thinking that, I took out the thing residing inside the drum container.
Ahem. So Kurt’s appetizer is actually Seared Deer Liver instead of Pate. Sorry for the mishaps, everyone! Actually I found the Tataki (Seared) recipe immediately after looking at Google with Japanese keyword, and it looks like this:
It doesn’t look like something that Kurt can serve to the Dukes, but it looks exactly like how Kurt explained it in the previous chapter so I just have to include it here. xD (and edit the prev chapter later on lol)
Also, Kurt’s explanations aren’t really spoken out loud, I think. But maybe it is. IDK, Japanese authors put weird things “off screen” so maybe Kurt did explain out loud but we didn’t get to see it happening on screen despite it being narrated in his inner monologue. ORZ
That part where a duke said “the full course’s true nature”, the idiom said 馬脚を露わす. The interesting part is that 馬脚 means horse’s leg. xD I can’t help but to think of a slight sneer in that part, as if he was saying, “A deer liver? Why not a horse’s leg next!” lol. I’m most probably taking it too far though.
Duke Ortlopp talks a bit strangely. He keeps adding “-nou” in the end. On its own, it can be translated as “useful” (as in the opposite of useless), but for some reason, I think that’s just his speech pattern, so I just added the “hm” in the odd part of the sentence. XD
I don’t know why the spiciness will make the eel curry soup fail the French??? Anyone???
By the way, the soup in puff pastry is called Zuppa Soup around here. I think it’s not called the same anywhere else though, maybe localized term? Because in the other part of the world I find it called Fish Pot Pie (but the term can mean a lot of different appearances, so I pick this one). By the way, here where I am, the content is more often creamy mushroom chicken soup though. I love the crisp pastry as well as the part that just sticks to the cup/bowl and still has that chewy texture. Yum yum.
Also, I think Duke Härtling wants Kurt for his own lol.