Sunday, December 6, 2015

of snails and nougat

Beneath a string of greened cannons and coloured by a sky with a blue so sharp it hurt the eyes, the Atlantic rolled and crashed against the pitted rock that is the western coast of North Africa. Gulls and gannets, reduced to flashes of white behind its waves, disappeared and reappeared with each turn. It was these waters that gave the Romans their coveted purple, the colour of elitism, the origin of which lies inside the shell of a humble mollusk, the Bolinus brandaris.

Somewhere amid the scent of salt and brine were notes of nut and honey— easily traced to a craggy-faced man in red loafers with a lopsided grin, who was selling bricks of nougat. Without waiting for a response to his offer of a sample, he thrust a nugget into my palm while muttering something about argan, and sauntered off. I had no desire for it, but I popped the sticky crumbs into my mouth anyway.

Oh he knew. He knew I would be hooked.


dinahmow said...

It was, once, the purple of Tyre...then they spread east...and it became...the purple of Essouira.

szaza said...

Tyrian purple!