I remember asking students in that first Introductory class about durian and whether they liked it or not. The group was split right down the middle, with half crooning at the mere mention of the word and the other half utterly repulsed. There was no middle ground. Those who loved it professed to be addicted to it. One young woman said she considered durian to be an aphrodisiac or at the very least a delicacy. She went on to say that the combination of sweet melon-like fruit with jalapeno-peppery spiciness was to die for. However, someone else in the class said it should be outlawed completely. Several in the group also said that eating too much durian in a short duration of time could cause dangerously high blood pressure. I’m thinking that the olfactory bulb in your brain would probably explode long before that.
I took two of the cookies and handed one to a very reluctant Brian. As I popped the cookie into my mouth I experienced something that’s happened every time I’ve tried durian since—the slowing down or stoppage of time. Let me explain; whenever I’ve tried durian I’m reminded of the times when I was a kid riding my bike on a hot summer day and I wiped out on a neighborhood street that's just been repaved. Just as I’m about to hit the pavement, time slows down and almost stops so I can smell the tar of the pavement, sense the heat coming off it, and then feel myself hitting it and bouncing a few times all in Sam Peckinpah slow motion. Eating durian is similar probably because the olfactory experience is so overwhelming that it short circuits the part of the brain that tracks time.
After eating my cookie I looked at Brian. His expression was somewhere between mortified and stunned. He looked at me and said with quiet desperation, “coffee! Now!” We raced up four endless escalators to a coffee shop and waited five very long minutes to be seated while the taste of green radioactivity bubbled away on our palates. Finally, we were seated and ordered black coffees. Brian didn’t speak for a long time. Finally, as he finished the second cup that was so strong it could revive a corpse he turned to me and said, “You, sir, have betrayed my trust.” I don’t think he’s ever forgiven me for it.
What wine pairs well with durian? None is strong enough. Only something in the spirits world could possibly match the intensity and I’m not curious enough at this point to do any constructive research. As for your own durian adventures, you have been warned.