Dessert has always been an after-thought, the first course to be cut, seemingly unnecessary, especially after a few drinks and appetizers. Even I would skip the course, usually glancing over the menu and realizing everything is far too sweet for my taste buds.
However, this doesn't have to be the case. I enjoy pastry chefs who are able to write a dessert menu that reads as an extension of a savory menu. There are a variety of possibilities with desserts and there is really no reason to cripple your imagination with any limitation. Vegetables, herbs, spices, oils, and never forget salt! Yes, chocolate is always necessary, but it doesn't have to be accompanied by an unbearable sweetness.
This past week I had the opportunity to test out desserts at Del Posto, in Manhattan. What a delight! The desserts were refreshing and quite savory. The hint of sweetness left my taste buds satisfied but not overly doused in sugar. It took some time to pick two desserts to try, and I most certainly need to return to sample the rest because they all sound incredible.
Dessert number one: Torta Carotina, Cured Lemon and Parsley Gelato
This dessert was composed of various flavors and textures which were such a surprise and delight. Who would think parsley gelato would be so good? I kept telling my date I wanted to eat this gelato every day for the rest of my life. So refreshing and sweet. The carrot cake had a wonderfully light, fluffy, yet almost chewy texture. It wasn't dense like your run of the mill carrot cake. This picture really does not do the dessert justice, and you can just barely see the cured lemon pieces on the plate which were such a great texture against the soft cake and creamy gelato.
Dessert number two: Tartufo al Caffe, Dark Chocolate, Sant'Eustachio Coffee, and Candied Bread
Candied bread, seriously? Would you ever think of this. The chocolate dessert was a coffee mousse encompassed in a dark chocolate shell with tempered dark chocolate along the plate, a chocolate and olive oil sauce, and my favorite: candied bread. This dessert was actually the most savory of the two and the chocolate was just enough to keep my stomach satisfied. This dessert almost felt like a breakfast with it's toast and coffee. And who doesn't love chocolate with their breakfast?
Finally, with the check, we were presented with a candy box. This is always my favorite experience, who wouldn't love sampling various candies from the kitchen? The box included olive oil ice cream popsicles, lemon tarts, lemon filled-zeppole's, free-form chocolate truffles, champagne candies, and dehydrated grapefruit!
Explore for yourself, you'll be surprised how much you enjoy savory-centered desserts. If you use your imagination and creativity, your desserts can turn into a third savory course! Plus, it's a great way to eat all your veggies!