Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A five course dessert tasting....my favorite kind:)

 Breakfast for dinner is always fun...but what about dessert for dinner? And then more dessert for dessert? 
Some may think it is too much, but with Chef Nicole Coady's expertise, Finale's Festive Holiday Dessert Sampling, it is manageable and enjoyable, taste after taste.
Finale holds a few of these samplers every year and this is the first one I have made it to. Starting at 6:30 pm, it runs about and 90 minutes.  My fellow sweet tooth buddy, @patrickyocum, arrived straight from the studios a little early...and impatient to begin eating...It did not take us long to order up their cheese platter...
 As well as their Seasonal Cornucopia as well...although it made sense to get some savory to start, I can't quite justify the additional dessert sampler..but I am sooo glad we did because where the cheese platter was slightly underwhelming, (only the robust Roquefort really held my attention), this dessert sampler really got us on the right track.
The item to the far right is the Raspberry and blackberry cobbler, loaded with delicious berries and a chewy, absorbent crumble and covered in a vanilla gelato. This dish was sublime. In the middle, the Caramel Nut Bar is a decadent take on a layer bar with assorted nuts, caramel and dark chocolate. To the left we have the apricot, cherry bread pudding which for me could have been slightly more moist. 
The event had not event started and I am already impressed...and craving more:)

 Each table was set up with five little glasses atop their paired dessert item. 

The desserts came presented with Finale's usual flare - little details adorn every piece making even the miniature tastes, works of art.
On the menu for this time of year were:
Apple Cranberry Crumble- this crumble fared as well as the first, it would of course have been even better with a scoop of that vanilla gelato:)
Pineapple Upside Down Cake - a deliciously moist sponge cake with a thin slice of pineapple and a bit of spiced gingerbread. Surprisingly, I loved this simple bite very much, as they say, subtlety is key!
Pumpkin Cheesecake - a crowd pleaser for sure, this cheesecake is characteristic of Finale's original: somehow light and creamy at the same time. The pumpkin taste stands out as not too sweet and is contrasted with just the right amount of spice. It comes adorned with a bit of dark chocolate, giving it added complexity.
Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie - A sweet rendition of a Derby Pie, Chef Nicole likes to have the pecans, chocolate and caramel/molasses meld together throughout the pie. The crust is a bit salty - a necessity to cut through some of the sweetness.
Peanut Butter Pie - This was my favorite. It is a very challenging dessert that comes out just right. A Peanut Butter mousse is lighter than expected, but enrobed with a rich and decadent, dark chocolate ganache. There is a middle layer of the stuff, as well as intermittent peanuts for a needed crunch to break up the texture.
Just these desserts alone would have been enough, but the real treat was in the pairings Chef Nicole came up with herself through trials and tribulations (lucky duck!).
A good wine pairing brings out certain flavors while sometimes creating new ones - it is an incredible evolution of taste. Chef was there every step of the way to explain her choices and what we might look out for. She was an enthusiastic and refreshing guide, passionate and attentive - after each little introduction, she came by the different tables and discussed reactions, opinions and questions.
As someone who has been to a fair number of like events, the Dessert Tasting at Finale is orchestrated at just the right pace, with just the right amount of wine and food.
At 20 dollars a person, you embark on a beautiful journey through some of Boston's finest desserts, presented with style and class, all under the expert care of Finale's head honcho.
I am already looking forward to next season's tasting...and so should you!