Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Craft Beer and Dessert Tasting

About once a month, Chef Nicole Coady, Head Pastry chef at Finale (aka, dessert guru), comes up with a theme for a dessert and alcohol tasting.  Although  many people do not equate alcohol such as wine and beer as being excellent pairings with desserts, one of these classes will quickly open your eyes to the wonderful possibilities just waiting to be explored!
I have been lucky enough to attend a few of Chef Nicole's dessert and wine samplings and have learnt a thing or two about what makes a good dessert and how wine can make it even better.  This past Tuesday, I attended an especially interesting evening featuring Craft Beer.
These tastings are always set up in a similar fashion, tables according to people's reservations are set up and adorned with five, sample-sized glasses all paired with a sample-sized dessert. A month in advance, Chef Nicole sits down with her team and creates an inspired, five-course sampling menu. This time around, Nicole was joined by Brian, one of Boston's Craft Beer representatives, in creating a menu that would highlight the desserts and the beers.

Chef Nicole welcomes everyone and heads straight into the first pairing.  As you can see from the visual above, each dessert, though bite-sized, is a beautiful replica of their full size desserts - there is no skimping out here! Even the garnishes represent the traditional, artistic desserts that come out of Finale's kitchens.

Of the beers, my favorite was the first - an Oringinal Sin Cider..ok, so maybe that's cheating because it is in fact a hard cider...but I just love it! This one was light and crisp and paired so well and elegantly with Nicole's frangipane tart.
I was not a huge fan of the Duvel (means Devil in Dutch!) Golden Ale by iteslf, but once you had it followed with a bite of the fruit tart pictured above, it was really quite enjoyable. That is the magic of a good pairing, the tastes complement eachother and you end up enjoying both even more:)

My absolute favorite dessert was the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake..I mean look at that frosting! Some people do not love frosting - but when it is peanut butter...I am all for the extra dollop:)
This was paired with the darkest beer, an Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock;) What a name!
I actually surprised myself and really liked it - again, the excellent choice of pairing is probably largely responsible.
At these events, you leave with a slight sugar high, but nothing uncomfortable as the sizes and quality of ingredients are spot on.  Nicole's knowledge is inspiring and yet she manages to share it in an unassuming manner that makes everyone feel included.
I am already excited to see what she whips up at her next tasting in June - the Sorbet and Gelato pairing:)
Information will be up shortly on their website, or better yet - always be in the know by joining their mailing list!

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