All sorts of dessert artistry on display at SWEET.
Each year, Johnny Iuzzini of Jean Georges does a variation of his signature pop. 2009 brought about a Pomegranate and Black Sesame Pop and the year before featured Chocolate Peanut Butter & Grape Pop. And on every occasion, they are to die for. This year was no different, with a Crispy Chocolate-Cranberry Pop, complete with cranberry pate des fruits at the very center. You've got to get a bit of everything at once to appreciate all the flavors. One big bite to reveal layers of the creamy chocolate-caramel mousse, dried cranberries and cranberry powder, along with a salted walnut nougatine.
Last year Brooks Headley of Del Posto brought Olive Oil Bastoncinos, olive oil gelato dipped in dark chocolate and covered in olive oil-toasted bread crumbs, served lollipop-style. They were so remarkable, I stalked out the table and eventually ate five of them throughout the night. I thought it couldn't get any better this year, but then it did—with an Eggplant Crostada. Eggplant? Yes! Super-thin layers of eggplant on a sweet crostata shell, baked and topped with a buttery ricotta stracciatella gelato. Dark chocolate to finish. Sweet and savory dessert combos are nothing new, but the way Brooks Headley handles such pairings is certainly unique in the most delicious manner.
At Otto, the queen of gelato herself, Meredith Kurtzman, was at the event, sweet as can be, assembling rounds of her own sublimely potent espresso gelato in miniature brioche buns, and finishing each off with pipes of caramel crema. There was no Locanda Verde with pumpkin and ricotta ice cream brioche sandwiches this year, but with Otto present, there was little to pine for. This was our first time spotting Otto at SWEET—fingers crossed they'll be back every year!
And finally, from Daniel—thin sheets of dark chocolate harboring layers of Ghana Chocolate Mousse, nutty crunches of hazelnut-puffed rice, and the most delicious gianduja sable I've ever encountered. A simple (relatively speaking!), classy finish by Dominique Ansel.
Individual Buttermilk Panna Cottas, pure white, and silky smooth with just the right touch of tang. There was fleur de sel-kissed orange crumbles to top a spoonful of cranberry balsamic compote, heady and tart, made from three types of balsamic vinegar.