The Dessert Files: SWEET at the New York Wine and Food Festival


[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

The 2009 SWEET fest at the New York Wine and Food Festival was full of surprises. The things we expected to be best were not, and accordingly, other unanticipated sweets blew us away. Peanut butter with jelly, chocolate, or pomegranate seemed to be recurring themes of the night. Gotham Bar & Grill presented chocolate peanut butter mousse with raspberry lambic foam; Telepan did a milk chocolate and peanut butter mousse cake; Johnny Iuzzini created pomegranate and black sesame pops. Richard Leach of Park Avenue Autumn broke the mold with goat cheese mousse, caramelized pears, and pomegranate foam while Spigolo presented a trio of cannolis: goat's milk mascarpone, pumpkin, and traditional.

After the jump, our top five picks from the night, and an honorable mention.

Dominique Ansel of Daniel always impresses, and this time he did so with chilled honey crisp apple confit atop a smoked vanilla sable with ginger emulsion (pictured at top). Thinly sliced apple chip to finished. An absolute stunner. If I could only have one dessert from the night, this would be it.


Del Posto's chocolate and olive oil bastoncino, by Brooks Headley, were seriously out of this world—rounds of olive oil gelato dipped in a thin, crackly dark chocolate shell and covered in olive oil toasted bread crumbs. Simple, unique and utterly addictive.


We loved Baked's chocolate whoopie pies stuffed with Kahlua cream—One Girl Cookies does fantastic whoopie pies, but these easily blow them out of the water. Plush with a wealth of cocoa, and most importantly, not too sweet.


Karen DeMasco of Locanda Verde was assembling mini brioche ice cream sandwiches on the spot. The single bite brioches were served toasty warm, with ice cream—your choice of pumpkin or rice custard, scooped to order. I tell you, this lady can do no wrong.


The winner of the contest, Jessica Mogardo, took us by surprise with nibbles of "Candied Apple"—apples infused with rosemary, wrapped in an apple fruit roll and showered with curry dusted maple sugar. Sounds a bit excessive, but comes together beautifully.


Honorable mention goes out to More, a cupcake bakery in Chicago. On the menu? Vanilla cupcakes with bacon whipped cream and shaved white truffles. Indulgent to say the least.