To Chef With Love – Tea and Dessert

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Strawberry Shortcake with Vanilla Ice Cream

Warning: This post is rated “D”. Viewers are asked to use discretion as I plan to discuss in full and graphic detail desserts that contain sugar, cream, butter and chocolate. All calorie-counting obsessives and fad dieters are strongly encouraged to stop reading beyond this point. The author accepts no responsibility for any subsequent urge to consume desserts immediately after viewing these images. Again, viewer discretion is advised.

Raising Cane – A Case for Sugar

Taking My Lumps in Style

Sugar is a powerful two-edged sword that must be wielded carefully. Chemically speaking, our bodies convert sugars like glucose and lactose to fuel daily operations. Our DNA contains the sugar deoxyribose (pronounced dee-ok-si-rahy-bohs), so it would seem that our human frames are wired to receive sugar. Like any other finely tuned equipment, however, our bodies are affected by whatever we choose to add to our individual systems. Avoid adding any substance that keeps your system from functioning well.

Although I take my tea without sugar, I have relatives who routinely take a little tea with their sugar. Every family has its lumps, doesn’t it? Being the tea aficionado I am, I encourage them to take the first sip without sugar to get the tea’s true flavor profile. Oolong tea being the exception, I’ll provide sugar and control the lumps. I’d rather see them consume pure cane sugar than substances carried about in innocuous-looking pastel-covered packets. Quality trumps quantity.

“D” Is For Dessert

Chocolate Lava Cake

Desserts are serious commitments. Dessert makes or breaks the meal. It is the finishing touch, the pièce de résistance, which elevates a very good turkey club sandwich to one of the most memorable meals ever consumed. When offered a menu, I routinely first check the dessert selections and then consider the preceding courses. When it comes to dessert, a strategy is essential.

This Chocolate Lava Cake dessert lovingly prepared by Clint Lafabvre, executive chef at the historic Lakeland Terrace Hotel, was an utterly delightful surprise. Chef Lafabvre clearly speaks my culinary language fluently. It’s joy to meet a man who instinctively understands subtlety and nuance are far more effective tools in wooing tastebuds than overpowering them. Lifting my spoon in anticipation, I mentally made these sensory notes:

  • Presentation – simple yet elegant
  • Sense of mystery – a warm, chocolate pudding center hidden beneath a generous pouf of cream
  • Color – one perfect strawberry, a cluster of blueberries, and drizzles of chocolate sauce
  • Texture –  moist, firm, flourless chocolate cake provides a rich foundation
  • Taste – Chocolate, sugar, cream and fresh berries each fully represented and balanced each other

After savoring the very last morsel, I wondered if it was possible to become engaged via dessert. This dessert was that serious. This conundrum requires some tea contemplation. Let’s drink tea!

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