Before we dined, Brian came out to give an overview of everything we would be eating, what components were on each plate, and how they were made. The desserts ranged from citrus to savory to cheese to chocolate and nuts, and each one was artfully arranged and crafted with care. It was quickly evident that a lot of thought had been given to each component.
I was blown away by the very first course, which featured rounds of grapefruit curd topped with mache (a mild salad green) and mint, thin and crisp lemon chamomile biscotti, and segments of blood orange. It wasn't a rich, decadent course by any means (my usual choice) but more of a palate awakener. It offered light, bright, fresh flavors. The mint really popped among the citrus flavors.
|Citrus: Grapefruit curd, citrus, mache and mint, lemon chamomile biscotti|
Paired with Giesen, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand 2011
The next course was the only one I wasn't looking forward to, based on its description. When I read chickpea olive oil financier, I was thinking whole chickpeas were somehow being incorporated, but Brian explained that he uses chickpea flour in the financier, a moist, spongy cake so named because it was traditionally baked in the shape of a bar of gold. Here the financier was crumbled on the plate and accompanied by a light walnut mousse, some tangy pickled lemons and their juice, and a sweet raisin sauce. I shouldn't have feared this dish because it was wonderful. I loved the flavor and texture of the financier and was pleasantly surprised by the raisin sauce, which I wanted more of immediately after tasting it.
|Savory: Chickpea olive oil financier, walnut mousse, pickled lemon, raisin sauce|
Paired with Hahn Winery, Pinot Noir, Monterey, CA 2010
The third course was the vegetable course, which sounds odd when thinking of dessert, but the sweet potato panna cotta certainly fit the bill. This was the heaviest, most filling of the courses, but I still ate every bit of it. The panna cotta, reminiscent of pumpkin pie filling but not as spiced, was paired with almond milk sherbet, brown butter powder, and maple gastrique -- all provided welcome, complementary flavors.
|Vegetable: Sweet potato panna cotta, almond milk sherbet, brown butter powder, maple gastrique|
Paired with Chateau Bel Air, Semillon, Sainte-Croix-Du-Mont, Bordeaux, FR 2010
The fourth course served as a palate cleanser with more interest than the run-of-the-mill sorbet. It was a ginger and Golden Delicious sorbet and was heavy on the ginger, which gave it a spicy, warm bite.
|Sorbet: Ginger and Golden Delicious sorbet|
Things took a tiny turn at the cheese course, breaking up the line of desserts with something a little more typically savory but still just as rich. A crostini arrived topped with Mozzarella House burrata and a hefty drizzle of fig and balsamic jam. (Mozzarella House is a local cheese producer based in Everett and will be featured in an upcoming all cheese Harvest Review.) The cheese was creamy and textured with shreds of mozzarella, and the fig and balsamic jam added a sweet note.
|Cheese: Mozzarella House burrata, fig and balsamic jam, crostini|
Paired with Valdana, Malvira, Aleatico Passito Dell'Elba, Tuscany, Italy
The last course would be what I'd order immediately if a dessert menu had been placed in front of me. It was a Taza chocolate hazelnut pate with malted popcorn, Ovaltine ice cream, and house-made Nutella. Brian described the Nutella as the adult version since it's not as sweet. The pate was super rich but also not overly sweet and paired well with the malted notes of the ice cream and popcorn. The dish was also adorned with some of Brian's homemade sea salt. The salt combined and contrasted nicely with the chocolate and really perked up the dish.
|Chocolate and nuts: Taza hazelnut pate, malted popcorn, Ovaltine ice cream, "Nutella"|
Paired with Fonseca, Bin 27, Ruby Port
Each course (besides the sorbet) was paired with a wine, many of them on the sweeter side to stand up to the desserts. I especially enjoyed the ruby port. The courses were inventive, fun, and above all delicious. I loved that Brian incorporated local products where he could and even used his own homemade sea salt for the last course.
The Harvest Review is a monthly tasting series. While not all of the Harvest Reviews will feature desserts, if they're all as good as this one, you don't want to miss them. The six courses plus wine pairings costs $44 per person, not including tax and gratuity.
This "dinner" was complimentary, but as always, my opinions are my own.
Would you eat six courses of dessert?