Monday, March 5, 2012

Rant: Forget Dessert, Give Me Cheese

More often than not, I find restaurant dessert menus to be unappealing, often filled with very similar items, possessing little, if anything, that stands out to me. I am tired of the endless stream of creme brulees and flourless chocolate cakes that are presented. Where is the originality?  There are certainly exceptions, such as the Pineapple Bread Pudding from Red Lantern, but they seem to be more the rarity. Rather than boring desserts, give me Cheese!

Aged Gouda, a creamy Goat Cheese, a pungent Cabrales blue cheese, and so much more. Just roll out a cheese cart and let me choose a few cheeses from all the diversity that is offered. Each type of cheese presents its own flavor profile, providing the variety you desire. Sure, cheese is more of a savory dish but for a touch of sweetness, you can add some candied nuts, fruit preserves, a little honey or even some agave nectar.

Sweet desserts can be rich and heavy, and you might not want to end your meal in that manner. There is a line between being satisfied and feeling bloated, and dessert can be the tipping point that pushes one into the latter category. Cheese though seems to be a lighter choice, helping to keep you more on the side of satisfied. Think back to those times when you were the most full after a meal, and I bet that a sweet dessert put you over the top. You might have even regretted having the dessert afterwards. But far fewer people feel that way if they end with a cheese plate.

I don't want mediocre desserts. It is certainly easy for a chef to throw together a creme brulee, and making it taste like green tea or some other nontraditional flavor doesn't really elevate it to any height. Instead, they need to up their game, to utilize their creativity to truly produce innovative desserts. Otherwise, they better make sure to have a fine selection of cheeses, to make up for the mediocrity of their sweets.

So what about you, sweet dessert or cheese? The same old desserts, like creme brulee and flourless chocolate cake, or a variety of cheeses?

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I'd usually rather have boring cheese than a boring dessert. But an interesting, well-thought-out cheese plate, with some array of homemade bread (or other cheese vehicle) and condiments wins just about every time. It's so simple! The Straight Wharf in Nantucket is one of my favorites.