A friend tells the story of how, when her son was in elementary school, he was assigned an essay to tell about his family. He wrote several nice things about his mother, ending with, “. . . and she takes bites off my plate.”
We all do it. Our dinner companions order something that looks delicious and our fork waivers ever so slightly in their direction, as if to say, “May I?” We even deliberately share, knowing that we may want a smaller portion or the taste of more than one thing. Still, when we did the Food Channel dessert trends this year, all the evidence pointed to the end of shareables. People were expressing a desire for their own meals, where no one takes “bites off my plate.” And, we believed it.
Until we saw the Smith & Wollensky signature layer cakes made by pastry chef Alexandra Barletta. There is a Coconut Layer Cake filled with coconut whipped cream and Malibu rum syrup served with a crisp tuile and freshly shaved coconut, served over a sauce of passionfruit caramel. And, there is a Gigantic Chocolate Cake brushed with Baileys Irish Cream, and layered with chocolate mousse, and all of it covered with chocolate ganache and served with a chocolate shortbread cookie in the shape of a cow. (It is, after all, a steak house.)
These cakes are, by anyone’s estimation, huge. Make that HUGE. The kind of huge that cries out for not just two forks, but three or four. These are desserts that are part conversation stopper, part ooh and ah dropper, and an amazing dinner topper. They indicate that sharing still has its place, and that an over-the-top indulgence is still something that raises our eyebrows and brings us back for more.
Just thought I’d share.