by Christine Liu - 156 Reviews - 111 List
"Waiter, there's an olive in my dessert!" And it's no mistake: The fruity, fleshy Mediterranean ingredient has been popping up in sweet treats all over town. Whether in the form of olive pieces or olive oil, the humble ingredient offers its nutty nuances to local desserts. For olive-loving trendsetters, is creamy chocolate the new tapenade?
(Photo: Sportello's olive oil tart by Christine Liu)
Updated: October 21, 2009
OLIVE OIL CHOCOLATE CARAMEL TART: With one impetuous nibble you'll be hooked on this low-slung pastry. Sportello's take-away bakery includes this unassuming sweet in its fantasyland dessert arsenal, a petite tart whose filling's surface has a sheen streaked with delicate fault lines. The texture is somewhere between gooey and crumbly, and the salty chocolate-caramel flavors take a turn for the unexpected with notes of olive. A very curious, totally addictive experience.
OLIVE OIL AND TAZA CHOCOLATE MOUSSE: Describing this dessert as "chocolate silk" wouldn't do it justice. Whatever sumptuous textural metaphor you want to use, this generous serving of chocolate mousse seduces with a je-ne-sais-quoi smoothness and the local-pride incorporation of Somerville-based chocolatier Taza. The oil-based composition floats on your tongue, whereas a cream-based mousse might only dog-paddle. Think about it.
OLIVE OIL CAKE: I can't believe it's not butter--in a French dessert, anyway. Executive chef Jason Bond creates his rendition of a traditional Provencal treat as "a flat jelly-roll sort of cake [using] pistachio flour, olive oil and pumpkin seed oil, and yogurt." If you really wish to gild the olive (er, lily), add on a housemade scoop of single-varietal Muraglia olive ice cream, which teases with an unmistakable green bite. What are you to do but bite back? With pleasure.
CHOCOLATE TERRINE WITH SALAD: It tends to be a theme with Jamaica Plain's best restaurants: teeny-tiny eateries producing remarkable dishes that resonate with much larger effects. In a small but mighty kitchen, executive chef Marco Suarez adorns a chocolate terrine not only with sea salt but also with a salad composed of mizuna, blood orange and olive oil. Savory's messing around with sweet again, and we're loving every bit of it.
OLIVE OIL GELATO: Is it possible that a simple sweet like gelato can go the extra Michael Pollan-approved mile? Piattini says yes, serving handcrafted gelato from Philadelphia-based Capogiro Gelato Artisans, which uses milk from grass-fed, hormone-free Amish cows and ingredients from local farms. The olive-infused flavor on the seasonal rotation at the Newbury Street cafe is an Italian extra-virgin olive oil gelato topped with a light dusting of sea salt.