It’s the Sweets, Stupid!

Albert Adria’s Orchid: a yogurt croquant orchid with saffron ice cream and caramelized honey sponge cake on a bed of milk chocolate creme with chocolate foam-lyo rocks. Restaurant: ElBulli, Roses, Spain.

Leave it to Adam Gopnik, one of my favorite writers and the ex-correspondent of “The New Yorker” in Paris, to deftly tackle a delicious topic : what’s so unique about desserts, one of the most compelling obsessions of mankind?

Of course, it’s about sugar—an energy-packed food that our bodies haven’t evolved enough to stop craving despite the reliable abundance of calories all around us.

It’s also about sheer creative genius and the human impetus to keep exploring unchartered territories. Think about it: nowadays, while celebrity chefs outdo each other concocting savory dishes that glorify the flavors, textures, aromas and colors of Nature’s bounty, pastry chefs still revel in creating the “most denatured things on earth” (to borrow a quote from WD-50’s Alex Stupak): desserts. Chemistry and art all wrapped into one rare craft designed to transform natural (and occasionally less natural) ingredients into pure artefacts designed to dazzle the senses and leave an imprint on our memories.

‘A Trip to Havana’. A Cigar made of ice cream and chocolate, with ashes and a mojito: dip the cigar in the ashes, bite it and take a spoon of the frozen mojito. Restaurant: El Cellar de Can Roca, Girona, Spain. Pastry chef: Jordi Roca.

But do yourself a favor and follow Adam Gopnik to Spain as he meets with the leaders of the most outrageous revolution in dessert invention you could ever imagine. And do it now before the article gets locked into the site’s archives.


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