HAVE DESSERTS COME FULL CIRCLE?
Eel in marzipan. Goose-liver macarons. Sounds a little out there, right? Well according to author Michael Krondl, in his book INVENTION: A History of Dessert, these are the types of desserts created by an Italian pastry chef in the mid 1500's. And although we're not enjoying desserts quite of this nature (yet), our after-meal sweets are definitely taking on a more savoury twist.
WHAT WAS DESSERT?
According to Krondl, dessert is a French noun that "originates with the verb desservir, or un-serve, that is, to remove what had been served. In other words, le dessert was set out once the table had been cleared of the dishes that made up a the main part of the meal."
THE MIX OF SAVOURY AND SWEET
In Medieval times, cooks would add a lot of sugar to their savoury dishes, and sweet foods were served at the same time as savoury dishes. Eventually, the custom of serving food would change and influence the make-up of desserts: service à la française (simultaneous serving) was replaced by service à la russe (where one dish came after the other). This resulted in sweet desserts as we know it.
From sweet back to savoury. Worldwide, there are chefs testing the boundaries of we think of as desserts. Olive-oil ice-cream sundaes, toasted fennel cheesecake, seared foie gras and cherries... introducing savoury elements into dessert is a huge trend, and is bound to get diners more interested in experimenting with desserts.