Saturday, May 12, 2012

Craft Beer and Seasonal Desserts at Finale

Did I mention I love Finale Desserterie? I believe it may have come up here, here and here. Given my love for this sweet-lovers heaven, it really works in my favor that they hold monthly pairings. This month,  Finale invited me back for some craft beer and seasonal desserts fun, hosted by none other than the lovely Executive Pastry Chef, Nicole Coady! Before the pairing, my knowledge of beer was fairly limited, and I certainly had never attempted to pair certain beers with dessert, so I was psyched to see what Chef Nicole had up her sleeve!

Throughout the evening, we worked our way through the menu that included a broad spectrum of craft beers varying in flavor, alcohol content, aroma etc., as well as a delightful spread of Chef Nicole's signature seasonal Finale favorites. It sounded a little something like this:

Original Sin Hard Cider with a Frangiapane Tart
This was a clean, sweet cider that allowed the natural flavors of the apple to speak for itself. Paired with the almond flavors of the Frangiapane Tart, the cider's granny smith apple base became even more apparent.
Allagash White with a Lemon Tart
This beer was brewed with a generous portion of wheat and spiced with corriander and curacao orange peel, making it extra fruity, refreshing and slightly cloudy in appearance. The pairing felt summery and light. I would have loved to have kicked up the lemon flavor in the tart just a bit more to balance out the heaviness of the beer.
Duvel Golden Ale with a Fresh Fruit Tart
This was my favorite pairing! The Duvel was blonde and refreshing like a pilsner, but packed the flavor, depth and complexity of an ale. The buttery crust of the tart combined with the fresh fruit flavors complimented the fresh and dynamic Duvel perfectly. 
Aventinus with a Mascarpone Mousse Cup
This beer poured deep cloudy brown with a generous off-white head and complex aromas of dark fruits, banana, clove and sherry-like esse. This was a very interesting pairing as I don't believe I would have enjoyed tasting the beer alone, but did enjoy it with the Mascarpone Mousse Cup. The notes of bananas, clove and molasses in the Aventinus were prevalent and almost overpowering when first tasted, but paired with the Mascarpone Mousse Cup, became perfectly balanced with the dark chocolate and cheese flavors. Another brilliant match made in heaven by Chef Nicole!
Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock with Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake
The Ayinger was a rich, dark elixer with cascading layers of malt complexity balanced by elegant hops with notes of toffee, caramel, elegant dark-malt roastiness and pure malt. Chef Nicole's Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake was simply to-die-for and the chocolate flavors were perfectly enhanced by the chocolate notes in the beer. I could have eaten a tub of the peanut butter frosting, which also cut the maltiness of the beer with perfect ease. Another brilliant pairing! 

Overall, it was another fabulous Finale night filled with even more wonderful pairings by Chef Nicole. She confessed, yet again, to using the raid-the-pastry-case technique to come up with these matches (I still want to get in on that action), and who can really fault her -- it works like a charm! 

Many thanks again to Chef Nicole for hosting us, and for preparing such an enjoyable array of seasonal desserts for us that evening! Next month, Finale is making dessert magic with gelato and sorbet. My mouth is already watering...

*While I did receive this complimentary tasting from Finale, these opinions are honest and entirely my own. 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Pin It button on image hover