Corn and Chocolate Memories
By: Lanna Talley, Oliver Royale Pastry Chef
Every chef's goal is to create food you will remember. This makes nostalgia a wonderful tool for creating new menu items. So, when creating this summer’s dessert menu, I started to think about my favorite summer memories.
One of my fondest memories is spending a week every summer with my grandparents, Mimi and Bobo. During that week we would swim, do arts and crafts at the community center, play shuffleboard, and pick corn. I remember walking through the corn rows with Bobo and my cousins, carefully picking the ears of corn. He taught me that patience, care, and hard work will make something as small as a seed of corn grow into a giant 8-foot corn stalk. We would always have corn on the cob for dinner. It is still the sweetest corn I have ever had!
It's Bobo's sweet corn that inspired the Corn and Chocolate Dessert. My goal was to highlight corn in as many ways as possible and to use as little sugar as possible! I wanted the natural sweetness of corn to be the main sweetening agent. With all that in mind, I decided that a corn creme brulee, corn anglaise, caramel corn, chocolate cremeux, and a cornbread brownie would be an enticing and unique combination of flavors. The bitterness in the chocolate combined with the naturally sweet flavors of the corn created a uniquely nostalgic flavor.
The kitchen has always been a place where I create but lately, it has also become a place where I get to share bits of my past with our customers and community. If you’re anything like me, you’ll agree that every good dessert needs a partner! The next time you visit, leave room for our Corn and Chocolate Dessert and cap it with one of the following drinks for a perfectly rounded experience!
Diora Pinot Noir - this deep and intense garnet color wine accentuates the flavors of the sweet corn. Its aromas of black cherries, brown sugar and mocha set the stage for a robust palate of concentrated fruit flavors and a textured mouthfeel, anchored by Pinot Noir’s signature smooth acidity.
Donati Merlot - this wine features hints of cherry flavors and intense cassis notes, bringing out and complimenting the chocolate from the cornbread brownie. If you’re looking for a rich palate experience - this is your pick!
Café Arancia - not a wine person? Try one of our signature cocktails! This after-dinner cocktail is concocted with Amaro Nonino (a very light and tasty Italian bitter liqueur), Grand Marnier, local Three Bears cold brew coffee, half and half cream, and turbinado simple syrup (an unprocessed sugar syrup). Café Arancia has notes of orange and chocolate upfront, with a wonderful coffee bite at the finish to enhance the natural corn flavor in our Corn and Chocolate Dessert.
This one is for you, Bobo! Thank you for the life lessons, the memories, and the inspiration!