Chocolate, the fallback dessert ingredient for many young chefs, doesn’t fare well in the Lowcountry. “It’s hot down here,” Kelly Wilson, an instructor at Trident Tech’s Culinary Institute of Charleston, this week explained during an American Culinary Federation regional conference session dedicated to regional pastry.
“In terms of climate, that dictates what you can make and what you can store,” Wilson said.
But Wilson urged her audience to think beyond chocolate for other reasons, too: While chocolate has a long central American history (and shorter European history), a bevy of other ingredients are more closely tied to the Native American, African, British and French cultures that are reflected in traditional Charleston foodways. Chefs who reflexively localize their savories sometimes forget about fortified wine, black walnuts, rice, sweet potatoes and coconuts when planning last courses, Wilson suggested. Continue reading
Although online reviewers have described FIG’s desserts as “fabulous”, “delicious”, “excellent” and “amazing” (because, really, what else can you say about the restaurant’s famed sticky sorghum cake?), chef Mike Lata says the restaurant’s taking a “new direction” with its sweets course.
FIG is now looking to hire its first dedicated pastry chef. The position is being advertised in markets including New York City.
“We want to start paying extra attention to pastry,” Lata says. “Although we currently are inspired to create desserts and are proud of our program, (chef de cuisine) Jason Stanhope and I feel like the program deserves the attention of a pastry chef with focus, pedigree and passion.” Continue reading
It sounds like something you’d encounter on a cruise ship, but Paolo Dalla Zorza of Paolo’s Gelato says the idea for his new cannoli service came to him while traveling home from Italy.
Now at Paolo’s, customers have their pick of cannoli shells, fillings and toppings, so they can construct a mini-shell stuffed with chocolate ricotta cream and dipped in candied fruit, or a chocolate-coated shell filled with ricotta and garnished with sprinkles. There are 72 possible different combinations.
“My customers are so international and well-traveled, so they appreciate this kind of an idea,” Zorza is quoted as saying in a release.
Paolo’s is located at 41 John St.
Sapin-sapin from another bakery, courtesy of joefoodie
For its first holiday season, Kusina is putting together trays of the Filipino sweets that customers tend to crave come Christmastime.
Although the Goose Creek grocery and bakery hasn’t yet finalized its Christmas tray menu, the Thanksgiving selection included putong puti (rice muffins), kutchinta (gelatinous rice cakes), pichi-pichi (steamed grated cassava) and espasol (another kind of rice cake, for which rice flour’s mixed with coconut milk.)
“It’s not the normal kind of dessert you see at Publix,” owner Leah Oboza says. Continue reading
In the tiny village of Anatevka, food was very simple: As Tevye the Milkman says in the film version of Fiddler on the Roof, “When a poor man eats a chicken, one of them is sick.”
But the Charleston JCC this Saturday is putting out a fancier spread for a Bookfest lecture by the author of The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem: The Remarkable Life and Aftermath of the Man Who Created Tevye. Jeremy Dauber’s 8 p.m. talk will be followed by a Russian café-inspired reception featuring babka, macaroons, rugelach, chocolate-covered apricots, tea with preserves, coffee and wine.
Tickets to the event are $10 for JCC members; $14 for non-members. Call 571-6565 for more information.
Cupcake creators are a dime a baker’s dozen these days, but Cupcake Camp Charleston’s on the hunt for pastry artists willing to serve up at least 24 cupcakes for free.
Now in its fourth year, Cupcake Camp is a community benefit for the South Carolina Youth Advocate Program. Originally created in 2008 by a San Francisco populist scientist, the event’s since spread to cities around the world. There’s no charge for the cupcakes – organizers describe the Camp as a chance “for people to share and eat cupcakes in an open environment – but donations will be accepted online and during the event at The Alley on Nov. 10 from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Continue reading
The standard Restaurant Week meal format – exceedingly popular in most corners – can aggravate diners in the habit of skipping dessert, since the three-course, prix-fixe dinners invariably end with sweets. Economically, it makes sense for restaurants to pad their menus with chocolate mousse and crème brulee, since eggs and sugar are cheaper than centerpiece proteins. But that’s little consolation to the Charleston Restaurant Week goer who’d rather double up on boiled peanut hummus (Magnolias) or pickled shrimp salad (Stars).
This year, though, the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association (GCRA) has tweaked its biannual program in a way which should please savory fans: Participating restaurants are being encouraged to devise toned-down lunch menus, offered at a slightly lower price. The three restaurants which have thus far posted their event lunch menus online – 82 Queen, Rutledge Cab Co. and Ms. Rose’s Fine Food and Cocktails – met the $15 challenge by doing away with dessert. Continue reading