A treat for the senses
How do you define desserts? The dictionary says a dessert can be “a cake, pie, fruit, pudding, ice cream, etc., served as the final course of a meal,”1 but to most chefs, that’s an oversimplification. Whether you serve them hot, cold, creamy, crunchy, fancy, simple or even healthy, desserts allow you to be creative and delight your customers.
On the other hand, desserts can also be a point of stress for your operation. Some chefs report that less kitchen space and less skilled labor requires them to focus on main dishes, leaving less time to prepare desserts.2 The dessert category also requires a different skill set, which many chefs have not mastered.2 Customers who are counting calories or fat grams may be reluctant to order them.
Despite these challenges, desserts still deserve a place on your menu, and in this issue, we’ll show you why. Read on to discover what they mean to people around the world and how to adjust your menu and your recipes to please every customer who walks through your door.
Love at first bite
Why do we love desserts? The answer may be part physical and part emotional. We all know desserts are a delight to eat. They appeal to the eyes first, using bright colors, alternating layers, and beautiful presentation techniques to enhance the experience. Recipes tantalize us with sweetness from sugars, bitterness from chocolates, sourness from fruit, and saltiness from accents like nuts or cookies and cakes. And the contrasts of textures and temperatures in each bite provides another layer of enjoyment.
Then there’s the emotional side of the equation. The experience of sharing a dessert can make it that much more pleasurable. Just the idea of treating yourself to a little indulgence can add to the good feeling. Cocoa is naturally rich in flavonoids, which are compounds found naturally in fruits, vegetables, herbs, grains, nuts, red wine, and of course, cocoa. They carry antioxidant properties which may help reduce the risk of heart disease, and other diseases linked to immune function.3 Another reason to crave the key ingredient of so many desserts!
Always provide several spoons and forks with a dessert to promote sharing and tasting.
Eating together can nourish the soul.
1. Random House Dictionary
2. Size of Prize Pro Intal study 2012
3. Effect of cocoa powder on the modulation of inflammatory biomarkers in patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease Maria Monagas et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;90:1144–50