Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Tasting notes: Le Chou's desserts du jour

tea-themed dessert du jour
Originally uploaded by michelle1975.

When she hasn't been busy preparing preserves over the last couple of weeks, Michelle's been busy in the pastry kitchen of Les Chèvres and Le Chou. You see, the pastry chef, Patrice, has been away on vacation and so Michelle and Camilla having been pulling extra duty while he's away. On the down side, they've been working every day over the last two weeks just to keep on top of things--in other words, they've been learning what it's like to be a real pastry chef--but, on the up side, they've gotten the privilege to dream up, design, and produce the dessert du jour for the last couple of weeks. You should have seen them. They were so excited to get the opportunity to unleash one or two of their visions on an unsuspecting public.

Their first dessert du jour was the beautiful dessert you see pictured above. It was organized around a tea theme--one perhaps inspired by IMBB's tea-themed meme from July--and it included three components. The first component was a trio of tea-scented miniature madeleines. The second was a crème fraîche panna cotta drizzled with a tea-scented sirop. And the third was a garnish of plump prunes stewed in Oolong tea. It was a perfectly balanced dessert, light on the palate, full of flavor, subtle yet irresistible. The panna cotta was lovely, among the best I've ever had, and I thought the madeleines were a wonderful touch, but it was the assortment of stewed prunes that really made this dessert du jour a standout.

Their second dessert du jour was a bit more whimsical. Camilla and Michelle took the classic combination of milk and cookies and ran with it. As you can see, the plate consisted of three jumbo, icing-filled layer cookies and a glass of milk. Cookie #1 was a peanut-butter cookie. Cookie #2 was a maple-flavored cookie. And cookie #3 was their take on the Oreo. I knew about the peanut-butter cookie and the Oreo going into my tasting, but the maple-flavored cookie was a last-minute addition, so it was a surprise, and a very nice one at that. I thought it made a perfect match with the other two, and it also gave the combo a nice Canadian twist. The Oreo was fantastic, suitably chocolatey and sweet, but made with a quality cookie and truly tasty icing. The peanut-butter cookie was a serious peanut-buter cookie, sure to be a hit with all those peanut butter die-hards out there (you know who you are). Finally, the complimentary glass of milk was a stroke of genius, rounding out the concept behind the dessert, but also providing you with just the right beverage to accompany this dessert du jour. My advice: do yourself a favor and forget about the Girl Guides!

Sadly, the tea-themed dessert du jour is no longer available, but you can still get Camilla and Michelle's assortment of classic cookies through Sunday. The dessert du jour costs a mere $6.

Le Chou, 1205 Van Horne Ave., Outremont, (514) 270-2468


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