Dinner Out: NOSH Dessert Night Inspired by Local
By Scott Campbell
Leave it to the inspired minds of the NSCC Kingstec Bakery and Pastry Arts students and the Tourism and Hospitality students to hit it out of the local ball park when it comes to creating a spectacular menu completely inspired by local produce and artisans. And as if that wasn’t impressive enough – the entire menu was desserts… all desserts… nothing but desserts. What a night.
It all began with a Chantilly-filled crepe, green apple sorbet with a caramel sauce, and a caramel crunch. This was paired with the Classic Cider from Wolfville’s own Annapolis Cider Company. The sweet crispness of the cider was fantastic with the rich cream of the crepe and caramel, while working well to fill out the tart sweetness (I realize that’s an oxymoron but I swear – that’s what it tasted like) of the apple sorbet.
The next course was aptly named “Berry Delicious”. This was a blueberry tart with honey ice cream, a raspberry macaron, and white chocolate mouchoir. This came out alongside the delightful Planter’s Ridge Quintessence White Wine. Again, the Tourism and Hospitality students were right on the mark with this pairing. The sweet tart (not an oxymoron because “tart” is a noun here – not an adjective – I’m an English teacher too after all) and the ice cream with the Quintessence wine set up a scene in the palette that just seemed to allow discovery after discovery of these wildly exotic flavours. And I have to give a shout out to the creator of those raspberry macarons. The flavour and texture of the macarons were easily as good as – and I’d dare say better than – any I’ve enjoyed in Paris. Fantastic!
The next course was not for the weak of heart. I will admit I was a little skeptical that this next offering was going to be able to stand alongside its predecessors but it quickly became apparent that my doubts were unfounded. A Storm Porter ice cream sandwich with spiced nuts and salted maple sauce was up next. This was served with the robust Storm Porter Beer from Port William’s own Sea Level Brewery. The stout Storm beer has a strong flavour with rich coffee notes and a strong chocolatey, malty backbone. When something has a description full of words like rich, chocolate, and malt – of course it would work well in a dessert. The slightly bitter hint of the Storm Porter worked perfectly to make the flavours of the ice cream sandwich stand out. What an intriguing dessert and pairing. Well done.
Next up was a New York Style cheesecake with granny smith compote, raspberry sauce, vanilla ice cream, apple chips, and raspberry jellies. For a pairing we were given a choice of Just Us Coffee or a refreshing Just Us Peppermint Tea. Either of the pairings worked well with the desserts in completely different ways. Again, I have to admit, I was a little doubtful when I saw that cheese cake was going to be served. After all these intriguing and original desserts, I was prepared to be disappointed with a “regular” cheese cake. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This cheese cake was the fluffiest and richest cheese cake I think I have ever tasted (and I’ve tasted a few). I would have eaten as many of them as they brought out. What a fantastic, pleasant surprise that was. I also have to mention the raspberry jellies. I’d never tried a raspberry jelly other than the type we’d usually put on toast. This little dollop was like a burst of fresh raspberry flavour on your tongue. Again, an incredibly delicious surprise.
You would think that after four delicious, rich desserts we’d be pushing our plates back and declaring we couldn’t possibly eat another bite. You would think. But then the servers started parading through the dining room with the last course – a blueberry cream angel food cake roulade and blueberry coulis with a Nova Scotia tuille. This came out with a glass of the fragrant and tasty Pomme D’Or Apple Cream Liqueur from Domaine de Grand Pré. The spice-cake flavour of the Pomme D’Or blending with the rich blueberry cream of the angel food cake was almost mesmerizing. And the Nova Scotia tuille was a very clever and elegant touch that had everyone at our table asking, “How’d they do that?”
I know I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. If you have an opportunity to enjoy an evening at Kingstec’s Nosh Dining Room then you really owe it to yourself to go. This is first class fine dining with a creativity and polish (and certainly a price point) that is rare in the Valley or in the province. Bravo to the outstanding students of Kingstec and their dedicated instructors for again putting on a world-class evening of culinary entertainment.
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