Curious minds ask me often, "Carol, do you have homework for your baking and pastry classes?" The answer is, of course, yes, I do have homework assignments. Sometimes, it's as simple as reading a chapter in a textbook on a specific topic or concept. Other times, it's studying for quizzes or exams, as to be expected. The most http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifinteresting and intense homework assignments, in my opinions, are the ones that require brainstorming ideas, researching recipes, and testing out ideas in one's home kitchen; I have done this mainly in the past for final practical exams when I was asked to produce a recipe of my own for a grade, such as my Pumpkin Sponge Cake or my Italian Petit Fours or my Red Potato Tart with Rosemary Jelly.
In Plated Desserts last week, we handed in a homework assignment. Chef asked us to research 10 dessert menus at 10 different restaurants; 4 of the restaurants were local to Charleston, 4 were in the U.S. and the remaining 2 were international. Since I am planning to create an Italian dessert menu later in the semester for another assignment/practical, I chose to focus my dessert menu research on Italian Restaurants.
I started with the local Charleston restaurants, and was originally disappointed because three of the restaurants here I was curious about did not actually post their dessert menus online. I did get good information from the other local restaurants, so it worked out in the end, but I am still curious about those other restaurants. Perhaps I'll just need to schedule a few dinners so I can see for myself.
For some of the 4 restaurants in the U.S. I chose to take a trip down memory lane. I first researched Varano's Italian Restaurant in Wells, Maine. Some of you may know that my cousin Jen and I had an amazing meal there in the summer of 2009 during our New England Road Trip. I was flooded with great memories as I surfed Varano's website and perused their dessert and regular menu.
I also looked at the menu for Tutto Italia in Epcot Center, where I ate in March with my family while on vacation there. And thanks again to cousin Jen, I have photos of some of the desserts we ate.
Here's a Dessert Trio - Mocha Tiramisu, Cannoli, Mousse in Espresso Cup:
Here's a Cannoli:
And here's Gianduja-Chocolate Torte
I gathered a lot of great recipe ideas as I compared and contrasted the dessert menus of these 10 restaurants, and I am really excited to continue working on my own dessert menu concept for an Italian restaurant. I'll leave you with lyrics from one of my favorite songs, which I believe is appropriate for this trip down memory lane:
"A bottle of white, a bottle of red,
Perhaps a bottle of rosé instead.
We'll get a table near the street
In our old familiar place
You and I - face to face.
A bottle of red, a bottle of white
It all depends upon your appetite
I'll meet you any time you want
In our Italian Restaurant.
-Billy Joel, Scenes from an Italian Restaurant