10. What: Warm Golden Plum Soufflé
Where: The Waterside Inn; Bray, England
Small, yellow mirabelles, grown mainly in Alsace and considered a delicacy, are used in this 35-year-old signature recipe by the Michelin three-star chef and owner Michel Roux and his son Alain. “It’s served á la minute so the baking is crucial,” said the younger Roux. “If it’s even one minute off, the taste and texture are altered.”
Warm chocolate sauce is poured over a very thin chocolate shell, causing the sphere to implode, which reveals luscious raspberries and layers of chocolate inside.
8.What: King-size Imperial Torte
Legend has it that this chocolate-glazed cake was first created in honor of Emperor Franz Josef I to coincide with the hotel’s opening in 1873. Comprised of almond, marzipan and cocoa crème under a milk-chocolate glaze, this handmade cake (which comes in a sugar-free version, too) is presented in a fanciful wooden box and shipped to Ottoman lovers all over the world.
7. What: “Entre”
Where: Pierre Hermé Patisserie; Paris
Price: US$176 each
In an exercise of haute patisserie, world-renowned pastry chef Pierre Hermé challenges traditional pastry-making codes in order to “push the search for good tastes to the limit.”,; he said. Take Révélation, a puff pastry with tomato, mascarpone cream, olive oil, bits of black olives and a tomato-strawberry compote. Or Infini, which introduces a 20-ingredient gastronomic interpretation of ambergris, a scent traditionally used in perfume. A new series of four “emotions to share,” each dessert (which feeds six to eight people) is available on a made-to-order basis, and only from Monsieur Herme’s two patisseries in Paris.
6. What: The Madeleine Truffle
Where: Knipschildt Chocolatier; Norwalk, Conn.
Price: US$250 per truffle, or US$6,000 per pound
Classic ganache—comprised of 70 percent Valrhona chocolate mixed with fresh cream and infused for 24 hours with vanilla pods and pure truffle oil—is shaped around a Perigord truffle, then dipped in Valrhona and rolled in cocoa powder. “The ganache must be whipped repeatedly to make it as soft and silky as possible, then it must be chilled so it’s easier to work with,” said a company spokesperson. The product of a long and painstaking process, these truffles are not available over the counter, but made to order and presented in a silver box with a personal note from chocolate maker Fritz Knipschildt.
5. What: The Dome’s Truffle Ice
Where: Mezzaluna; Bangkok
In February, The Lebua Hotel at State Tower hosted the most expensive commercial dinner ever organized, at which 40 guests paid 1 million baht—or $30,000—each for a 10-course meal prepared by six Michelin-starred chefs from around the world. Mezzaluna carries on the pricey tradition with the Dome’s Truffle Ice: Perigord truffle ice cream layered with gelée and Manjaree chocolate and suffused in gold leaves, berry compote and a rare cognac—Moyet Tres Vieille Grande Champagne No. 7 (of which there are only 1,300 bottles in existence). The restaurant sells up to 10 every week.
4. What: The Sultan’s Golden Cake
Where: Ciragan Palace Kempinski; Istanbul
It takes 72 hours to make this edible brick of gold, available by special request for, say, weddings, parties or a Sultan’s snack. Spiked with apricots, pears, quince and figs that have been marinating in Jamaican rum for two years, and flavored with shaved caramelized black truffles, this 24-carat gold leaf-covered cake is presented in a sterling silver handcrafted cake box with a golden seal.
3. What: Golden Opulence Sundae
Where: Serendipity 3; New York City
This dessert is the holder of the Guinness World Record for the most expensive sundae. Scoops of Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream infused with smoky Madagascar vanilla are coated in 23-carat edible gold leaf, which “leaves a ring of gold dust around people’s mouths,” said Serendipity spokesman Joe Calderone. Suffused with bittersweet chocolate and rare chocolate chunks, gold-plated dragets and truffles, the sundae is eaten with an 18k gold spoon and a mother-of-pearl spoon is reserved for the mini-bowl of sweetened, de-salted caviar on top. The utensils stay at the restaurant, but the Baccarat crystal goblet is yours for the taking.
2. What: Brownie Extraordinaire with Saint Louis
Where: Brûlée: The Dessert Experience; Atlantic City, New Jersey
The priciest selection off the restaurant’s three-part Crystal Menu (each of which begins with an amuse sucrée, followed by the featured dessert and ending with petit fours), the Brownie Extraordinaire comes with a Saint Louis crystal atomizer, a $750 keepsake filled with a shot of rare 1996 Quinta do Noval Nacional port wine to be sprayed into the mouth between each bite of hazelnut-coated brownie.
This dessert, which debuted in March, was inspired by the success of the restaurant’s other gem-studded treat, the Bombay Sapphire Martini. The star of the show is an 80-carat aquamarine gem that rests on a sliver of chocolate shaped to resemble the traditional stilt fisherman that’s part of the resort’s logo. Handmade glass utensils (not included in the price) complete the presentation. And yes, diners can pocket the gemstone after polishing off the dessert. None have yet been sold.