How far will a couple of big city exiles who live on Maui go to get a chance to wear formal wear and eat unusual desserts? Apparently, pretty far.
(And if you come to Maui, you can eat this, too.)
James and I recently joined Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international society “dedicated to bringing together those who share a mutual interest in cuisine, wine, and fine dining in a spirit of camaraderie.”
When we found out that there are forty people on Maui who care enough about food to pay the (fairly) hefty yearly dues and show up in tuxes to the events, we knew we had to join. The clincher? The induction dinner was held at our favorite restaurant: Capische?
(The extra bonus for James was that he got to wear a tux. Growing up in DC, he had at least four formal events per year – so pulling out the cufflinks after years of wearing Aloha shirts to dinner made him as giddy as a schoolboy.)
After being inducted – a very short ceremony where we swore to be pleasant to our table mates while we ate great food (I’m paraphrasing) – we sat down to a five course dinner. I’m not going to go into detail here about the first four courses, because – while they were wonderful – they were what we would expect from Chef Brian Etheredge. (The fish was perfectly poached in oil and induced moans, the lamb was tender and fell off the bone, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah, you can read all about it on page 40 of our new book.)
I don’t know if Chef wanted us to squirm through the meal in anticipation of dessert, but we did (this is unusual for us – we normally don’t like the desserts at this restaurant). Just how on earth would gelato made from foie gras taste??
I’ll tell you how: like butter creamed into submission with the lightest of, the mildest of, the sweetest of liver flavors.
The unctuous texture was laced with a spice profile – I tasted cinnamon and clove? – that instantly imprinted on my memory as a “must-eat” for Christmas time. Like, I will now associate this dessert with Christmas as much as I associate gingerbread cookies with Christmas, or peppermint, or cocoa.
But that’s just the gelato. The warm raisin cake underneath (just warm enough to melt the gelato slowly), was suitably dry and nutty to counteract the intensely rich gelato. On the side was a terrine of foie gras – delicate, slimly sliced, and a beautiful tawny color – that begged to be scooped up with a spoon. The terrine bathed in a vanilla maceration of raisins, which were just as satisfying in their intense flowery flavor as the foie gras was subtle.
I believe this dessert is now on the menu at Capische? You might even see us there, dressed in our Chaine ribbons (it’s the Boy Scouts of eating clubs). Bon appetit.