The Netflix algorithm that recommends shows based on your previous viewing history notifies me the millisecond a new dessert cooking show is available. I have my niche. Repeated viewings of the Great British Bake-Off, Sugar Rush and Zumbo’s Just Desserts make me a pseudo expert on anything sugar based.
When my husband and I were out for dinner recently at Chaval, a local Portland restaurant, the waiter mentioned that their Morcilla Puff appetizer was made with choux pastry. My husband looked at me and said, “Honey, it’s choux pastry” and we promptly ordered two to try. He’s been sucked into my candy colored world too. The appetizer was delicious. The chef might have even gotten a handshake from Paul Hollywood if they had baked it under a tent on the grounds of a beautiful rural estate in England.
When my oldest was home for college break over January, we streamed the latest season of Zumbo’s Just Desserts. We enjoyed seeing all the amazing creations these not-so-amateur chef’s came up with during each of the challenges.
When we were done our binge, it left us with a craving for fancy desserts. It can be challenging to see all the amazing creations but never get to taste them.
Fortunately, I knew just the place. We headed to Gross Confection Bar located on Middle Street in Portland. It had been on my list to check out for a while. They opened slightly over a year ago and are a dessert-focused restaurant and bar.
The dessert fairies were on our side. We headed into Portland and scored a nearby parking space almost immediately. As we walked down into the basement space, which has beautiful exposed brick and is full of charm, we opted for seats at a small side bar. The lighting was a little brighter.
It was happy hour, so their dessert tasting board was discounted. The board gives you a taste of each of the six desserts from The Taste section of the menu. The day we visited the dessert board included:
banana, chocolate and coffee | banana rum mousse, fudge brownie, chocolate micro cake, lightly smoked graham crumb and coffee cremeux.
brown butter carrot cake | dried fruit-roasted fig compote, espresso tuile, spiced cider caramel, brown sugar crumb, goat cheese ice cream
honey vanilla pots de creme | apple compote, cardamom crumb, star anise shortbread
coconut macaroon | brown butter, caraibe, passionfruit, vanilla, apricot
brown butter panna cotta | pineapple, jasmine, rice crack, rum, yuzu, lime
camus profiterole | camus mousse, apple butter, penuche, candied walnuts, caramel agrodolce, maple ice cream.
We each added an additional scoop of ice cream. I stuck to my go to flavor of salted caramel, while my daughter opted to try the quince sorbet. (This really is a Q post!)
The dessert flavors were complex with beautifully complimentary flavors. Every single one was delicious. Even flavors I don’t typically enjoy, like coconut and coffee, when mixed with the other ingredients resulted in a luscious creation that was easy to devour.
While they are a full service bar, I stuck to water and my daughter tried one of their no booze drinks made with rose chaga tonic and lime. It was refreshing.
We couldn’t finish everything on the tasting board although we sampled a little of each dish. Even for a dessert devotee like myself, you can eventually have too much of a good thing.
I’m working my way through an elimination diet right now so I’m not eating sugar but once I’m done, I’m heading back to Gross Confection Bar to sample more of their amazing desserts.
Why does this bring me bliss? While I’m on a self-care push of eating better, moving more and making healthier choices overall, I believe that in life moderation is key and that sometimes you just need to eat dessert. I also appreciate the talent that goes into creating a fancy dessert. After all, I’ve put my ten thousand hours of viewing in to qualify me as an expert.
Do you have have a favorite dessert or treat?
I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2020. I will be posting new content every day this month except most Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Bliss. To read more of my A to Z posts from this year, click HERE.