A Bevy of Bouchon



For a number of years now, all that is petit or small has dominated haute cuisine.  Small bites of pure flavors and food essences are served together for a meal full of individual sensations.  In societies with a prevalence of plant based food, meals tended to be served in this tapas or mezzes manner.  Here in San Diego, I often prepare and serve food using this model of numerous small tastes.  This is especially true with dessert, where a simple sweet finish is all that is needed to complete a meal. 

Sara had been watching chocolate shows on The Food Network and became obsessed with the thought of me building structures out of the Aztec bean.  A trip to Williams-Sonoma was mandated where my “Honey-do list” included structural chocolate molds.  After perusing the current collection, we discovered Williams-Sonoma no longer carried such kitchen apparatus, but had the latest presentation from chef Thomas Keller and his restaurant Bouchon, named after wine corks.  Chef Keller is known for his signature small dishes and the display was pushing his book and baking mixes.  Catching my attention was a silicone mold for baking the “bouchons or corks.”  I came home with it and a recipe in mind.  I whipped up the small batch of 12 tiny vegan chocolate “corks,” then dusted them with organic powdered sugar and served them warm to Sara, who was eagerly awaiting the results.  The size and shape emphasized flavor and texture with perfect balance.  It was the right amount of food to experience the sensuality without the common pitfall of overindulging the senses at the end of a meal.

A Vegan Bouchon can be good…moist and delicate, as well as healthy.  Light in fat and made with good organic ingredients, having more than one or two can be sinless.  Needless to say, once Sara’s sweet tooth kicked in, we had to make dessert for the next meal.  This time it was an orange bouchon topped with homemade kumquat marmalade and served over and almond-vanilla bean “sabayon.”