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zakuska

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  1. Thanks for the feedback. Decided to go with Petrossian. I tried the individual-sized version of their Black Forest cake, which bears scant resemblance to a classic Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte. It has a chocolate cake base, topped by a wonderfully light chocolate mousse studded with unpitted kirsch-soaked cherries. This is covered with whipped cream and fine chocolate shavings and decorated on top with what look like two ultra-glossy decorative cherries: one caramel colored, and the other dark brown and perched on an edible swirled-chocolate stick. Some crispy chocolate "beebees" are scattered about as well. It truly was delicious -- light as a feather, not too sweet, and not at all "boozy" as these cakes can sometimes be, since the kirsch is only in the embedded cherries (the cake part did not taste like it had been brushed with kirsch syrup). The cherries provide a juicy, aromatic contrast to the smooth mousse. Although it's apples to oranges, I thought this was more delicate and suave than Payard's moussey hazelnut-flavored Louvre Cake, which I tasted the previous day. I am looking forward to seeing how the full-sized version of Petrossian's BF cake turns out.
  2. I've been tasked with ordering a cake for a large-ish family party (23 people) this weekend, and the guest of honor has a soft spot for chocolate and cherries. I've considered Payard's Sacher Cake (I know, it has raspberry, not cherry) and the Black Forest cakes made by the Manhattan branch of Two Little Red Hens and Petrossian's NY bakery, respectively. I am leaning towards the Petrossian BF cake, since it's more elegant than the traditional-looking TLRH version, and was wondering if anyone has had recent experiences with the pastries there. I believe that the current Petrossian pastry chef is Catherine Lahitette, formerly of Lespinasse. Any input would be greatly appreciated -- thanks.
  3. I just returned from a month in Dresden, with side trips to Berlin, Erfurt, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Würzburg and Frankfurt. I enjoyed the eastern part of Germany more than the western part; Leipzig and Erfurt in particular are lively, attractive cities with many interesting dining and cultural options. Dresden has made impressive strides in rebuilding; the exterior of the reconstructed Frauenkirche is pretty much complete and has finally filled the major gap in the pre-war Altstadt silhouette. I also had one of the most exquisite meals I've ever had at Caroussel, the Michelin-starred restaurant in the wonderful Bülow Residenz hotel. As others have noted, Nuremberg at Christmastime is a must for its Christkindlesmarkt. Nearby Würzburg is also worth a visit for its very good restaurants and wonderful wine culture. I had a particularly good dinner there last week at the restaurant in the Hotel Steichele. I started with a bowl of strangely delicious Franconian wine-soup. It reminded me of zabaglione, but with some broth, no sugar and local half-dry white wine standing in for the Marsala. It was hot, frothy and wonderful, and came with little brown-bread croutons and a tiny sprinkling of cinnamon. For my main dish I had Wildragout, which I think had wild boar in it, along with fresh wild mushrooms and a ruddy, expertly-seasoned sauce. It came with homemade spätzle and blaukraut (aromatic braised red cabbage, redolent of juniper, marjoram and caraway). I also had some excellent, half-dry local "Bacchus" wine. Overall, I found the quality of the food and cooking to be exceptional during my trip. The palm for baking, however -- breads, pastries and wonderful cakes -- definitely goes to Dresden!
  4. Dresden

    Paul, thanks very much for the recommendations -- I will report back when I return to NY in November! James
  5. Dresden

    I will be spending the month of October in Dresden. Any dining or other culinary recommendations in the city or the surrounding area would be greatly appreciated. I'm having dinner at Caroussel in the Hotel Bülow Residenz when I arrive, but that's it so far. Thanks in advance.
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