Chocolate is a subject that makes food writers grope, with sweating fingers, for their thesauri. There’s much fanning of the neck in descriptions of chocolate’s earth and spice, its power to seduce. Chocolate melts at body heat; it doesn’t coat an object, it enrobes it. I don’t think anyone would be surprised if there were 50 shades of cocoa beans.
Chocolate is, frankly, a tart. There’s a world of sweet pleasures in other, less obvious flavor palettes. Cream and fruit, brown sugar and pumpkin—these are the wallflowers, often ignored while chocolate splays across the plate in a lurid ganache.
In tribute to them, here are five exceptional, non-chocolate standouts from some of the best pastry chefs in town.