Petrossian, a restaurant and luxury food emporium known primarily for its sumptuous caviar, balik salmon, and foie gras, recently released its new spring line up of teas and pastries. When I was invited to sample the new items, I didn’t really know what to expect. What could a restaurant famous for seafood and organ meat really know about teatime sweets and savories?
They could know plenty. The items that I sampled were nothing short of exemplary – all baked on site daily, all with interesting tastes, and all perfect for a late afternoon snack.
The coconut macaroons are light, with a slight sticky crunch and an airy interior. The coconut flavor is intense but not overly sweet or cloying – a creamy, tropical flavor.
Chocolate and Marzipan Quail Eggs
If you think you don’t like marzipan, think again. These tiny, perfect eggs have nothing in common with the waxy fruits that decorate Christmastime cakes. This marzipan is smooth, deep, and buttery. It also incredibly sweet, which is tempered by the slight bitterness of the chocolate and the crunch of the sugar shell. This is an elegant, sophisticated sweet that would be perfect at the end of a dinner party with coffee or a digestif.
Though the taste of this is fantastic – buttery, rich, with just enough rosemary to be sharp but not too woodsy – the standout of this is its texture. It looks just like normal cracker, but when you bite it, the texture is flaky, like a croissant. There is a thin crust atop layers of buttery, tender dough – it’s really like a pastry within a cookie. This would be ideal served with soup, where its many layers could soak up the liquid.
Fennel and Parmesan Cookies
This is a much more traditional shortbread, in terms of its crunchy texture. Salty with parmesan, aromatic and licorice-y with fennel, and rich with butter. These are not too fennel infused, just a light sweetness that makes the savory components of the cracker more apparent. The pastry chef uses extreme restraint in his baked goods, which allow multiple flavors with no one herb or spice dominating the dish.
My favorite baked item of the day. A soft, squishy muffin with a delightfully crunchy top. The first taste is the bright lemon, and then the hint of earthy thyme. Finally, the interplay of sugar and salt dance on your tongue, making you wonder if this is really a savory muffin or a sweet cake. This is the perfect combination of sweet and salty, and would be fantastic with some ricotta cheese and truffle honey.
Sunchowder’s Emporia Jams
These jams are the newest addition to the Petrossian family. Alexander Petrossian himself discovered this woman at a small farmers market and fell in love with Wendy Read and her jams. The jams are all made in small batches, using no commercial pectin, corn syrup, preservatives, or colors. The method used to make the jams is an old French one that involves letting the fruits macerate overnight and then cooking the jams for a longer time than most jams. This results in a smooth texture and incredibly pure, vibrant flavor. All the jams I tried were really pretty incredible – they actually tasted like fruit, not like sugar or artificial flavors.
Raspberry Black Pepper Jam
This jam totally blew my mind. The first taste is sweet and pure, like fresh raspberries, but then the sharp taste of black pepper cuts through the thick sweetness. It builds until your lips prickle with the slightly hot sensation, playing with the sugary taste.Though this was great on a slice of brioche, I would love to see it paired with game – some venison or boar would work really well with the spicy and sweet notes.
Petrossian has some really special baked goods on offer this spring. I would highly recommend going there for high tea, or, if you are not in New York, checking out their online store for some of the smoked salmon (which I can personally vouch for as lush, buttery, and mild – less of a bagel-salmon and more of a blini-salmon). The room is beautiful, the quality is excellent, and the food itself is unexpected and delightful.
Petrossian is more than just a one trick pony.
*I attended a press sponsored event. I was not paid or required to to write about the product, and my opinions are my own and, I feel, unbiased.*