Dessert Spotlight: Charentais Melon Sorbet & Pistachio Cake

September 18, 2015

This showstopper of a summer dessert is sure to leave guests at Intro hoping that summer will last a little longer in Chicago. The Charentais Melon dessert course is composed of fresh Charentais melon sorbet, pistachio cake, melon compressed with ginger, lime gelee, honey mousse and topped with fine black mint. Charentais melon is a true French cantaloupe that originated in the Poitou-Charentes region circa 1920. It is considered by many to be the most divine and flavorful melon in the world. The smooth round melon has a creamy green-gray exterior with faint ribs while its sweet orange flesh interior produces a heavenly fragrance. At most farmers' markets the Charentias melon variety are top sellers. Melon Not obsessed with pistachios yet? This cake will do the trick. Pistachio, a member of the cashew family, have an intensity when eaten alone but in this dish the pistachio acts in harmony with the other flavor profiles bidding for attention. The moist cake with its pretty tint of light green offers an airy sponge-like texture. The pistachio cake when eaten alone or in combination with other components of the dish - is a true taste sensation. chef When it comes to mint there are tons of varieties out there. Many are familiar with the usual peppermint, spearmint, mojito mint but others are more obscure, oddities like chocolate mint, corn mint, orange mint. Introducing...Black mint. Black mint is sharper and mintier than the typical garden-variety mint, cold and clean. These characteristics are especially useful in chilled desserts that demand a sharp effervescent quality, like in Chef Aaron Martinez's Charentais melon sorbet.The black mint also pairs perfectly with the melon compressed with ginger in the course as it's sharpness can stand up well to strong flavors. Black mint has a particular crisp aroma of granny smith apples and a deep, nose-clearing bite reminiscent to cilantro or rosmary. It's a mint-lover's mint, the champion of refreshing herbs. Though fresh black mint isn't all that common, it is well worth seeking out before the summer season comes to a fall.