Dec 29, 2011
In this year's SAVEUR 100, we take stock of our favorite things: recipes, people, places. We consider every last one a new classic.
We're always a bit sad to see a great meal come to a close, but we can count on the arrival of mignardises
to lift our spirits. This parting gesture from the kitchen—usually an artful arrangement of confections like gemlike pâtes de fruits
, say or tiny macarons
—is a tradition that dates back to 18th-century France. Miniature sweets were de rigueur then: Once pastry chefs had finished their work for the day in their brick ovens, they placed small treats inside to bake in the low, residual heat; the name mignardise
comes from the Old French word for "precious" or "cute." Nowadays, chefs dazzle us with their stunning array of after dinner sweets: It's a chance for them to show off their skills, create a final impression that embodies the spirit of the restaurant, and more important, extend the pleasure of the meal.
This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #144