This Ode to the Outdoors Is Actually a Chocolate Dessert


While we’re trying our best to forget the haunting subzero wind chills of this winter, a chat with chef Ian Kittichai of the East Village’s Spot Dessert Bar (13 St. Mark’s Place, 212-677-5670) reminds us that there may have been one positive outcome of a polar vortex: inspiration.

“After New York had such a long, harsh winter, we wanted to create a dessert that celebrated the warmer months,” he says. Enter the Chocolate Terrarium, a multi-component plate with flavors of chocolate, cookies and cream, and green tea that have all taken shape as nature’s most basic elements: moss and rocks.

While the end result may look improbably natural, the preparation took a little more planning — from the baked, dehydrated, and blended green tea cake for the “moss,” to the rock proxy: cream-filled sandwiches of cookies and cream meringue.

For Kittichai, focusing on juxtaposed yet harmonious textures and flavors was just as important as the playful, forest floor motifs on the plate. “I was just really inspired by seeing the new leaves and growth after this winter and snow,” he says. We’ll raise a spoon to that.