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Parisian Chocolate Desserts Class with David Lebovitz

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

David gets ready to start the demonstration.Friday night I attended the long awaited and sold out cooking demonstration and book signing by David Lebovitz at Draegers Cooking School in San Mateo. I’ve met plenty of tech bloggers, but David was actually the first food blogger I have met in person. David was extremely personable throughout the evening, joking frequently with the assistants and guests. Until David really got cooking, I had to remind myself I was at a cooking class and not watching a stand-up routine. At one point a guest asked if she could ask an unrelated question, and while she paused to choose the right wording, David quickly volunteered, “Briefs”.

A man of many contradictions
David Lebovitz.“I don’t really like sugary stuff,” David announced near the beginning of the class. David followed this confession with another shocker: he’s lactose intolerant. Meanwhile, proudly displayed at the edge of the counter were two of David’s cookbooks, The Great Book of chocolate and The Perfect Scoop. I bought an ice cream cook book from a lactose intolerant chef? Fortunately, David said he can still eat dairy, which has to be true given the sheer number of ice cream recipes in The Perfect Scoop.

The menu that made me forget about missing dinner consisted of:

  • Mocha Sherbet with Butterscotch-Pecan Tuiles and Fleur de Sel Almonds (the almond recipe is David’s favorite at the moment)
  • Chocolate Soufflé Cake with Orange-Cranberry Chutney, Olive Oil Ice Cream and Pear Granita
  • Chocolate and Confiture de Lait Brownies
  • Chocolate Chip Choquettes
  • Parsley Ice Cream with White Chocolate Sauce, and Raspberries and Strawberries with Cassis

Sensational Ice Cream
David confessed that an interviewer recently was only interested in discussing the unusual recipes in The Perfect Scoop and he was worried listeners wouldn’t realize there were more traditional recipe flavors in the book. Since I have already raved about the blackberry sorbet and lemon sorbet recipes from the book in past blog posts, it’s safe for me to mention the parsley ice cream he made for us because, well, it tastes like parsley. But like the strawberry basil mojito that Draegers served at the beginning of the class, the pairing of herb and strawberry played well together. The scoops of parsley ice cream were nickel sized and encouraged you to ration them with the raspberries and strawberries. This was a good example of David’s desire to create uncomplicated dishes with strong flavor combinations.

David struts his stuff with Draegers’ chef, Bill Hutton.Though not as outrageous sounding as the parsley ice cream, the olive oil ice cream proved to be quite nice. Yielding a delicate, fresh flavor, the olive oil ice cream struggled to compete with the rich Chocolate Soufflé Cake and Orange-Cranberry Chutney, both of which were delicious.

David’s anecdotes about living in Paris, life on a book tour, and having a popular blog were both entertaining and educational. We learned a lot about Parisian culture, much of which was humorous. Do you think David says funny things about Americans when he is in Paris?