The Best Dessert is One You Have to Work For

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By Dina Mishevdessert

People with lesser imaginations have called honey the nectar of life. Or water. They’re wrong. Or Wrong. Note that capital “W.”

The nectar of life is on the menu at Il Vilaggio Osteria. On Osteria’s dessert menu, to be specific.

In the past, I have had issue with consuming calories in liquid form. I know, it’s totally weird and possibly hints at some sort of disorder. Here was my thinking: A small chocolate chip cookie has about 100 calories. A can of Coke has about 150. Cookies taste much better than Coke. I’ll eat the cookie and happily drink water, which has zero calories.

Two nights ago I had the make-your-own hot chocolate at Osteria.

Here’s my new thinking: my sweet teeth have never before swum in something so delicious. I don’t care how many calories it has.

And the fact it comes with a golf-ball-sized house-made chocolate chip semifreddo cookie as a side? There’s no way this dessert could be improved upon. Semifreddo – Italian for “half-cold” – is really a fancy way of saying “ice cream cookie.”

Created by one of Osteria’s sous chefs, the hot chocolate is new on the menu for this winter.

So how can hot chocolate be so good?

Let’s start with the milk/cream mixture, which arrived steamed and infused with Indonesian vanilla, star anise, orange zest and brown sugar. I had previously (and sagely) been advised to have a sip of the milk itself before adding the chocolate to it. If Osteria’s hot chocolate is the nectar of life, maybe the milk/cream could be what you’d drink at the fountain of youth?

There’s enough milk for this to be a dessert for two. (And then you can split something solid too, like the tiramisu, which is also fairly freaking spectacular.)

And then there’s the chocolate. Quarantined in its own stainless steel tub, it rather looks like a truffle. Not a dainty, too-pretty-to-eat Oscar Ortega truffle, but a sniffed-out-by-pigs truffle. It is a full-on chocolate truffle though. A rustic chocolate truffle. Knobbles and nubbins protrude around its surface.

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