Thursday, December 8, 2011

Finale Dessert and Wine Tasting, Boston

Is there anything cozier than gazing across a table at your sweetie, your forks clinking over a decadent dessert, and a glass of wine lulling you into the evening as the snow swirls outside?  I didn't think so.  It's tough sometimes though to find that perfect spot to simply share a dessert, and that is where Boston's own Finale steps in.  Opened in 1998 as the brainchild of Harvard Business School grads, it has long since withstood the test of time with its offering based almost entirely in the dessert category.  I've had mixed feelings on the place for the past few years, but was lured back in recently to try a late fall sampling of their desserts.  

We began our journey with an Apple Cranberry Pie, paired with a Banylus, a red French dessert wine.  The combination of sweet apples and tart berries was a lovely mix, and the pie was cooked well throughout, however it didn't shine out to me as a stellar pie.  However, my mom makes the best apple pie so its entirely possible I'm a bit bias.  The wine pairing however was really lovely.  The Banylus was rich and sweet without being overpowering and when sipped just before a bite of the pie, I found stronger notes of cinnamon and spice from the dessert.  

We moved on to Pineapple Upside Down Cake, which was paired with a lovely Italian Moscato.  The cake was absolutely delicious.  I often stay away from this homespun classic fearing it will be too sweet, or the pineapple will overpower.  Finale's version concentrates on wonderfully buttery spongy cake, a nice piece of pineapple lending fresh sweetness, and is topped with an almost bitter caramel sauce to balance it.  The combination is wonderful, elevating yet not overshadowing this cake.  The Moscato was a nice pick with it, though it was a bit sweet for my liking.

Next was the Pumpkin Cheesecake which I was prepared to dislike, to be frank.  Cheesecake and I don't always love each other.  Often I find it too tangy and it ruins the experience for me, however Finale's rendition was full of pure pumpkin flavor and was far creamier than the cheesecakes I feared.  The result was incredibly decadent, with the flavor of pumpkin puree combined simply with cream.  This was paired with Dr. Loosen Late Harvest Riesling Auslese, which was light, crisp and sweet.  

We then tried out the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie.  Pecan Pie is my weakness -I absolutely love the stuff.  Its sweet, decadent,'s perfection.  Finale's version has a chocolate base layer that is a nice addition, though in my book, not needed.  This was paired with a beautiful Vin Santo, which, when paired with the pie, brought out notes of orange which was lovely and created a bit of diversity in the dish.  

Finally we dug into the Peanut Butter Pie- layers of peanut butter mousse, peanuts and chocolate ganache, all together a perfect harmony.  This is a far cry from what your mother might have made when you were little, but the upscale rendition was perfection with notes of creamy mousse, bitter chocolate and salty peanuts in wonderful harmony. This was served with my go to Port- a 10 year Tawney.  I found the combination a bit unpleasant on this one- the port, sweet on its own, became slightly bitter in the face of the very sweet pie and created a dissonance.  Something perhaps less sweet or fuller bodied might have paired a bit better here.

Overall though, I was very pleased with the Finale Tasting.  I was thrilled with the desserts chosen and will definitely return for a piece of that Pineapple Upside down Cake- that was heaven on my plate!  

Tastings like this one are held close to monthly at the Park Plaza location, and are open to the public for nominal fees. 


Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

yum! I love how much they changed the pairings from the event that I attended this summer!

Kristen said...

these pairing events are always so festive and fun! glad you enjoyed it.

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