If you expect me to unveil the location of a recently discovered sculpture by Rodin or the definitive connection between red wine consumption and heart health, you'll be disappointed, but only briefly.
I've got something better. C'est vrai. I offer you le café gourmand, a coffee/dessert combination favored by even the most waist-conscious Parisiennes. Here's the blueprint: a cup of espresso plus a trio or quartet of teeny-tiny desserts—mere tastes.
The petite size of the desserts wipes out the guilt factor and minimizes risk. If you dislike the morsel of cake, there's a mini-macaron to sample—and a Lilliputian scoop of ice cream and/or a dollop of mousse au chocolat.
I first learned about le cafe gourmand via STUFF PARISIANS LIKE, a tongue-in-cheek book by sommelier-turned-wine-expert/entrepreneur Olivier Magny. Here's how Magny describes the after-dinner treat: "The trick of le café gourmand is that though it is minimum sin, it is maximum indulgence. You have it all. Coffee and dessert. And multiple desserts to top it off. Restaurateurs with le café gourmand become the Parisian’s partners in crime: flattering his social sense of guilt, while stroking discretely his shameful gourmandise."
The dessert is perfect for sharing, and I sampled it time and time again. My daughters, however, are its true connoisseurs.
Isn't it time the U.S. joined the movement? I've heard of dessert shooters—desserts in shot glasses, but where's the coffee? Allons, enfants, let's make le café gourmand popular here, too.
Tell, me, what's your favorite full-sized dessert. Could you be happy with just a bite or two? Does the prospect of sampling three or four favorites fill you with guilt or joy?