Creative confections THAT offer a decadent twist
By Shaké Ajamian
Photography by Christopher DeVargas
Star-studded entertainment, Michelin-rated dining and upscale shopping from the world’s finest retailers draw more than 40 million visitors every year to Las Vegas. But our most decadent and unique desserts are just as over-the-top as the attractions that made us famous. So let the sugar rush begin.
Earning the title of Most Expensive Dessert in the Guinness World Records back in 2007 was no small feat. At Serendipity 3 (Caesars Palace, 702.731.7373), the Golden Opulence Sundae is priced at the princely sum of $1,000 and is truly fit for royalty. A Harcourt Baccarat crystal goblet is first lined with edible, whisper-thin sheets of pure 23-karat gold leaf. Three scoops of creamy Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream are gently placed, one atop the other, infused with vanilla bean from Madagascar. Possibly the most expensive chocolate in the world, Amedei Porcelana is then drizzled on top, with pieces of Chuao chocolate (made from rare cocoa beans harvested from the coast of Venezuela), French truffles, gold dragées from Switzerland and candied fruits gently scattered on top. A small dish of Grand Passion Caviar, sweetened with passion fruit, fresh orange and Armagnac is nestled to the side, while an edible sugar flower painted in gold gently rests on top. The sumptuous dish is then eaten with a gold spoon. The best part? Both the crystal goblet and the spoon are yours to keep, presented in a keepsake box.
Rick’s Tasting Game at RM Seafood (The Shoppes at Mandalay Place, 702.632.9300) is one seriously fun dessert. Created by eco-conscious celebrity chef Rick Moonen, this dish originated as a way to stump a group of wine sommeliers. Wanting to test the theory that these professionals had some of the most discerning palates in the world, Moonen set about to “deliver flavor experiences that (have) a sense of fun. Food shouldn’t be so serious!” Taking that philosophy to heart, nontraditional flavors such as strawberry champagne, basil, ricotta cheese, bacon and raspberry thyme (16 in total) were then concocted and put to the test. Chef Moonen knew he was on to something when not one sommelier discerned all 16 correctly! Think you can do it? The dessert is on the house if you’re up to the challenge.
Offering a unique twist on traditional Italian fare just in time for summer, executive pastry chef Alessandro Stoppa of Valentino (The Venetian, 702.414.3000) offers his Cool Mint Soup and Warm Chocolate Ravioli. “I wanted to create a dish where a lot of elements were at play—heat and cold, crunchy and smooth,” he said. A chilled soup, infused with refreshing mint, is topped with fresh raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries. Crispy fried dough filled with melted chocolate sits skewered on top of the fruit, garnished with fresh mint sprigs and a baked sugar almond crisp.
The marriage of dessert and alcohol is harmonious with Koi’s Buzzed Mochi (Planet Hollywood Resort, 702.454.4555) where executive chef Tim Horrock has taken traditional Japanese cuisine in a different direction. “I try to take (everyday) things and take them to another level.” Traditional mochi ice cream flavors such as strawberry and chocolate are paired with Godiva white chocolate and Frangelico, and caramel liqueurs, respectively. Mango mochi with passion fruit and Grand Marnier, and green tea mochi with Bailey’s and chocolate sauce round out the dish.
Elegance is the order of the day at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (MGM Grand, 702.891.7358). Classically trained in France, executive pastry chef Kamel Guechida’s exquisite creation of La Framboise leaves patrons breathless. A delicate white chocolate sphere houses fresh raspberries, yuzu ice cream and lemon mascarpone mousse. As a raspberry coulis is poured on top, the fuchsia ball opens up like a flower, perfectly echoing the sentiment of Guechida: “In this city, people like a little bit of a show.”