The Dish: Panna Cotta with Peach, Oats and Tarragon

2012-08-27T10:15:00Z 2014-09-07T13:30:53Z The Dish: Panna Cotta with Peach, Oats and TarragonContributor's pick by Jennifer Johnson | Photography by Jonathan Gayman Feast Magazine | Inspired Local Food Culture/Midwest

When I’m considering dessert, chocolate trumps most. But Taste has effortlessly lured me toward the road less traveled. On a recent date night away from “toddler land,” we anticipated an uninterrupted adventure through Taste’s savory seasonal small plates paired with its celebrated cocktails. Dessert wasn’t my first consideration.

The Sweets category was prominently displayed on the menu, and Panna Cotta with Peach, Oats and Tarragon had me immediately intrigued. I was presented with a traditional-looking custard dish garnished with delicate fried tarragon leaves. The herb’s subtle, licorice-like aromatics greeted me first. Passion fruit and peaches are the custard’s prominent flavors, and the dish’s intermingled textures – creaminess, crispy leaves and toasty oats – are thoughtfully balanced.

The dish is delightfully light, splendid on a hot day, and its flavors are so engaging that I had no regrets polishing it off. Though late-harvest dessert wine comes to mind, I suggest requesting a cocktail pairing. Go with the Arnaud, made of Plymouth gin, Crème de Cassis and Dolan’s dry vermouth. The extracted nature of black currant seems meant for the dessert’s exotic richness, and the drink accents the dish’s intense honey notes without competing with its flavors.

Taste by Niche, 4584 Laclede Ave., Central West End 314.361.1200, tastebarstl.com

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