Jessica Dodds photo
At The Desserterie in Chesterfield County, Pierre Tocco, a true Frenchman with 20 years of culinary experience, creates classic, European-style cakes, tarts, pastries and cookies. Wedding and special-occasion cakes are a specialty.
Trained at the New York Institute of Technology, Tocco earned respect locally as the pastry chef at A Sharper Palate Catering Co. for more than six years before partnering with his sister and brother-in-law, Ali and Brian Bumbalo, to open this charming dessert shop in 2007. In addition to two cases filled to the brim with tempting confections, the attractive bistro offers gelato, smoothies and milkshakes, a selection of specialty coffees, and grown-up beverages. To encourage lingering into the evening and hanging out on the ample side patio, savory selections were expanded this spring to include items beyond the conventional cheese plate. (In August, The Desserterie began opening early for breakfast, too).
On a recent visit with my gal-pal London, we sipped sparkling Prosecco and dallied over an appetizer sampler. The creamy cannellini-and-sundried-tomato spread was our favorite, but the refreshing cucumber-yogurt dip with just a hint of mint paired nicely with the thin, grilled flatbreads for noshing. London opted for the chicken, proscuitto, Camembert and baby-spinach panini with apricot chutney — which was delightfully decadent but a tad too sweet for a sandwich. Her yummy cup of potato, cheddar and bacon soup, however, was rich and hearty. My poached shrimp wrap with cilantro, lime and cucumbers (served with a satisfying side of Israeli cous cous with minced roasted peppers) was pleasantly light, almost like spa food — a good thing since we felt compelled to conclude with three desserts between the two of us.
The chocolate Disaronno cake (shown above) could make any chocoholic swoon, and the traditional cream puff did take me back to Paris if just for a minute, but the pineapple-coconut cake took the grand prize. Layers of sweetly moist coconut cake slathered with pineapple curd were encased in whipped cream and covered in pink toasted coconut, creating a delectably dreamy dessert that was as pretty as it was delicious.
If you crave a treat, you can waste the calories on grocery store bonbons or you can visit The Desserterie for a truly worthy indulgence.