A Marshmallow Cream Dream – The Marshmallow-Caramel Coppetta Dessert in a Jar at Trattoria Mercatto, Part III!

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I’m totally, completely obsessed with restaurant dessert menus.  Everywhere I go now, I ask for one, even if I’m not entirely sure I want a dessert (I need to carefully consider my options; a dessert means no cupcake later on in the day!).  Let it be known though that I never used to be.  I mean, I’ve always loved the idea and existence of dessert menus (goodness knows how many I’ve drooled over throughout the years), I’ve just never enjoyed the treasures from them.  But now, I have a growing collection of fabulous desserts I’ve photographed and written about and it’s become one of the funnest things to do on the blog! 

We have the Austrian apricot jam crepes from Old Country Inn, the spicy Mexican chocolate mousse from Milagro, the sweet and adorable strawberry custard trifle at Simple Bistro, the bright and juicy citrus tart with candied orange and cream from Sen5es, and the green tea cheesecake from Sushi Time.  I loved them all and it’s a head scratcher, even for me, as to why I haven’t taken advantage of more dessert menu items.  You all know how deeply I adore dessert.  In my world, dessert is a meal in and of itself!

So, why the sudden change of heart and course of action in relation to restaurant desserts?  Before, I never used to order dessert because 1) I was always too full after dinner to eat another bite, no matter how sweet, delicious and decadent, 2) some places just didn’t have dessert menus and 3) admittedy, I didn’t feel like spending extra money.  It’s not like I’m suddenly rolling in dough now (I wish!) but because of the blog, I’m much more selective and strategic about where I go, what things I want to blog about, and the yummies I think will resonate with everyone.  And dessert just happens to be one such yummy!  Fruit desserts, chocolate desserts, cakes, pastries, ice creams, mousses, you name it, I’ll find it. 

This Part III wrap-up post on Trattoria Mercatto features their decadent dessert menu in all its glory with a spotlight on their amazing, fantastical, magical marshmallow and caramel dessert!  Mercatto’s dessert (dolci) menu is all about the sweet and creamy in all different types of desserts in all different forms.  We have the 3-scoop Mad Italian gelato bowl, tiramisu with mascarpone crema, the torta di formaggio ricotta cheesecake with dulce de leche and caramelized bananas, the budino vanilla pudding with biscotti and amarena cherries, and my pick, the coppetta ($6.95) with caramel gelato from Mad Italian, salted peanuts, and marshmallow!  I really wasn’t feeling the peanuts that day so I opted for a nut-free dessert with just the caramel and marshmallow and good lord was this dessert ever DELICIOUS!  Hands down, the most delightful marshmallow dessert I have ever had.  The most delightful caramel dessert I have ever had!

My sweet and creamy dessert came in a jar (lovin’ the jars, guys!) with layers of marshmallow cream, caramel gelato, and sweet caramel sauce.  The top portion was like a heavenly, fluffy marshmallow, whipped cream cloud with ooey, gooey marshmallow cream directly underneath.  Digging a little further down unearthed the rich, creamy caramel gelato and down at the bottom was the sweet sauce.  And this jar wasn’t small!  This was a fabulous size, comparable to the circumference of a decent-sized mug.  And I loved how the textures complemented and played off one another.  The creaminess was woven in with the fun gooeyness of the marshmallows so that you had bites of airiness from the marshmallow portion and bites of cold gelato and warm sauce melting in your mouth.  So decadent, SO GOOD!   Just as a side note though, dig deeper and haul the caramel sauce from the bottom to the top.  You don’t want to do what I did and eat the layers in order.  I loved the caramel sauce but I was left with too much of it at the bottom on and no more marshmallow cream to go with it!  Silly me.  So learn from my snafu and fold the layers in.

I honestly couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed eating at Trattoria Mercatto.  I had a feeling I would like it, but I never anticipated loving it as much as I do now.  The food, the sweets, the atmosphere, the nice people – it’s all there and I can’t wait to go back again and again.

*****

Trattoria Mercatto is located at 220 Yonge Street inside The Eaton Centre on the 3rd floor on the northern, Dundas Street end of the shopping centre.  They serve 3 other locations in Toronto under the Mercatto name (Bay & Adelaide, Toronto Street, and the Mars Discovery District on College Street).  They are open for both lunch and dinner 7 days a week (Monday-Saturday 11:30am-11pm, Sunday 12pm-9pm at the Eaton Centre location).  Click HERE to view their website with menus, upcoming events, catering, news, and more!

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The Gingerbread Series – Warm Gingerbread Cake With Whipped Cream, Ice Cream & Caramel Sauce from Moxie’s!

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Finally, the long-awaited gingerbread series is here!  Okay, so maybe it hasn’t been long-awaited by everyone else, but it’s definitely long-awaited by me!  I meant to start The Gingerbread Series much sooner, but here we are smack dab in the middle-to-latter part of December.  Part of me whimpers at all the precious time I wasted while another part is just thankful the series has started and that I’m able to put something of substance in it. 

If you’ve been following my foodie and scrapbooking adventures on the blog since the beginning, you’ve probably noticed something “missing”, so to speak.  I’ve showcased breakfast diners, coffee shops, cupcakeries, vegetarian eateries, bakeries, and many others, but never anything pertaining to large chain restaurants.  You know which ones I’m referring to.  And this omission was – and is – completely intentional.  Let’s be honest with one another.  Whether we frequented large chain restaurants with our friends as teens because they were conveniently located in our suburban neighbourhoods, or because they’re so prevalent (they wouldn’t be monster chains if they weren’t!), or because we genuinely enjoy eating at these establishments, we’ve all eaten at the large chains.

When I first started writing the blog, I knew right from the get-go that I wasn’t going to write about meals and experiences from these restaurants unless there was something I just had to share with you all.  It’s hard to explain why I felt, and still feel, so adamant about this stance because so long as food brings about enjoyment, it’s ripe for the sharing, no?  I guess it’s because I wanted to steer the blog in a particular direction, focusing on independent businesses, hole-in-the-wall gems, and great food from places others may not be familiar with or know about. 

Toronto (and its surrounding suburbs) is a BIG city and I wanted to show off all the amazing, droolworthy food I love and could find, not be pinned down by places and spaces that everyone and their mother already knew about.  Not to mention, I wanted to post about different ethnic cuisines, different foods catering to dietary restrictions and intolerances, and vegetarian and vegan food, and I knew I would never be able to accomplish had I chose to post about chain establishments on such a frequent basis. 

However, I respect that others might want to know about certain foods served at these types of places and that others may not always care for the unique or the independents and prefer to find foodie enjoyment in a large chain.  We know they wouldn’t be in business if people didn’t!  As well, I’m well aware that a number of you aren’t even Torontoians or Canadians, so another way of looking at it is that everything I post is new and unknown!  In this case, I obviously have something a little more out of the ordinary to show you all and since it’s part of a holiday menu and gingerbread related, it’s worth putting up on the blog.  Just for the holiday season, Moxie’s has a warm gingerbread cake on their winter menu!

After perusing through menus online, I was ecstatic when I found out that Moxie’s was serving a gingerbread cake ($5.99) especially for the holidays.  I was really looking forward to trying it because not only was it something I could consider posting on the blog, but also because it was something I had never eaten before.  I’ve never had gingerbread cake before and I was so curious to see how Moxie’s made and served theirs. 

It blew me away.  I always try to mentally envision what my dish or meal looks like before I get it if it’s not something that I can already see from a display case, and I’m almost always wrong in my mental imagery.  This was another one of those times.  I was expecting a simple slice with the accompanying vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, but what I got was a large dish with two giant gingerbread cake wedge slices sitting on top of a caramel sauce pond with vanilla ice cream and a huge helping of whipped cream.

I was so giddy.  Dessert will do that to me.  Oh, what the heck, scratch that.  Yummy food in general will do that to me.  This is one fabulous holiday dessert and cake.  Just like the name said, the cake and sauce were nice and warm and the cake was incredibly soft and moist and not crumbly or dry in the slightest.  The caramel was smooth and fluid without being runny, watery, or stodgy, and the whole dessert was just mouthful after mouthful of warm spiced, nutmegy cake with soft whipped cream, rich sauce, and sweet vanilla ice cream.  The dish was very well-balanced.  With every bite of gingerbread cake, I had some whipped cream, sauce, and ice cream and there wasn’t a ridiculous amount of one that left the other out in the dust.  There was enough sauce and sweet accompaniments to eat with the cake and there was enough cake to swirl around the sauce.  For those who have nut allergies, beware though as I asked about nut content and there is indeed traces of nuts in the dessert, so steer clear.  

Other than it being delicious and just REALLY GOOD, the best thing about this gingerbread cake was that I could have eaten the cake without its sweet partners.  Yes, the sauce, whipped cream, and ice cream made it that much more decadent, but the cake itself was great enough to stand on its own if need be.  I found myself swirling my cake in the sauce and others because I wanted to, not because I felt compelled to.  Sometimes you glop the sauce and accompaniments on because whatever it is you’re glopping it onto is too dry or just not good enough but it certainly wasn’t the case for this cake.  It was fabulous and if you want to get your sweet teeth into it, you better do so before the 29th because the holiday menu is only in effect until December 28th!

*****

Photos taken at the Scarborough Town Centre location at 300 Borough Drive.  Moxie’s Classic Grill has locations all across Canada, click here to find different locations, to view their menus, and more.