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This decadent deception at The Inn at Little Washington looks like a peach, but conceals a sweet surprise.



By Nevin Martell

Dare To Eat A Peach photo by Greg Powers; Forbidden Apple photo courtesy of Lupo Verde Osteria; Mandarin photo by Laura Ashbrook Photography


Playful pastry chefs are presenting surprising sweets that mimic nature’s candy, but turn out to be so much more.

How’s this for a tasty tease? The Dare to Eat a Peach at The Inn at Little Washington ($238 tasting menu, 309 Middle St., Washington, Va., 540.675.3800) initially confuses guests. But when they dig their forks in, they realize it’s forged from mousse and a core of poached peaches. “We love playing with our food,” says gourmand Patrick O’Connell. He’s not the only one.

“So many guests tell their dining companions, ‘Don’t touch it; I need to take a picture first,’” says Lupo Verde Osteria pastry chef Santamaria. “I have to remind them to stop staring at it and start eating it.”

Lupo Verde Osteria (4814 MacArthur Blvd. NW, 202.506.6683) corporate pastry chef Dayron Santamaria offers up the Forbidden Apple ($15) to tempt modern-day Adams and Eves. A red-dyed white-chocolate glaze covers citrus white-chocolate vanilla-bean mousse; small, diced and roasted spiced apples; spice cake; and a chocolate stick. A basil leaf adds a natural touch. Accompanying it all are an almond cookie, raspberry sauce and a clear citrus gel. It’s garnished with edible flowers.

To complete his dessert at Mandarin Oriental, Frigara dapples the citrus with gold leaf and dots the plate with orange foam.

Meanwhile, Mandarin Oriental (1330 Maryland Ave. SW, 202.554.8588) dessert dynamo Christophe Frigara crafts the hotel’s namesake ($8) into a dainty treat hiding marmalade and mousse made from the star citrus. Getting your recommended daily serving has never been so sweet.