I hear from the waiters this dessert might be scaring the restaurant's customers. Really? Seriously? Come on now. Please. This dessert, this flavor combination is a nerdy kindergartner compared with, let's say, American Mustard ice cream. It's gingerbread for cod's sake! Gingerbread. Made spicy with organic ground ginger. (All dried spices & herbs in the USA are irradiated unless stated otherwise.) Irradiation removes much of that spice/herb's flavor, so I go to a local health food store and buy all my gingerbread spices from their bulk section.
Warm vinaigrette made with brown butter & bacon fat. Unless you're on a lowfat diet (in which case would you be ordering dessert at all?), this fat combination in a vinaigrette isn't so far off a beaten path.
Gingerbread is warm. Warm flavors, warm colors, warm spices.
When creating plated desserts, or combining different foods in general, you begin seeing patterns. Pairings, whether classical or radical, come from a point of view, of taste, that certain ingredients 'go together.' Why? Why do figs & goat cheese or fresh cheese get paired together so often? Because they're in season at the same time. Cinnamon & apples, while I consider this to be the most boring cliche in the baking world, really makes sense. Apple pie feels naked, like one of those dreams where you get to school and you're naked, without even a dash of cinnamon. In certain cultures, countries, regions, flavor pairings are law. To combine 2 foods from completely different seasons would be considered the kind of sacrilege that would get a person ostracized for life.
In my creative process I think of a flavor. A season. It's cold outside. I want to be warm. I want to eat roasted meat, roasted vegetables, roasted roasty roastedness. I want deep. I want warm. I want wool & cashmere, slow sex & hot baths, caramel & chestnuts, deep sleep & toast & espresso, the scent of porridge on the stove for an hour. Warm spices are the ones you find in pumpkin pie. laid out, they could be a painters palette for a British fox hunt. Ochre, blood & brick reds, burnt sienna, dark chocolate, wet wood, a pretzel's sheen, ink, bergundy, cassis, charcoal, gold, persimmon orange, sepia.
In comes stout. Smuttynose Imperial Stout to be exact. One sexy motherfucker, if you ask me. Stout is mystery. Deep. Like falling into someone's eyes. Like stealing a kiss. Stout is a thousand secrets, none of them false. Stout is slow. Patient. Stout is black like licorice, like leather. And when you reduce it with honey? It's stoutness never departs. It gets fucking deeper, yo. And so intense you put in on a tiny tea spoon (no squeeze bottles on my station) and take your hat off to it, when drawing your inky line on the plate. Deference. Stout is bitter, is sweet, is a library of adjectives, none of them on spot.
And now all the components on the plate are warm, spicy, fatty, salty. You need a break. You need something completely different.
With all flavors, temperatures, hues, reprieve is needed. Fat needs acid. Sugar-- salt. Sharp & crunchy gets old unless a bit of soft, plush, is added to the mix. Paintings in primary colors hurt the eyes, but once a bit of mixing takes place, everything calms. 'Makes sense.'
And so, after all the warmth of gingerbread, and the fatty warmth of bacon and brown butter; while there's acid in the vinaigrette, one needs a bit of lightness, a component with neither sugar nor salt. And so, even though lebne is a full fat yogurt, and very sour, when whipped, it takes on another persona. It's light, it's bright. It's air. A breath.