Chef Chat

Epicure Café's Berry Cake and Tokaji

When we sat down with Chef Jalal Esmailkhanloo of Epicure Café, we couldn't help but eye the delicious pastry case. So what did we do? We grabbed a piece of the berry cake and a glass of the 2008 Bodvin Tokaji Sarga Muskotaly, of course.

We were intrigued when Chef Esmailkhanloo told us that the beautiful berry cake was low in sugar and fat. How can a cake still taste good when all the goodness is removed? Chef Esmailkhanloo's brother, Amir, fills the airy sponge cake with a mixture of berries and tops the cake with apricot glaze. We paired the cake with the Bodvin Tokaji dessert wine from Epicure Café's collection because Chef Esmailkhanloo assured us that the Bodvin would complement any dessert in the case.

Before you turn your nose up at the thought of a dessert wine, try the Bodvin. This Hungarian wine has a nice peach and honeysuckle flavor. It's sweet but not cloying. You could drink it on its own, but it paired very well with the berry cake.

The berry cake reminded us of gourmet strawberry shortcake but without the fresh whipped cream. It was fresh and light, perfect for a summer afternoon. Plus, you don't have to feel guilty about eating dessert, since this one is low in fat and sugar. And, no it didn't taste like diet food.

But we all need a little decadence every now and then, which is where the wine came in. The natural sweetness of the berries highlighted the soft, refreshing flavors of the Bodvin Tokaji. Some dessert and wine pairings leave you begging for water, but not this one. Instead, the combination made you want to keep taking a bite of cake and then a sip of wine until both were gone.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jane Catherine Collins