Shekoh Moossavi has spent more than 20 years honing her craft at Ritz-Carlton hotels, in her own restaurant and bakery in California, more than two years in Paris, at École du Grand Chocolat Valrhona in Tain-l’Hermitage, France and at École Chocolat in Vancouver. After she arrived in Houston, she started sharing her knowledge with others as an instructor at Culinary Institute LeNôtre. Now she’s putting those talents to work in her own business.
Moossavi is selling her excellent cakes, cookies and candies to the general public through her website by special order. Her company is called Lady Lavender Confections, after the moniker she picked up for growing, drying and hanging the calming herb around her California production facility. (Her current facility is in northwest Houston and can be visited by appointment only.)
Moossavi, a graduate of the Florida Culinary Institute, is very particular about the ingredients she uses. For her chocolate candies and cakes, she only uses Valrhona. Her most expensive offering, the Crunch Bar cake, takes four days to make. A base layer of crushed almonds and praline feuilleté supports a thicker layer of decadent chocolate mousse. The top is dusted with cocoa powder and adorned with gold leaf. Because of the time involved and the expense of ingredients, a whole cake costs $200. This is the one to get for the person you really love.
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Less expensive cake offerings include her signature dessert, a lemon and garden thyme goat cheese cheesecake that will please people who don’t want desserts to be overly sweet. Another is the Le Fraisier, a fresh strawberry, ladyfingers, sponge cake and vanilla mousse creation. People who need to avoid sugar have options as well, since there's also a selection of sugar-free cakes, including lemon, strawberry and chocolate.
Some of the most impressive and fun of Lady Lavender’s offerings, though, are the marshmallows. They’re about an inch square and come in some Persian-influenced flavors, such as rose water, acacia honey and honey lavender. There are also inventive Pinot Noir and mimosa. All flavors together make a lovely assortment of pastels that would be at home on any after-dinner dessert plate.
Next up for Moossavi: getting ready for holiday sales. She plans to include seasonal pies and traditional bûches de Noël among her offerings for the season.
When possible, Moossavi uses local ingredients in her pastries and candies. They are preservative-free, and as such should be consumed right away. People interested in purchasing should visit the Lady Lavender website. Select caramels and marshmallows are also available at Phoenicia Specialty Foods Downtown.