Consider the strawberry: rich and red, bursting with seductive juices. Whether paired with a glass of champagne or floating in rich, dark chocolate, strawberries boast qualities long considered love potions. Even Shakespeare's Othello gave a strawberry embroidered handkerchief to Desdemona; the gift that entrapped her in a web of tragedy.
Why do we still celebrate the strawberry?
Trish Mullaney, owner of the Dessert Deli Gourmet Bakery and Cafe, in the Maple-Forest Plaza in Williamsville, has a theory. "Strawberries are difficult to have 12 months out of the year, so when we do have them, it is special," she says. There's a demand for anything strawberry-related at this time of year, particularly in a pull-out-all-the-stops dessert.
"Our strawberry chocolate ganache cake is perfect for a Valentine's Day celebration, whether it's an intimate meal for two or for a bigger gathering," says Mullaney. That particular cake is the most popular item among the 30-something desserts on display each day.
Bakers, prep workers, and pastry chefs create the customized caloric concoction: Three layers of chocolate cake are filled with whipped cream and strawberry slices. A chocolate buttercream icing is applied, and dark chocolate ganache is poured over the top. Chocolate-dipped strawberries provide the finishing touch.
"We tell our customers that if they take the strawberry chocolate ganache to a party, they will definitely be invited back."
- Brenda Alesii