|Only Disney can get away with using a rat as a restaurant decor motif|
Last year's Spring Break voyage onboard the Disney Dream cruise ship was so fantastic that everyone in the family couldn't wait to go again this year. I was keen to try Remy or Palo, the romantic, adults-only restaurants, but hesitated since the no-extra-cost dinners at the family restaurants were already on par with the type of fine dining we'd splurge on for an anniversary dinner. As I was looking through the Onboard Activities, the Pompidou Dessert Experience at Remy, also listed as the Remy Dessert Party, immediately caught my eye. Scheduled mid-afternoon during our Day at Sea, it was the perfect opportunity to indulge in my favorite food category. This was definitely a far cry from the free flow of soft serve ice cream that I would have otherwise had for my afternoon snack. And instead of replacing a fine dining meal, I was adding an additional one into my day. Great idea, if you ask me.
|A picture of Gasteau's kitchen from the movie Ratatouille decorated the wall|
Discovering that this was our first time at Remy, our server made sure to point out all the special details as we walked through the dining room. Whereas the rest of the ship was the realm of Mickey Mouse, this fine restaurant incorporated images of Remy, the rat from Pixar's Ratatouille movie, throughout its decor (see first picture). Remy hid out atop light fixtures, on seat backs, in the broad strokes of the wall decor and entwined in the railings. This small restaurant's size was a contrast to the cavernous main dining rooms. Passing through a Art Nouveau style room, we were seated in Chez Gasteau, the private Chef's Table dining room. Sepia-tinted images from the movie decorated the elegant, wood paneled room and made me start mentally planning a return trip to Paris. A wall of windows let us gaze out on the waves and let in plenty of natural light. I imagine that the view isn't quite as good at dinner when it's dark outside.
|Chef Cedrix in the toque (chef hat) and Aris with the wine flight|
Executive Chef Cedrix from France and Aris, the sommelier from Greece, welcomed us and began explaining the wonderful meal we had ahead of us. While I had been thinking that Pompidou was a reference to Paris' modern art museum which didn't seem to fit in with the theme, Chef Cedrix reminded us that Pompidou is the name of the pastry chef in the movie. Ahhh, that made much more sense. The menu listed a series of six desserts — yes, SIX — and Aris offered up an optional tasting flight of three dessert wines. At first, I doubted that even I with my love of all things sweet could manage six desserts. As each dish came out, I realized that each one was exquisitely prepared and could be consumed in a few bites. As described, it was truly a "dessert experience," not a glutton-fest.
|Not the typical Piña Colada|
A team of servers brought our first dessert offering to the table, setting each plate down at the same time so there was no pesky waiting for everyone's food to arrive. As we enjoyed the dish, Chef Cedrix explained that it was their interpretation of a Pina Colada. This version was a lighter-than-air whipped foam that dissolved on my tongue leaving a whiff of pineapple and coconut. Tender tidbits of fresh pineapple emerged at the bottom of the conical glass, and coconut slivers and lime zest adorned the top. This experience was off to an awesome start.
Next out was the Pomme Verte which translates into"green apple" sitting in a little well on a plate with a super wide rim that emphasized the delicateness of this morsel. A touch of edible silver foil decorated the vibrant green gelee.
Cutting into the Pomme Verte with my spoon, I was surprised by how many elements were under the gelee. A pink sponge cake formed the bottom, and both cream and and apple filling hid inside. It was very tasty, and I somehow managed to spread this out into three bites, wanting to prolong the experience.
|One of the dessert wines in the optional tasting flight|
After Chef Cedrix explained each dessert, he would retreat back into the kitchen to oversee preparation of the next course. Meanwhile, our sommelier, Aris, told us about the various dessert wines that were part of the tasting flight. I'm not much of a wine drinker, so this was the first time I had sipped these varieties. The 2010 La Fleur d'Or Sauternes comes from partially raisined grapes grown in the Bordeaux region of France, Since my husband often visits Hungary on business, he was particularly interested in the 2007 Disznoko Tokaji Aszu from that country. Our last wine was a 2012 Pillitery Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Ice Wine from Canada in which the grapes are picked while frozen and then quickly rushed to the press resulting in a more concentrated sweetness.
The last of our fruity desserts was a Citron Croustillant reminiscent of a lemon meringue tart. Unlike most tarts, the crispy shell was turned upside down with the custardy filling beneath it. Browned meringue peaks dotted the top. Once again, this was another yummy dessert.
Halfway through, phew...
Dessert course #4 was a Paris Brest, an classic French pastry created in 1910 to commemorate the Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race, a precursor of the modern day Tour de France. The standard version is much larger, round like a bicycle wheel, and so high in calorie that you pretty much have to become a cyclist to burn off the calories. The one that sat in front of me was thankfully much smaller. Towering swirls of hazelnut pastry cream filling was sandwiched between a halved profiterole. A dollop of praline ice cream accompanied it on the other side of the elongated plate.
Chef Cedrix described the first chocolate dessert as an extra fancy Kit Kat. That was an understatement. Originally created by the famous chef Alain Ducasse. I was amazed by how many components made up this small bar that was only a bit bigger than my finger. A high gloss coating of chocolate with a touch of edible gold leaf enrobed the entire bar. Inside, layers of crisp hazelnut praline wafers and chocolate mousse were hidden from view. Delicious!
The final course was a Chocolat Menthe standing in for an after dinner mint. This dessert looked deceptively simple with a dark chocolate disk with gold leaf sitting on top of a round chocolate sponge cake. But each bite I took unveiled a new element. The first bite revealed that what I mistook for chocolate cake was really a subdued mint mouse with a thin layer of chocolate cake on the outside. With the next bite, a chocolate sauce emerged from the middle making me realize that the mousse was in a ring instead of a solid circle. I wish the chef told us how such a delicacy is created, but I suppose that they, like magicians, need to keep some secrets of the trade to keep the magic alive.
|Popping open a bottle of Taittinger champagne|
As our dessert experience ended, Aris came around and poured everyone a complimentary glass of Taittinger Champagne. After all those dessert wines, it seemed so dry and fizzy. Hubby is a teetotaler, so I drank his glass, too. (I later realized that this was all much more than I usually drink and was unable to face the mass of kiddos at the Youth Club. I delegated going in to extract our girl to hubby instead.) Chef Cedrix went table to table and autographed the souvenir menus along with presenting a bag of macarons for each of us to take away.
|A delicious send off|
I would highly recommend the Pompidou Dessert Experience at Remy. The preparation and taste of each course was fantastic, and it's one of those "meals" that will stand out in my memory — and not just because it was comprised completely of dessert and liquor. The service and waitstaff at all the restaurants onboard the Disney Dream are first rate. I liked that the ones at Remy set themselves apart by being attentive with a cool Parisian reserve you'd expect to find at a romantic restaurant instead of the friendly chattiness I found at the family ones.
IF YOU GO:
- Reserved for guests who are 18 years and up only; No children allowed.
- Usually offered at 3:30PM on the Day-at-Sea.
- The cost for the Pompidou Dessert Experience is $50 per person and includes a glass of complimentary champagne, wine or a cocktail. Water, still or with gas, is an additional charge ($5 for a large bottle) which was not mentioned upfront. The optional wine tasting flight is $25 per person and not everyone at the table has to order it. Gratuity is not included.
- Making a reservation in advance is recommended, although you can check for availability after boarding. Cancel at least 24 hours beforehand to avoid charge.
- Dress in accordance with the elegant atmosphere. For brunch and mid-afternoon, dress pants and a shirt are required for men. A jacket is optional. A dress or pantsuit is required for women. Please no jeans, shorts, capri pants, sandals, flip-flops or tennis shoes.
- The meal lasted just a tad longer than one hour. Since courses are brought out to all tables at the same time, I was mindful not to linger too long on each dish as I can be an abysmally slow eater.
- An envelope with instructions for where and what time to meet will be left at your stateroom door the day beforehand.
Which dessert tantalizes you the most?
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