If you happen to have the spectacular luck to eat one of the most stunning desserts we've laid eyes on in, oh, forever—a Michelin-starred restaurant's sphere-shaped sweet inspired by a scene in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory—we have a hunch your experience isn't going to stay in Vegas. Because you'll be dreaming about it for months after you leave the city, which is where this dessert can be found: at the triple-Michelin-starred restaurant Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Run by famed chef Robuchon, with desserts by pastry chef Salvatore Martone (formerly of New York City’s Four Seasons Hotel and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon), the French restaurant offers signature dishes like La Langoustine (truffled langoustine ravioli with chopped cabbage) and Le Poulet Fermier (farm chicken and foie gras with wine sauce, chestnut and black truffle gently simmered in a cocotte). But we're here today to talk about La Sphere, a magical globe involving blueberry compote, edible flowers, lemon jam, sorbet, a purple sugar nest and more.
Photo credit: MGM Resorts International.
“I love to create whimsical desserts that tell a story," says Martone. "I was researching what my next inspiration would be when I came across the scene in the movie 'Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory' where Violet Beauregarde, ignoring Mr.Wonka’s warning, steals a piece of blueberry chewing gum and begins swelling up like a balloon. From this, I knew I wanted to create a dessert that incorporated the color violet, the taste of blueberry and the sphere shape.”
The sugar globe arrives atop a small mound of lemon jam and a delicate purple nest made of sugar. Edible micro violet flowers and more lemon jam surround the sphere, which is carefully, very carefully, hand-crafted by Martone and his team. As Martone explains, “I start by cooking a sugar and glucose mixture, heating it up to 158°C (316°F). From there I use a special type of pump, similar to what glass-blowers use to expand glass, to blow the sugar into a perfect sphere.”
When you cut into the velvety filling of violet cream and blueberry compote, and blueberry yogurt sorbet oozes from the inside, you'll know you've hit at least one jackpot on your trip.
The tasting menu at Joël Robuchon is a splurge at $445 for 18 courses, but several items are served à la carte. Thankfully, they include La Sphere, priced at $25 a pop.
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