Sweet and salty flavors were made to go together. Power duos like apple pie and cheddar, French fries and milkshakes, or caramel and sea salt are the stuff food dreams are made of. And who could forget chocolate and bacon: When pork-spiked candy bars first started showing up, bacon addicts and chocolate fiends went wild.
Now, along comes Geraldine’s restaurant in Austin to up the ante, putting its own daring twist on the pork-candy idea. Chef Stephen Bonin, formerly of Austin’s Odd Duck and Epicerie, is serving up a menu of innovative modern-American dishes, among them one standout item called the Pig Face Candy Bar.
Don't let the name scare you. Your dish will not be staring back at you. But the name isn't totally misleading, either. ”The name comes from the way the head cheese looks after it's bruleed,” Bonin tells The Feast. The dish begins with a country-style pate, made of pig heads that have been cooked with raw sugar, then formed into a rectangular bar. The bar is then topped with chow-chow, a traditional pickled-vegetable relish that in this version gets amped-up with jalapeños and pears.
Bonin drew inspiration for his playful invention from some junk food favorites: a candy bar, Cheez-its and chow chow. “The dish is fun in its appearance, which resembles a candy bar. It tastes familiar with a nostalgic twist,” notes Bonin. As for his riff on classic chow-chow, Bonin said the idea stems from his grandmother, who used pears and jalalpenos in her own recipe. "It makes such a complimentary relish for the savory and sweet bite,” Bonin says of the chow-chow.
To eat the pig face candy bar, you slice off a hunk and pile it on the accompanying housemade cheese crackers, reminiscent of Cheez-Its. Some might balk at the idea—but once you've tried this thing, chances are you're going to wonder where it's been all your life.
Photos courtesy of Geraldine’s.
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