Sugar High! Flambé Bombe at ¡Duino! (Duende) | Bite Club

Sugar High! Flambé Bombe at ¡Duino! (Duende)


Flambé Bombe at ¡Duino! (Duende) - MELISSA HASKIN
  • Melissa Haskin
  • Flambé Bombe at ¡Duino! (Duende)

 When I'm served something like the item in the photo above, my expectations tend to be high. They certainly were when I ordered the Flambé Bombe at ¡Duino! (Duende) in Burlington last weekend.

Even before I saw it, the description was alluring: "A thin layer of flourless chocolate cake with fig compote & local chocolate chip vanilla bean ice cream, topped with fresh meringue, served en fuego."

I’m a fan of chocolate and ice cream, and both these things on fire — why not?

I placed my order with the blessing of the waitress, who told me the cake was her favorite thing on the menu. She returned with a plate, a butane lighter and a little cup holding 100-proof rum. She poured the rum over the small pile of dessert and cautioned me to sit back while she lit it. The white meringue slowly erupted in fire with the continuous help of the server's lighter.

Finally, flames danced all around. The waitress took her exit, telling my dining companion and me to blow out the fire when we felt like it, or let it burn out on its own. With the outside of the dessert already charred, we got to work huffing and puffing. My hand was on my fork even before the fire was out, and a moment later I was digging in. That took a little more work than I expected, because the ice cream was rock-solid frozen.

On first bite, we agreed that we had let the bombe burn too long. Since the layer of meringue was so thin, all that remained was a burnt taste and none of the light fluffy happiness of the whipped eggs. A little more meringue also would have prevented the alcohol from soaking into the cake. I would have preferred a pile of charred meringue on top than a thin layer coating everything. The rest of the dessert — the cake, the ice cream, the fig compote — was cold or room temperature. 

In fact, the cake would have benefited from some heat. Its texture wasn’t great, and somehow it tasted a little dry. I’m not sure how or why, since flour is the dry ingredient in cake and this was a flourless cake. The chocolate flavor was unremarkable. A short toss in the microwave would have helped make the texture gooier, and the ice cream a little meltier. By the way, our ice cream was not chocolate chip as advertised. The plain vanilla was fine, but a little crunch and extra chocolate flavor might have better served this concoction.

As for the fig compote, neither I nor my dining partner noticed it. “There was fig in there? I didn’t taste any,” she told me later. That element could have given the bombe an underlying complexity, but, unfortunately, it was buried.

Something bold was needed to bring this dish together. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded a layer of hot fudge. 

The Flambé Bombe seems fixable. But this one just flamed out.

Sugar High! is a weekly exploration of the Vermont dessert scene. It features everything from chefs to recipe tips to the best sweets on Vermont menus. Got an idea for something you'd like to see in Sugar High? Email [email protected].

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