Veraison is well-known for their desserts, high praise in an area like the Napa Valley, where palates are picky and ingredients need little embellishment. Somehow, Veraison manages to take the best of the best, and make them even better.
Magneto and his mom shared a rich, decadent butterscotch pudding, garnished simply with chantilly cream and adorable little orange brown butter madeleines. I had a taste, and was struck by how this simple-sounding dessert was turned into something elegant.
My dessert (top photo) was a fromage blanc cheesecake with orange puree, muscovado crumble, and vanilla sea salt. The cheesecake itself wasn’t really sweet at all, which paired perfectly with the sugary crumble. The vanilla sea salt actually tied the whole thing together, creating a dessert that was a lovely balance between sweet and savory.
My mom ordered the sorbet duo – strawberry and melon. The strawberry tasted just like the fresh wild strawberries we sampled in the French countryside, and the melon was an excellent palate cleanser.
Of course my dad had to be different, ordering a seared foie gras with strawberry balsamic gastrique, and sea salt ice cream. The foie was served on a giant piece of toasted brioche, which was yummy but mostly unnecessary because the sea salt ice cream made the most fantastic combination with the foie and gastrique already, no added carbs needed.
Magneto and I shared a bottle of the Brother Thelonius Belgian Abbey Ale during dinner. While I’m not usually a fan of heavy beers, this one was a little sweet, very smooth, and a really easy sip.
We later ordered old fashioneds with Bulleit Bourbon, expecting the usual smooth and smoky cocktail. Instead, we received strong, heady drinks that took us the rest of the meal to finish. They were indeed quite tasty, but so strong that my mom could smell mine from her seat.
There’s nothing like sharing a meal with family, and our experience in Calistoga was heightened immeasurably by our dinner at Veraison.