Thursday, January 7, 2016

The best bread pudding I've ever tasted

Earlier tonight, on a whim, a group of us headed to Panciuto for dinner.  As I've written here many times, Panciuto is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere, and it owns a piece of my heart.  On a cold winter night, I love being there, eating the wonderful food of chef/owner Aaron Vandemark, talking with the servers, some of whom feel like family, and staring out at the beauty of Hillsborough's small downtown area.  When I spotted beef ribeye on tonight's menu, I could resist no longer and ended up at Panciuto.

I hadn't planned to eat dessert, but one of the two--"Pannetone bread pudding, cinnamon ice cream,
vanilla custard, honey"--was something I'd never tried before and intrigued me.  I must confess to not being a bread pudding enthusiast; though I have several friends who are, to me it's always a fine but not compelling dessert option.  Still, I ordered it.

I am so glad I did.

The dish was perfect, from the warm and substantial but not heavy bread pudding, to the best cinnamon ice cream I've ever had, to the thin drizzle of honey on top.  Every bite amazed me.

In talking with Aaron, I learned how very much effort he has to expend to make the dish and thus that it is one he prepares rarely.  I don't know how much longer it will be on the menu, but I am serious when I recommend that you drive to Panciuto the moment it opens even if you order only that one dish.  (Aaron might not like me recommending that particular dining choice; sorry, Aaron.)  Okay, indulge yourself and eat a full dinner there, and be smart and call first to make sure seats are available.  You will be glad you did.

Just do not miss this bread pudding.

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