What It Is: Just as savory chefs have given credit to the small farmers who supply them with seasonal produce, pastry chefs are starting to identify a new wave of artisanal chocolate producers by name on menus.
Who's Doing It: Daniel offers single-estate Venezuelan chocolate fondant with nougatine milk jam ($15); Cru’s chocolate financier ($9) is made from Luz Y Guia Campesina.
Salt and Chocolate
What It Is: While salt was once the territory of savory chefs, pastry chefs are reaching for the shaker as well. Salt wakes up the chocolate flavor, and it cuts the dairy so the butter doesn’t taste so heavy.
Who's Doing It: Spice Market’s Cookie Bag ($7) is sprinkled with flaky Maldon sea salt; WD-50 offers salted chocolate curried almonds (left) with complimentary petit fours; Jean Georges’s frozen chocolate parfait is crowned with salted butter froth (offered as part of the $87 prix fixe.)
Gourmet Junk Food
What It Is: If you look back wistfully on a childhood of candy, cupcakes, and assorted cavity-inducing treats, never fear—a slew of pastry chefs have worked junk food into their repertoires. You can eat it with a knife and fork, but why bother?
Who's Doing It: At the heart of Mix in New York’s Candy Bar is a slim, Twix-like plank filled with dacquoise ($11, left); Eleven Madison Park’s Miniature Ring Dings ($11–$12) have two layers of chocolate cake; Joseph’s Eskimo Pie ($12) is an oversize chocolate macaroon filled with chocolate sorbet.
Bread and Chocolate
What It Is: Carbs may be taking a beating, but they aren’t going down without a good fight. In fact, bread could be the new black—at least when paired with chocolate.
Who's Doing It: Little Giant’s dessert panini ($8) slather chocolate ganache over crustless slices of Sullivan Street’s Pullman; 5 Ninth has a gooey griddled brioche chocolate sandwich ($8); ’Cesca’s pizzelle ($8) is wrapped around a slab of frozen chocolate crème brûlée, with pistachio gelato on top.
What It Is: Chocolate has taken many forms over the years—molten cakes, layered terrines, vaulted soufflés. The latest shape is a luscious liquid-chocolate soup. Slurping is not only acceptable, it’s encouraged.
Who's Doing It: Marseilles infuses melted 64 percent Madagascar Swiss chocolate with cardamom, star anise, and cinnamon ($8, left); Counter ladles ancho-chili-spiked soup over chocolate-fudge cake ($8); Aix’s soup is made from bitter chocolate, evaporated milk, and orange oil ($11).