Reimagining Dessert at SWEET

Johnny Iuzzini

Saturday’s sold-out SWEET party, the $175-per-ticket dessert extravaganza sponsored by Ferraro Rocher, Perrier Jouët Champagne, and Absolut Vodka, packed patrons — and their increasingly rounded bellies — into la.venue at the waterfront. Cocktails designed by Pegu Club’s Audrey Saunders, a fountain of Target-sponsored alcoholic milkshakes, and, of course, free-flowing Champagne and vodka, kept guests buzzing happily as they made their way to the tables, chatting up chefs like Johnny Iuzzini and Stephanie Mofir. Custards, puddings, and cupcakes ruled the aisles, and there were several gold-topped confections that seem a bit frivolous to eat in this economy (shouldn’t someone melt those down and send them to Hank Paulson?). A welcome respite from the sugar high came at stations where someone thought outside of the dessert box, like a Gruyère fondue pot or pork sliders and warm apple cider. Still, winners of the night were flawless executions of some old standards: Gramercy Tavern’s Nancy Olson brought out a pumpkin cheesecake topped with spiced cranberries that paid honorable homage to the season, and the doughy warm cookies and cold milk from Levain Bakery were the perfect send-off.