May 1, 2012

National Chocolate Parfait Day

"You know what else everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, 'Let's get some parfait,' they say, 'HELLO NO! I don't like no parfait'? Parfaits are delicious!" - Donkey (from Shrek)

It's National Chocolate Parfait Day!

I guess I never stopped to consider the difference between a sundae and a parfait. I honestly thought they were the same thing (shows you how often I order them: gimme a straight scoop on a cone, none of this frilly stuff that I need a dang spoon to eat it with!). But, today I learned that a parfait, meaning "perfect" in French, has been used to describe certain frozen desserts made from sugar, egg, and cream since the late 1800's. It also refers to a "smooth meat paste."

Yup, we're sticking to the animal-free version here, thankyouverymuch.

Stateside, we've really perfected the parfait (or is that "perfected the perfect", or, "parfaited the perfect", or "parfaited the parfaited"? Confused? Moi aussi). Basing the idea on the French-style dessert, Americans went ahead and made a dessert with layered ice cream, whipped cream, fresh fruit, and sometimes liqueur served in a tall, clear glass.

Kinda sounds like a sundae, right? So what's the difference?!

Sundaes use ice cream as their base, where parfaits may use hard serve, soft serve, frozen custard, frozen whipped cream, etc. Also, parfaits aren't generally tossed into a bathtub-sized container with oozing sauces, rainbow colored sprinkles, and cherries on top (okay, okay, so what I ate today had cherries on top . . . that's just because I had them in the house and they have to get eaten. I swear I'm not crossing the streams!). They're served in smaller glasses, because they tend to be more culinarily crafted.

And now you're all the wiser, foodies.

Happy National Chocolate Parfait Day!