We already celebrated the grand parfait back in April with National Chocolate Parfait Day. But the thing about parfaits is that they don’t necessarily have to be made of chocolate pudding, or even be sweet, for that matter. While the French version of a parfait is a frozen dessert made from eggs, cream, and sugar syrup, the American definition is a layered dessert of pudding, parfait cream, ice cream, and/or Jell-O, and basically anything else you want to put in. Savory parfaits also exist–and they can include mashed potatoes, baked beans, and even pulled pork! Not sure if I want to try one of those out for National Parfait Day…but I guess the option’s always open 😉
But if you’re adventurous in other ways, and want to try a sweet parfait that doesn’t include ice cream, pudding, or even parfait cream, you’ll want to head to Victory Garden. The popular ice cream shop doesn’t actually sell traditional ice cream at all–because most of the ice creams here are made with goat’s milk! Lactose-free and naturally low-fat, goat’s milk is a great alternative to traditional dairy desserts without the many issues cow’s milk tends to bring along. All of the ingredients used in Victory Garden’s desserts are locally sourced, from the farm fresh produce out of Milford, NJ to the organic New York-sourced coffee. And one thing you should definitely get your hands on is their unique parfait, made with raw, vegan cashew milk, cacao nibs, and–the most interesting ingredient–chia seeds. They’re not just for Chia Pets anymore! Chia seeds are actually a great ingredient from Mexico, valued for their high omega-3 content, and they make for a chewy, tapioca-like texture in an otherwise soggy, one-dimensional parfait. Add all your favorite toppings for an extra kick: while most people rave about the blueberries and granola, I really want to try using crumbled halva as a dessert topping. It will just add to the uniqueness of this particular parfait!
31 Carmine St (between Avenue Of The Americas & Bedford St)
“Next time a tapioca pudding craving hits, consider stopping by Victory Garden on Carmine Street. Here they do a Chia Seed Parfait ($7.50) where hydrated chia seeds take the place of tapioca balls and cashew milk replaces the usual whole milk (or coconut milk for Asian desserts). The result is a creamy, somewhat nutty pudding sweetened with a light hand of agave nectar and your choice of two toppings. A blueberry and raw cacao combination is most popular, but I’m partial to the blueberry and crumbled halva pairing. Very few places in this city offer halva as a topping, so don’t miss out.”–Serious Eats
“Tapiocalike, with homemade cashew milk subbing for dairy and agave for sugar. Top it with cacao nibs or halvah.”–New York Magazine
“This creamy white parfait has all the flounce and frills of a traditional parfait yet is extremely healthy: It’s made with chia seeds, cashew milk and agave syrup. The result is delicate and mild with a soft, creamy texture much like a thin tapioca. In all honesty, the flavor is a tad similar to pancake batter. I know that doesn’t sound very appetizing but I just want to emphasize that this is not the kind of flamboyant dessert that lunges at you like, say, a nutella crepe. Nor does it evoke the same excitement as ice cream or gelato. It’s a mild and gentle dessert for when you’re in the mood for something uber-healthy and also satisfying. The latter part relies heavily on which toppings you choose. I haven’t gone through all the possible combinations but my favorite combo is granola and blueberry. The parfait pictured above is topped with shredded coconut and strawberry–kind of an unusual combination but surprisingly the textures and flavors work well together.”–Various Comestibles
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“one word for you: chia parfait! It will change your life! one of the best things I have eaten in a while. I had it with fresh strawberry rhubarb compote and halevah, its not super sweet but it has this incredibly luxurious texture and rich subtle flavor. It is by far the best vegan/raw dessert I have ever had.”–Nina R.
“When I went they had 4 different flavors. My friend got orange blossom vanilla, while I got the chia seed parfait, mostly because I saw it in NY magazine. The toppings I got were pistachios and honey comb candy. The chia seed parfait was delicious and completely new tasting, however for the size I got it was definitely not worth the money. The honey comb candy was delicious and I never had honey comb candy before so it was really cool.”–Claudia M.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!