Ah, ambrosia: food of the gods! Literally :P In ancient Greek mythology, ambrosia was a food that granted immortality and was restricted only to the divine. But in modern times, the culinary definition of ambrosia has changed dramatically. A kind of fruit salad, ambrosia is a mixture of all the bite-sized cuts of fruit you expect in a fruit cocktail–pineapples, mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries, etc.–but mixed in with miniature marshmallows and shredded coconut. Sometimes, all these components of ambrosia are folded into a pudding or whipped cream. Ambrosia always feels more like a fully composed dessert instead of a combination of fruits like fruit cocktail. I’ve only had ambrosia once in my life, with my ex-boyfriend’s family. It was messy, it didn’t look like much, but when you tucked into that pudding topped with toasted, shredded coconut, and found little pieces of fruit like sweet surprises all throughout the pudding, it was absolutely delicious!
Ambrosia is an incredibly easy dessert to make, and as such is far more a home-cooked dessert for entertaining rather than a dish you order in a restaurant. So, rarely will you find a fruit cocktail pudding with mini-marshmallows available in a high-end restaurant in New York City! You will, however, find a few things that are related to ambrosia in their flavor profiles–and get a lot more out of it than a fruit salad. The popular chocolate shop Vosges Haut Chocolat makes a decadent chocolate truffle with the flavors reminiscent of traditional ambrosia. White chocolate, macadamia nuts, and a splash of Cointreau makes the ambrosia truffles a treat for your mouth that goes far beyond mini-marshmallows and diced pineapple. Vosges makes some of the best truffle flavor combinations in the city, and if you order one, you’re gonna want more. Good thing their truffle samplers are well in stock for the holidays! Just tell them that you’re ordering the ambrosia truffles for a loved one–and make sure you wait till you’re out of sight of the front window before you gorge yourself on these little lovelies!
Vosges Haut Chocolat
132 Spring St (between Greene St & Wooster St)
“Chocolatier Katrina Markoff’s exotic gourmet truffles — with fabulous names such as absinthe, mint julep, wink of the rabbit, woolloomooloo, and ambrosia — are made from premium Belgian chocolate and infused with rare spices, seasonings, and flowers from around the world. Vosges’s other signature treat — a chocolate and bacon candy bar — sounds bizarre but has developed a cult following.”–Frommers
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“As I bit into the first one, the ambrosia, that look crossed my face. You know the one right when you are about to, um, hit that moment of utter bliss in the bedroom. You know how sometimes it’s just so fuckin good that you are afraid of what would happen if you have too much? Yeah, this is another one of those moments. Yup. NIBBLE.”–Maria M.
“Although the chocolates are on the pricier side of things (a box of four truffles start at $10.50), the store is never in want of customers. I recommend the Naga (coconut and sweet curry powder), the Black Pearl (wasabi, ginger, black sesame), the Balsamico (balsamic vinegar), and Ambrosia (white chocolate and rum) to start with. After that, let your curiosity get the better of you.”–Yosh H.
Another ambrosia-reminiscent treat in New York City isn’t a fruit cocktail at all…but it is quite a cocktail! Ovelia in Astoria aptly names their signature drink the Ambrosia, because it tastes absolutely divine. A sangria made with blush wine, the ambrosia sangria is super-sweet yet refined, replacing sangria staple fruits like lemons and grapes with kiwis and strawberries. It’s an utterly refreshing drink that you can share with your whole table as you away Greek tapas and fantastic dips. Where better to have a glass of ambrosia than a Greek restaurant? Try a glass–or order a whole pitcher!–today!
34-01 30th Ave, Astoria
“Ovelia serves as one of the Greek cafes on 30th Ave, but also has a substantial food menu that offers everything from grilled halloumi cheese to some seriously delicious barbecue ribs. Ovelia also offer sangria – both in classic red and another called ambrosia sangria (pictured above). The latter sangria is unique, as it’s made with rosé wine. It’s flavored with kiwis and strawberries, and is simply a beautiful drink, not to mention refreshing. Ovelia’s sangria can be ordered by the glass or the pitcher.”–About.com
“And I must write a bit about the Ambrosia Sangria. This was an unusual take on the classic mix of wine and fruit – the base was a dry rosé wine populated with bits of strawberries and kiwis. It was beautiful, and yes – a bit girly, but I like girly drinks (I’ve enjoyed many a cosmo over the years). We were all delighted by this drink.”–Harmonious Belly
“One of my personal favorites here, we all enjoyed a glass, and with extra incentive because it was part of the happy hour special at only $5/glass. Made of rose wine and tropical fruits such as kiwi and strawberry, the cocktail is wonderfully refreshing and effervescent. We gotta admit, it’s a drink for the ladies.”–We Heart Astoria
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“This place’s menu is so unique. Like New Greek or Greek fusion I guess is the closest way to explain it. The Greek Tapas looked and sounded good, but the halloumi and octopus portion of it disappointed a little bit. But the Ouzo vermicelli? HELLOOO delicious. Their ambrosia sangria was awesome. Their brunch menu looks insane and I can’t wait to go back and try it.”–Kyri K.
“The brunch foods have a subtle Greek-inspired twist to them, which is a nice change from typical brunch fare (how many weeks in a row can you have eggs benedict?) The ambrosia sangria is delicious and refreshing, and their mojitos are some of the best I’ve ever had.”–Dio K.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!