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Death and Rebirth – 100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die-Desserts at Chez Fonfon

Desserts at Chez Fonfon in Birmingham were my 86th dish on my personal quest to eat all 100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die. #15 if I am counting down.

Death and re-birth with a piece of cake. Yes, this happened to me. 

Serendipity brought me to my first 2017 100 Dishes experience.   I just happened to be passing through Birmingham and Chez Fonfon, open during the day hours, met my timing on this January day. I had no expectations for this visit and carried with me, the usual Meg ignorance; which in this case was blissful. 

Having visited Chef Frank Stitt’s flagship restaurant and further concluding that it was likely the best restaurant experience in my life thus far; I should have known.  They had me at the doorway.

Chez Fon Fon door

Chez Fon Fon doorway crowned with Magnolia and sparkling lights, dressed in her finest New Year wrap.

A beautifully renovated stone building, one could argue that indeed they are getting that French Cafe experience.  To me, the detail was as interesting as the food.

chezfonfon

Chez Fonfon is located in the gorgeous and historical Five Points neighborhood of Birmingham, Alabama

As an example, this photo is from my visit to the storybook town of Lyons, France.  The mixture of stone and those tall windows stand strong in honor of those who lovingly placed the mortar.

lyonshouse

Stone and brick home in Lyons, France.

This thoughtful taste transports you to France with the inside decor.   Having restored a 100-year-old, 6 bedroom, Victorian, I noticed that this restoration has been carried out perfectly. Perfect!

After my visit and from the Chez Fonfon website, I read the following explanation of this perfection.  Patrick Dunne of Lucullus on Chartres Street in New Orleans, LA is listed as the maestro of this symphony.  This shop is a Culinary Antiques, Arts and Objects Shop that is so interesting. If you are someone who gets to New Orleans, do stop in this shop.

The decor is summed up perfectly on the Chez website. “Patrick Dunne is responsible for the décor, including authentic elements such as the French Belle Epoque café tables and 100-year-old etched glass door from Lyons.  The marble wainscoting and mahogany paneling for the bar were rescued out of a glorious old Birmingham office building.”  [1]

chezbar

And that wine selection at Chez Fonfon should make wine lovers swoon

This display was from my visit to a Patisserie in Lyons, France.  The color of those walls, the artwork, the display, the culinary masterpiece displayed on silver.

lyonsbakery

Patisserie in Lyons France and guess what I bought here? A diet coke. Shame on me.

Choosing between the assortment of desserts at Chez Fonfon was difficult.  I need to get a club of people to try these dishes so that I might taste everything on one visit!

chezcake

Some of the desserts are displayed upon a silver platter atop an antique piece with a marble top.

But there was that piece missing, that was not honorable towards this masterpiece.

chez fonfon cake

Chez Fonfon Coconut-Pecan Cake

This cake looks too gorgeous to be eaten, as does the Chocolate-caramel and nut tart, Yes, please!

chezfondessert

Chocolate Caramel Nut Tart at Chez Fonfon

The Lemon Meringue Tart was served with a raspberry sauce.  Just looking at this, you know that this dessert was made by an artist.  That tart shell, that lemony goodness, that meringue, WOW!

cheztorte

Chez Fonfon Lemon tart with raspberry sauce. Sensual!

The coconut-pecan cake was not just a dessert, it was a dessert experience, served with vanilla bean cream sauce. The inside of the cake was soft, creamy, moist.  Talk about sensual.  Hands down this would be the best coconut-pecan cake that I have ever had.  Perfect!   What a treat.    I can’t imagine that these Chefs would ever read about my experience, but if they did, I would apologize for that raggedy pamphlet.  It has made many miles with me and is starting to show wear. 

chezslicecake

Chez Fonfon Coconut-Pecan Cake

One of the criteria for rating the dishes that I taste is that I die and go to heaven,  and that happened to me at both of my visits to Chef Stitt’s restaurants.  This happened when I ate my cake.   

 Arguably, The Stitt’s have killed me, twice.  And in this case, Chef Dolester Miles killed me with her outstanding cake. I have written about my experience at the flagship restaurant Highland’s Bar and Grill.

I have written about my experience at the flagship restaurant Highland’s Bar and Grill. Highland Baked Grits-100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die

 Once again in the words of my favorite poet. “For what is to die but stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun” – Kahlil Gibran

That happened when I ate that cake.  At least, this is how I can best describe the feeling.

Upon my visit to Chez Fonfon, I found not only the best tasting desserts that I can remember having but also culinary experience.  Sensuality aside, I grew wiser, I became more educated in the art of foods.

“…And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart,

  “”Your seeds shall live in my body,

And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,

And your fragrance shall be my breath,

And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons….” – Kahlil Gibran

About the Chefs.

 There has been much written about Chef Frank Stitt III and his accomplishments in Alabama.   In 2016, this restaurant was nominated for James Beards Awards. Not in one category, but in two; Outstanding Restaurant and Outstanding Pastry Chef. Nominated with restaurants from Chicago, New York, San Francisco, it’s kind of a big deal in the restaurant world. This is the eighth time that this restaurant has been nominated. Does that happen ever? Pretty much no, I recently read that only one other restaurant has had these many nominations, and that was in the big city of San Francisco.

The pastry chef has been with the Stitt restaurants since 1982.   And this past year Chef Dolester Miles was up for a James Beard Award in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category.  In the end, she did not win but I was sure rooting for her.   I absolutely love her story and I found a wonderful article written by Bob Carlson of AL.com testifying to her story and character.    This is a great read!  Dolester Miles James Bear Nominee

MEGastars off my charts 5 *****This visit exceeded my expectations and will haunt my dreams of perfect restaurant experiences throughout my living years and perhaps beyond.  Literal perfection.   Thank you to the chefs of Alabama for my education and experiences.

MEGatips

  1. Located at 2007 Eleventh Avenue South
  2. Hours of operation Tue-Thursday 11 a.m. To 10 p.m. Saturday 4:30. – 10:30 Closed Sunday and Monday
  3. From jeans to black tie attire, the dress code is casual.  The website states “but a little Parisian chic never hurts.”   Clever!
  4. No reservations are taken.   I visited at 2 p.m. and the cafe was busy but I was able to secure a table quickly.
  5. I do recommend trying food from their menu and saving room for the dessert.  Next blog.
  6. [1] The Chez Fonfon website is as wonderful as the food.  Chez Fonfon Website

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