Comfort Desserts Redefined

Zov's Bistro & Bakery - Blueberry Hazelnut BarWhen you think of comfort food, what kind of atmosphere comes to mind?

Do you think tasteful, but casual or chic and upscale?

I’ve always leaned towards the former.

However, my latest reconnaissance brought me to Zov’s Bistro & Bakery in Tustin, California. And it broadened my definition of comfort.

Founded in 1987 by Chef Zov Karamardian, it’s recognized as a culinary institution and has received several accolades. Her recipes blend comforting creations with culinary art.

Admittedly in browsing their website beforehand, I had some reservations. I’ve had mixed results with gourmet desserts. Some were outstanding, while others were all looks and no satisfaction.

Then I looked further at Zov’s Facebook photos; I was sold.

My senses were delighted upon entering their bakery. The ambiance was bright and inviting. From pastries to cookies, to bars and cakes, the display case was overflowing with confections.

Decisions. Decisions.

For this visit, cupcakes seemed too ordinary. I wanted something special.

The dessert bars captivated me. I selected two and left before another treat called my name.

At home, I started with the Blueberry Hazelnut Bar. It’s a hazelnut crust with a sweet, blueberry filling.

Many of you know I love blueberries, so when I get the chance I often take it. Moreover, since I had never come across a hazelnut combination before, I had to try it.

I warmed it a smidge above room temperature before tasting.

Zov's Bistro & Bakery - Peanut Butter Rice KrispyThe hazelnut crust was thick, but soft. It was rich and nutty, but not too sweet. The fresh blueberries were bursting through the crumb topping and crust. The fruit was naturally sweet.

More bites revealed hazelnut chunks in the topping.

I enjoyed it, yet I began to realize its consistency was more like coffee cake than a dessert bar. This wasn’t a bad thing, just a statement of fact.

My next choice was a Peanut Butter Rice Krispie. It’s a rice krispie bottom, peanut butter and milk chocolate filling topped with ganache.

Now honestly, who hasn’t had and/or made Rice Krispie Treats?

I can’t tell you how many variations I’ve seen on Pinterest. It’s mind-boggling.

Still, when I saw this version at Zov’s it caught my breath. It looked like something that belonged in a classy boutique.

This was not your mother’s treats!

And my first bite confirmed it.

I tasted ample peanut butter, rich milk chocolate and a lush ganache, supported by rice krispies.

It amazed me how such a simple concept could become so exceptional. I relished every morsel.

I give Zov’s Bistro & Bakery 4 out of 5 stars. Perhaps the rating could be higher. However, that would require more sampling to substantiate.

Of course, that’s not a problem for this Frosting Fanatic. It’s just a matter of finding the time. For now, I’m happy to have had this introduction and my mind broadened.

I will not think of comfort the same again.


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