We love it when our customers aren’t sure they have room for dessert but still take a quick peek—because they somehow find the room for our house-made confections. There’s no resisting award-winning treats from both our Chef and our owner Ann Kolenick.
That’s right—our owner holds a B.S. in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management from the University of South Carolina plus a summa cum laude degree in Pastry Arts from the prestigious Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia. You’ll begin to drool when you see Ann’s Chocolate Espresso Cake and Ann’s Chocolate Banana Cake, both award winners.
Desserts for Chocolate Lovers
Plated to perfection, Ann’s Chocolate Espresso Cake is a dark chocolate dream accompanied by espresso-infused caramel sauce, chocolate espresso mousse, bittersweet chocolate ganache and a dollop of whipped cream. It won first place in the Kennett Square Chocolate Lovers Festival and will surely win a spot in your heart.
Not to be outdone is Ann’s Chocolate Banana Cake, a deliciously dense cake dressed with bananas foster mousse, caramelized bananas and bittersweet chocolate sauce. It won first place in the Kennett Square Chocolate Lovers Festival and in the North Carolina Chocolate Festival Professional Bake-Off. You’ll give it a gold star, too.
(Pssst! Her Chocolate Hazelnut Cake also snared a first place in the Kennett Square Chocolate Lovers Festival; keep an eye out for it in the fall!)
Not every restaurant owner is a pastry chef, but Ann built on her bachelor’s degree and chose pastry arts because she loves desserts and is a self-proclaimed “total chocoholic.” She found baking to be a great creative outlet when she was a kid baking alongside her sister—and the rest is history.
“I love to make people happy with my food, and pastries and desserts almost always make people happy, so it seemed like a natural choice,” Ann added.
The Gables at Chadds Ford’s desserts are out-of-this world because Ann takes traditional recipes and puts her own twist on them using garnishes like fresh, ripe fruit, plus creative touches like candied citrus peel, spun caramel with sea salt or toasted sesame seeds, savory herbs, roasted nuts, and more! The options are limitless if you keep an open mind.
“I think a lot of people shy away from baking because many recipes are very precise, so they feel they don’t have any wiggle room to be creative,” Ann explained. “It is very precise, but there are ways to take a good recipe and tweak it to make it your own.”
Desserts for All
The Gables’ menu is a mix of staples and seasonal treats with Ann’s unique, trademark twists. You’ll always find Tahitian Vanilla Crème Brûlée and a cheesecake dressed up with seasonal garnishes and flavors.
“These are simple desserts that are absolutely delicious year round,” Ann added. “For our seasonal offerings, I find fresh, local ingredients and build desserts around them, like Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. You might also find Chef’s Bourbon Pecan Pie on the menu, too.”
Truth be told, Ann’s favorite dessert is anything chocolate—the more chocolate, the better. If she’s out and sees a molten chocolate cake, she’s in, but she requests chocolate ice cream on top (not vanilla!).
Think you might want to try your hand at baking? Here are Ann’s top tips for aspiring dessert-makers:
- Make sure all ingredients in your dessert pair well together.
- Keep an open mind and be creative!
The Gables at Chadds Ford is nestled in the heart of the historic Brandywine Valley. Our combination of fresh seasonal cuisine, rustic yet elegant charm and enchanting outdoor dining will keep you coming back time and time again. The Gables is also the perfect venue to host your next special event, whether you are planning a wedding, rehearsal dinner, baby shower or corporate event.
Photo credits: Espresso cake, The Gables at Chadds Ford; Banana cake, Betsy Barron