The terrain of flans, panna cottas, and otherwise jiggly desserts can be tricky and divisive: but when these desserts are perfect, they are breathtaking. Picture, then, the sneak-attack of an incredibly unappealing colored treat in the cooler at Paris hipster-bento shop Nanashi. Specifically a plastic tub of something inarguably grey and speckled, topped rather confusingly with items that looked sweet: blackberries, blueberries, and a dollop of whipped creme.
What is that, I fumbled Frenchishly towards the cashier? "Panna-cotta du sésame noire," she replied. I'd take one. Or, as it would turn out later, I'd have taken two hundred if I could. This thing was amazing.
Supple and tending towards more pudding-like on the panna cotta scale of jiggliness, this entrancing concoction perfectly balances the toasty notes of black sesame with supple cream flavors. It's both beguilingly light and full-flavored, while also staying in my perfect zone of not-too-sweet. (The whip on top is probably sweeter than the panna cotta itself.) It's a feat of Asian sweets fusion—and easily the most wonderful grey dessert I've ever seen.