Jessica Entzel's Guide to Napa Valley Sweets
Since graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Minneapolis in 2005, Jessica Entzel has worked with some of the biggest names in the business, starting with an externship under Master Chef Alain Couterier at Michelin-starred La Roche Le Roy in Tours, France. Upon returning home, she honed her craft in restaurants owned by Wolfgang Puck, Gordon Ramsay, and Jean Georges.
In 2012, after almost a year as a Career Service Advisor at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, Jessica set off to Northern California to be the pastry chef at Morimoto Napa. There, she crafts seasonal desserts with a very fun and whimsical with a Asian flair like miso butterscotch pudding, black sesame panna cotta, and s'mores made with smoked soy chocolate mousse.
We caught up with the dessert dynamo (and nominee for Food & Wine Magazine's "The People's Best New Pastry Chef" award) to find out where she satisfies her cravings for sugar in the Napa Valley. Check out all of her picks below.
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Bon Bons from The Flavor Bar at the Culinary Institute of America: They make beautiful bon bons here! I've hired people out of this room and love the product they put out. Beautiful colors, fun flavors and great technique!
Sparkling Wine and Dessert Wine at 1313 Main: My favorite wine bar in Napa! Everyone is so nice and friendly; it's Napa Valley's fancy answer to Cheers! I frequently come late night after work and generally get a tasting flight called Bubble Trouble. They have an entire bubble bar menu (which is my answer to beer) and it's a great place to end the night. They also have a dessert wine flight called Sweeter By The Minute, it's delightful.
Pistachio Gelato from Frati Gelato: The Pistachio gelato is my favorite. They have a wide variety of flavors and use ingredients shipped from Italy. This place is legit!
Almond Croissant from Bouchon Bakery: Hands down the best bakery in the Valley! Almond croissants are my favorite sweet treat of all time. Try the macaroons too. They're perfect—crisp on the outside and tender in the middle.
Bostini Trifle from Bistro Don Giovanni: The Bostini Trifle is served in a tall glass and has layers of caramel, almonds, chocolate cake and vanilla custard. Crunchy, creamy, and chocolatey!
Rootbeer Float from Gott's Roadside: Gotts is the best "fast food" I've ever had. They use top notch ingredients and it satiates my inner child.
Baked Goods at Sweetie Pies: This is a great bakery just two doors down from me. They have a great variety of baked goods from mock Hostess Sno Balls with pink coconut sugar to red velvet whoopie pies. My favorite thing is the good old fashioned pie! The flavors change seasonally, so there's always a different fruit pie for me to taste.
Milk Chocolate Toffee Cookies from Annie the Baker: I first had these cookies at the farmers market (I was supposed to be getting vegetables). I bought three and was hooked! They are amazing and I can't figure out how they hold the spherical shape in the oven. They are definitely for people who love cookie dough! You can get them at the Napa Certified Farmers Market, the St Helena Farmers Market, and local retailers.
About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax