Posted in Blogging Marin on Thursday, September 10, 2015 by MCVB Staff
By Megan Eileen McDonough
Marin County might be best known for its hiking trails, but its culinary scene is just as thrilling. There is no shortage of farms in and around Marin, making it easy to sample local produce at a slew of restaurants and bakeries. Plus, is there any better reward after a nature trek than a flavorful feast? From splurging on chocolate truffles to sampling organic berries at the local farmers’ market, here are the best sweet indulgences in Marin County.
1. Sample Desserts of Every Flavor
There’s no better place to indulge your sweet tooth than at Larkspur’s The Melting Pot. Ordering a cheesecake here can prove difficult, as there are so many sweet flavors to choose from, such as fresh strawberry, salted caramel and white chocolate raspberry truffle. On a hot day, cool down with one of their Ice Cream Delights. The Hot Fudge Sundae comes topped with whipped cream and almonds and their Rocky Road Sundae includes all that plus homemade marshmallow and hot fudge. In the mood for something different? Try one of their specialty desserts, like the Warm Apple Crisp topped with vanilla ice cream.
2. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at the Panama Hotel
You might not expect a hotel to be a treasure trove of sweet treats, but that's exactly the case at the Panama Hotel's onsite restaurant. Its dessert menu is pretty extensive, so bring a few friends along so you can share a few different plates. The lemon tart comes with whipped cream and raspberry sauce, while the bread pudding is served with cherries and brandy caramel sauce. One of the specialties is the Panama Sundae, a Tahitian vanilla gelato topped with Belgian bittersweet chocolate sauce, pecans and whipped cream. For something less decadent, try the fresh fruit crisp of the day, served with gelato.
3. Go Organic
For something sweet (and healthy), go straight to the source and indulge in some fresh seasonal fruit. Marin Roots Farm is a family-run, certified organic farm in operation since 2003. Catch them at one of the nearby farmers markets. Currently, they're set up at Marin Civic Center in San Rafael on Thursdays and Sundays, and in San Francisco on Saturdays. Another well-reputed organic farm is Star Route Farms, which has been operating since 1974 when they began using horse-drawn plows.
4. Sample Seasonal Fruits
Speaking of seasonal fruits, many restaurants partner with local farmers and feature fresh produce in their menus. A great example of this is Point Reyes Seashore Lodge, which focuses on farmhouse dining. The lodge’s Flourless Chocolate Torte with salted caramel sauce, berry sauce, candied pecans and Straus organic vanilla ice cream is a standout dessert item. Another popular dish is the Molten Chocolate Lava Cake, which comes with fresh strawberries, chocolate sauce, caramel and Straus organic chocolate ice cream. Both desserts require around 15 minutes to prepare, so get those forks at the ready!
5. Pair Wine and Cheese (and Treats)
Farmshop Marin is a one-stop shop for everything sweet. Besides an actual dessert menu, it offers dessert cocktails like the Hot Fairy. The concoction is made with St. George absinthe, Carolans Irish cream, Valrhona chocolate and chili flakes. If you're feeling really indulgent, pair one of the dessert wines, like the Peterson muscat blanc or Honig late-harvest sauvignon blanc, with a dessert plate. Items range from chocolate brownies and tarts to the inventive Espresso Budino with almond biscotti, amaretto gelee and whipped cream. Farmshop Marin’s "farm to feast" menu changes regularly to reflect in-season produce.