Chocoholics have another reason to rejoice: chocolate mousse is so popular that it has its own holiday. The light, ethereal dessert was created in France in the 1800s but appears on menus all over the United States in versions from traditional to creative, from dense to fluffy. Here’s where you’ll find the best in New York City.
Chef Jody Adams offers only two desserts at tiny Buvette in the West Village: chocolate mousse and apple tatin. Adam’s chocolate mousse is a rite of passage, a passport to a great finish to a great meal. The recipe is simple: Swiss chocolate, fresh eggs, butter and sugar. The mousse is made by hand in small batches dense enough to scoop by the spoonful. The beautiful chocolatey mass is then topped with Adam’s airy Chantilly cream.
Charming Victorian-decorated Le Privé in Hell’s Kitchen offers another classic mousse au chocolat. Rich, sweet, light and fluffy, the mousse is topped with housemade whipped cream and fresh berries. If chocolate decadence is one of your guilty pleasures, this is the place to let loose – Le Prive’s hidden Le Jardin will keep your secret away from prying eyes.
Olmsted keeps it traditional, too, but with a seasonal flair. Chef Greg Baxtrom’s vegetable-forward restaurant in Brooklyn dresses up their mousse with whipped crème fraîche and other sweets. The add-ons change frequently but the chocolate mousse base is as stable as they come. Baxtrom celebrates this year’s holiday with even more chocolate, with caramelized cocoa nibs decorating the dessert.
Chef Guy Kairi at Concord Hill always keeps a chocolate dessert on the menu. For spring and summer, he prefers a cool version and serves a chilled Valrhona chocolate mousse layered over raspberries. Referencing the springtime harvest from his Israel homeland, Kairi sprinkles hazelnuts caramelized with sugar as a finishing flourish. The recipe has a French pedigree as well – it was created by his best friend who owns a bakery just outside Paris.
Upscale New York City eatery Paisley adds a bit of India with a chai chocolate mousse. Created from a childhood recipe from her youth in Mumbai, owner-founder Juthika Bedi mixes in strawberries, blackberries and PARLE G biscuit crumble, a tea biscuit traditionally accompanying chai. For the finishing touch, she graces the mousse with orange-flavored Chantilly with roasted chai spice.
TBar’s chocolate mousse is a thing of chocolate beauty. A base of chocolate with a swirl of chocolate drizzle topped with a raspberry creates a tableau worthy of a place in the Museum of Modern Art. The Upper East Side (and Southampton) bistro offers the dessert year-round as a light, sweet ending to round out a hearty steak or seafood dinner.
Chevys Fresh Mex
You don’t usually associate chocolate mousse with Mexican food. But when you infuse Kahlúa into it, it starts to make sense. Chevys Fresh Mex, a quick trip from Manhattan in Linden, NJ via train or car, layers white and dark chocolate into a dreamy Kahlúa mousse, topped with whipped cream and raspberries. Be sure to get a few to go — this is a dessert for those “in the know.”
If you’re truly crazy about chocolate mousse and love to experiment with flavors, there’s a Mecca for your holiday fête. Tucked away on a side street in Harlem is a place that would make Willy Wonka swoon. After years of selling his mousses to specialty stores in NYC, Belgium-born Chef Johan Halsberghe scoops out small-batch mousse at the first chocolate mousse bar in the US, Mojo Desserts. Using only Belgian chocolate, he varies the flavors each month with classics like dark 70%, white chocolate, and hazelnut praline with specials such as passion fruit + ruby chocolate and matcha. You can top them with crunchy candy pieces or fruit, or be a purist and enjoy your mousse straight up.
New York’s inventive Oasis Café offers many types of mousse at the charming café. But, don't worry if you can’t make it there, you can celebrate at home with one of its distinctive mousses. Be adventurous. Download the app to order a delicious Triple Chocolate Mousse, Raspberry Mousse (with chocolate, of course), or the dressed-up Oreo Mousse.
If all this talk about chocolate has gotten your own creative juices flowing, Delicious Expressions will lead you in virtual master classes where you can make your own chocolate creation extraordinaire. Taught by Abigail Hitchcock of NYC’s Abigail’s Kitchen, the French Bistro meal course will teach you how to make a classic light and airy French mousse au chocolat with tips on how to fold in whipped egg whites and keep chocolate from seizing. NYC-based Macarune Instagram star Danielle Trencher will reveal the secrets of making chocolate mousse flavored macarons for a second chocolate mousse option.