A Raw Chocolate Tart and One Sweet Legacy

Good Bite

BY ANDREW FABIAN SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING TUESDAY OCT 20, 2020

“Vegan baking” sounds like an oxymoron, doubly so if affixed with the label “gluten-free.” How can someone make a sweet treat worth eating without flour and dairy? What is a croissant without butter, a cake without eggs, a mousse without whipped cream or a graham cracker without graham flour? If these questions were posed to Lila’s well-loved and sorely missed late pastry chef, Arthur Lopes, Jr., the answer would probably be “delicious.”

The restaurant’s raw chocolate tart, both vegan and gluten-free, leaves nothing to be desired for those with expectations that dessert items should be dense and decadent. Served chilled, its raw chocolate filling is velvety smooth, with a similar texture to chocolate truffles. The crust, firm but flaky, serves as an ideal hull for this delightfully subversive homage to healthy labels. Dollops of mango puree form a checkered grid on top, and a visually balanced garnish of cocoa powder and toasted coconut surrounds the tart like an offering to the deities of dessert.

Many thanks to Arthur Lopes, Jr., whose inventiveness, skill and passion made Sarasota’s food scene a little sweeter, one dessert at a time.

Lila, 1576 Main Street, Sarasota, www.lilasrq.com, 941-296-1042. Photo credit Andrew Fabian.

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