Mother’s Day Love: Or How to Eat Orange Olive Oil Cake with Fennel Sugar and Lingonberry Marmalatta

When you have an awesome, generous, thoughtful son and daughter-in-law combo like I, who live in the foodie paradise of Denver, Colorado, Mother’s Day Brunch becomes an exciting preparatory event whose journey is every bit as fun as the goal. Should we go to Rioja, Best Restaurant in Denver, whose chef Jennifer Jasinski just took the James Beard Foundation’s best chef in the southwest award this year? (Another of her three restaurants, Euclid Hall , was an incredible meal last December for my son’s birthday.) Well, sure, let’s! An exciting menu and what fun to head to such a happening place to eat! Or, what about … Spuntino …. long on my must-taste list, firmly placed in the Top Ten Best Italian Restaurants in Denver, and home of amazing Amaretto Gelato featured in last summer’s post A Moving in Celebration and Eating Local in Denver, – holding the key, the deciding factor for me, which is – how much do they love gluten free patrons? Why yes, they do – a lot.

The Mother’s Day journey towards the goal began in the early morning, taking in a cup of homemade coffee on the second story balcony of my son and daughter-in-law’s home, with a cool breeze and this for a view:

early morning Mother's Day in Denver

early morning Mother’s Day in Denver

Followed by a delicious son-prepared German butterball potato (local organic from Paonia!) chili frittata….mmmmm. Reservations set later on for Spuntino, we headed to Washington Park for a pre-brunch/lunch stroll around the lake in the company of hundreds of people picnicking, lolling, riding the various pedal-powered surrey contraptions, and water birds, including a sweet mallard family hustling ahead of a couple bully Canadian geese.

Washington park mallard mama and her twelve ducklings

Washington park mallard mama and papa and their twelve ducklings

Seated at a window table in the front of quaint, upscale, and on the verge of being remodeled Spuntino’s dining room an hour or so later, I was presented with my starter, and favorite course of a wonderful meal – this amazing gluten free cake. All of the components of this wonderful presentation worked so uniquely well together, I was enraptured. Plus, it was served warm. The moist cake studded with poached orange peel chunks, showered with powdered sugar intriguingly flavored with coarsely ground fennel seed, plated alongside a delicious dollop of lingonberry “marmalatta” and several huge blackberries.

How do you eat this heavenly creation? How best to savor? With small bites, swabbing as much fennel sugar and dabs of marmalatta as you can mentally calculate that you’ll have enough for (sharing several nibbles, of course!) to last  – until the final, lovely, unforgettable mouthful. Every three forkfuls or so, pop one of the immense blackberries in your mouth. Trust me – you will agree when you are seated behind this cake – this is the path, the method, The Way.

Spuntino Denver's Orange Olive Oil Cake with Fennnel Sugar and Lingonberry Marmalatta

Spuntino Denver’s Orange Olive Oil Cake with Fennnel Sugar and Lingonberry Marmalatta

Thank you, Spuntino, and gratitude to my dear family, my foodie son who understands such desserty passions, my reason for mamahood. We have been on such a wild ride, this life, such a journey, and have arrived here. Buon Appetito!

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