Parting Favors: Seven Free Desserts Served at Boston Restaurants

Sometimes the sweetest part of a meal is, quite literally, priceless.

By | Boston Magazine |

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch. They do not, however, say that about cute plates of sweet, miniature morsels sent out by a chef at the end of a meal. Called mignardises (from the French word for “precious”), these complimentary confections not only help soften the blow of getting the check, they also provide one final opportunity for the kitchen to showcase its culinary flourishes. Here, a sampling of the city’s free finales—our treat.

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Photographs by Bruce Peterson. Styling by Rowena Day/Ennis.

Bondir

These airy meringues on a stick get an herbaceous twist from the addition of angelica, a sweet, vegetal herb.

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Photographs by Bruce Peterson. Styling by Rowena Day/Ennis.

T.W. Food

Petite, almond-flour financier cakes enriched with brown butter round out a meal at this French-inflected Cambridge bistro.

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Photographs by Bruce Peterson. Styling by Rowena Day/Ennis.

Salts

Chef Gabriel Bremer sends out a mix of confections in complementary flavors that change seasonally. Shown here, clockwise from top left: passion-fruit marshmallow, dried-apricot-roasted-pumpkin-seed torrone, a raspberry macaron, and fig pâte de fruit.

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Photographs by Bruce Peterson. Styling by Rowena Day/Ennis.

Asta

In a nod to chef Alex Crabb’s fondness for bunnies, co-owner Shish Parsigian bakes up these whimsical cinnamon sable cookies, which she plates with, uh, frolicsome panache alongside a scattering of black-sesame-laced caramel corn.

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Photographs by Bruce Peterson. Styling by Rowena Day/Ennis.

Menton

These tiny macarons—in flavors like beet, pear, clove, and yuzu—are gratis, but the Lobmeyr candy dishes they arrive in cost the restaurant a whopping $353 apiece.

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Photographs by Bruce Peterson. Styling by Rowena Day/Ennis.

Deuxave

Traditional meets playful with pastry chef Jaime Davis’s mini slice of opera cake, often served with a chocolate-dipped cookie-dough “lollipop.”

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Photographs by Bruce Peterson. Styling by Rowena Day/Ennis.

Puritan & Company

As a tribute to its 1930s incarnation as a retail bake shop, the restaurant serves tiny squares of cake made from an original Puritan Cake Company recipe.