This thrilling Dalí-esque marriage of flavors—dark chocolate and fruity olive oil, with a strange and wonderful accent of salt—seems to spell out nueva cocina. But actually, Catalan chocolate–olive oil desserts go back further in time. As historians have told me, after World War II, when luxury ingredients such as chocolate were strictly rationed, Catalans would melt a piece of chocolate, spread it on toast, and sprinkle olive oil and a bit of salt on top for a sweet-savory treat. Avant-garde chefs took the idea and ran with it.
As you serve this sweet, prepare for drama: Some people go wild over it, others raise their eyebrows, but either way, it will be the talk of the evening. While the mousse is easy to make, good ingredients are essential: the best, darkest chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao content; an extra-fruity, slightly peppery olive oil that can stand up to the chocolate; and the flaky British sea salt called Maldon (look for it at specialty food shops). Because the dessert is so explosively flavorful and unusual, serve tiny scoops of it in stylish glasses or glass bowls. And only to your most adventurous friends.
Beverage pairing: Cornet & Cie Banyuls Rimage, France. This is a fortified, sweet red wine from the south of France, and its chocolate-covered cherry, bit-of-smoke, and slightly seaborn saltiness make it an exceptional pairing for chocolate, even chocolate doctored with a little taste of the Mediterranean.
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