Of salty and saccharine

The cashier at 85°C Bakery in South Sacramento didn’t believe what I wanted existed until another cashier pointed toward a darkened corner. “Over there,” she said. In a lone case sat what I had come to see and eat—Pork Sung Half Moon. I thanked the cashier, scurried to the privacy of my car and stared at the daunting half-moon of vanilla sponge cake covered in copious amounts of dried shredded pork. I scrunched my face and took a giant bite. Yup, that’s pork. And, yup, that’s definitely vanilla cream. Was it delicious? Well … yes. People are eating it. But I will caution: It’s not for the savory-sweet novice.

From bacon, beer and potato chip cookie bars to “Everything Bagel” flavored ice cream, savory-sweet desserts are capturing the attention of trend-conscious foodies and permitting chefs to flex creative muscles with fun concoctions that puzzle and delight. Whether it’s merely tempering the sweetness of ice cream with bits of basil, frying goat cheese and drizzling it with honey—or even more gutsy—sponge cake topped with shredded pork, people are ready to expand their conceptions of what defines dessert.

Ready to explore Sacramento’s savory-sweet desserts? Here’s a sampling to get you started:

The Rind

Cheeseboards are a favored item as a good starter for those new to exploring savory-sweet desserts. The Rind offers a delicious Chocolate & Cheese Board that pairs Ginger Elizabeth bonbons with a variety of cheese. Try the dark chocolate truffle with aged gouda for nutty-sweet overtones, or with blue cheese for a friendly version of salty-sweet.

1801 L Street, Suite 40, (916) 441-7463, therindsacramento.com.

Pizza Rock

When customers ask for the “dessert pizza” at Pizza Rock, staff know it’s the Cal Italia they’re after. Start with sweet fig preserves and add asiago, gorgonzola, Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano-Reggiano. It’s topped with a tangy-sweet balsamic reduction. No sauce allowed on this gooey, cheesy, sweetie-pie.

1020 K Street, (916) 737-5777, pizzarocksacramento.com.

Magpie Café

Magpie Café offers a rich, Chocolate Avocado Mousse sprinkled with cinnamon and sea salt. Avocados and chocolate are whipped together into a creamy, thick consistency which starts sweet enough but careens into a hearty, buttery mouthfeel. Cinnamon restrains any potential avocado overload, while sea salt flakes add one last flavor zap that cleanses the palate just in time for the next chocolaty spoonful.

1601 16th Street, (916) 452-7594, magpiecafe.com.

The Waffle Experience

The Strawberry Fields at The Waffle Experience is full of contradicting sensations. A lardon-studded herb waffle is slathered with a sugary strawberry crème cheese. Then, it’s piled with bitter arugula, fresh strawberries and cherrywood-smoked bacon tossed with blue cheese crumbles, candied almonds and a balsamic drizzle. Flavors ping-pong from hearty to sugary and keep taste buds on-their-toes excited.

4391 Gateway Park Boulevard, Suite 650, (916) 285-0562 thewaffleexperience.com.

Mulvaney’s B&L

As zesty fall flavors take center stage, olive oil is the star in the Rosemary Olive Oil Cake served at Mulvaney’s B&L. Flecked with fresh rosemary and coated in a custard-like mandarin curd, this simple cake delivers sophisticated flavors. A dollop of mascarpone whipped with mandarin plays sidekick, enhancing the floral aromatics and further elevating the dessert into superior savory-sweet status.

1215 19th Street, (916) 441-1771 mulvaneysbl.com.