Haute! Cotton candy meets fine dining

May 19, 2011 at 3:06 PM ET

Joe Greene / joe greene photo /
The maple cotton candy is served with angel food cake at Towne Stove and Spirits.

Cupcakes, doughnuts and pies have been elevated as the desserts du jour (pie is the new cupcake, after all), and now, cotton candy is ready for its fine-dining makeover. Serious chefs around the country are using the spun sugar on their menus, often with ingredients you wouldn’t expect.

The Bazaar /
This cotton candy comes paired with foie gras.

Jose Andres, the Spanish master of molecular gastronomy, really takes cotton candy to the next level at his expansive Los Angeles restaurant The Bazaar by José Andrés by wrapping it around an unlikely companion — foie gras. Somehow the pair, served on a stick, really works, with both the cotton candy and foie gras melting pleasantly together in your mouth. If that wasn’t enough, the bar also serves something called the Magic Mojito, a mojito that uses cotton candy to sweeten the drink instead of simple syrup.

In Boston, chef Lydia Shire of Towne Stove and Spirits makes good use of cotton candy on her dessert menu. She certainly has experience with the candy; she first started working with it as a 16-year-old in Dorchester, Mass., when she was in charge of the cotton candy machine at the Strand Theater. Today she makes a maple cotton candy that she serves alone and pairs with her brown sugar angel food cake for $11.

The Bazaar /
This mojito features a cotton candy garnish.

At Landmarc, chef Marc Murphy’s lauded contemporary bistro in the tony Tribeca neighborhood of New York City, kids automatically get a treat at the end of their meal — a bowlful of cotton candy, made in the cotton candy machine located in the restaurant’s kitchen. That doesn’t mean you have to be tiny to get in on the fun; adults can request it as well, and it’s available in rotating flavors like watermelon, cherry and lemon.

While more chefs are experimenting with the colorful confection, New York’s acclaimed Four Seasons Restaurant has been offering cotton candy since the late 1970s. Even though it’s not on their menu, it has become a signature dish that restaurant-goers make a point to request.

Are you a fan of cotton candy? If so, what's your fave flavor?