Acclaimed pastry chef Michael Mignano’s Farine Baking Company opened about a week and a half ago in Jackson Heights, a neighborhood better known for such multicolored Indian sweets as jalebi and chum chum than French treats like brioche and kouign amann. I stopped by last weekend to ogle the Viennoiserie and other goodies, but the place was a madhouse, so I returned on a weekday when things were a bit more chill and was lucky enough to meet the man himself.
“Try this, the 2017 Iron Chef champ said as he handed me an ingot-sized chocolate bar. “This is our Mignano bar. It’s layers of cashew and macadamia nut caramel, dark chocolate, crispy nougat, and graham cracker crust, all covered in dark chocolate with black Hawaiian sea salt,” the bar’s namesake told me as I bit into it and held on to the counter to avoid fainting from sheer bliss.
I exaggerate only slightly, the grown-up take on the candy bar is really, really quite good, so good that the chef says it requires a knife and fork to eat it, a tribute to the Seinfeld episode where Mr. Pitt starts a dining trend by eating his Snickers bar with a knife and fork. “He probably doesn’t want to get chocolate on his fingers. That’s the way these society types eat their candy bars,” George Costanza says of the monied Mr. Pitt.
Mignano first made the the treat while pastry chef at the Four Seasons in 2005 and once included it in a dessert platter he prepared for Oprah Winfrey. I ate my first Mignano bar with my hands, but I ordered a second as well as a brioche and a cup of coffee. When I sat down I attacked the candy bar with a knife and fork. It was pleasant enough, but I soon switched back to eating with my hands. Guess I’m just not one of those society types. Can’t wait to work my way through the rest of Mignano’s creations!
Farine Baking Company, 74-24 37th Ave., Jackson Heights