The heroes of The Decadent Dukes trilogy gave themselves that moniker when they were boys. They did so only partly tongue in cheek. They knew that in their time period criticisms of the aristocracy included that it was decadent —too given to self-indulgence, pleasure and luxury and increasingly irrelevant in the world.
Most of us will never experience the kind of decadence available to Regency dukes. We take our self-indulgence in smaller, less expensive doses. Indulging in a little decadence isn’t a bad thing. It is like taking a mini vacation.
The easiest way to enjoy a decadence retreat is through— food! If you feel naughty while you eat it, you know it is decadent.
If we make it ourselves, the decadence is offset by the effort to some extent. We can feel virtuous for cooking from scratch before we sit down and sigh over rich, delicious food.
Here is my list of foods I consider so over the top rich, that they enter the realm of decadence.
- Ilona torte. Of course I had to start with something chocolate. Not just chocolate, but sinfully chocolate. I am a huge fan of any good flourless chocolate cake (what’s not to like with recipes that start with chocolate, butter and cream?) but this one is my favorite. It was popularized by the restauranteur George Lang and named after his Hungarian mother. Since it takes a bit of work, you get to ooze virtue, then afterwards groan with pleasure. The most authentic version online is here: https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/food-dining/2015/12/29/recipe-for-flourless-chocolate-walnut-torte/JKatHdXobLvIDslXUOBWmO/story.html
- Cheesecake Factory cheesecake. Don’t want to cook before indulging yourself? Then head to the Cheesecake Factory. Who hasn’t looked at those cakes when you enter and thought OMG, that is soooo decadent looking. Ignore the outrageously high calorie counts while you pick one. Everyone else does.
- Spaghetti Carbonara. When done well, spaghetti carbonara is sinfully delicious in ways that obscure its simplicity. Carbonara is not so much a sauce as a method of cooking that results in eggs, cheese and meat glistening on the strands of spaghetti. It is the kind of dish that takes some practice, and I am providing a recipe that gives lots of good tips for getting it right. (While pancetta can substitute for the guanciale very nicely, my personal feeling is that bacon overpowers the dish. You may disagree. ) https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spaghetti-alla-carbonara-107810
- Lobster Thermidor. I don’t know if it is the cost or the taste, but any lobster dish, even simple boiled lobster, makes me feel decadent. However, if you really want to indulge, consider lobster with a few other ingredients like butter, cream and cognac. Then you have lobster thermidor, and Julia Child’s version is rightfully famous. https://littleferrarokitchen.com/julia-childs-lobster-thermidor/
- Beef Wellington. Named after the Iron Duke himself, it is said by some it got that name because it resembled his boots. Filet of beef, fois gras, pastry and madeira sauce make it elaborate, expensive, and indulgent. You can up the decadence by adding truffles to the mushroom mixture and using Kobe beef. Since fois gras is frowned upon now, many replace it with a pate, as indicated in the comments on the linked page. Don’t like either fois gras or pate? Use it anyway, since it affects the moisture and taste. Just don’t eat it. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/fillet-of-beef-wellington-10776
What foods make you feel decadent?
. . . the sole remaining bachelor of the three self-proclaimed Decadent Dukes. Yet Davina MacCallum’s reasons for searching out the handsome Duke of Brentworth have nothing to do with marriage. Scottish lands were unfairly confiscated from her family by the Crown and given to his. A reasonable man with vast holdings can surely part with one trivial estate, especially when Davina intends to put it to good use. Brentworth, however, is as difficult to persuade as he is to resist.
The Duke of Brentworth’s discretion and steely control make him an enigma even to his best friends. Women especially find him inscrutable and unapproachable—but also compellingly magnetic. So when Davina MacCallum shows no signs of being even mildly impressed by him, he is intrigued. Until he learns that her mission in London involves claims against his estate. Soon the two of them are engaged in a contest that allows no compromise. When duty and desire collide, the best laid plans are about to take a scandalous turn—into the very heart of passion . . .
Madeline Hunter’s novels are:
“Brilliant, compelling. . . . An excellent read.” —The Washington Post
“Mesmerizing.” —Publishers Weekly
“Pure passion.” —Booklist
Praise for the previous works of Madeline Hunter
“Fueled by an abundance of subtle wit and potent sensuality . . . an exquisitely crafted love story by one of the romance genre’s masters.” —Booklist
“A rash, adventure seeking heroine and an honorable, take charge hero clash splendidly as passions blaze . . . to the delight of all concerned.” —Library Journal
“Intelligent and memorable. . . . With its tangy dialogue, Pride and Prejudice themes, bits of mystery and nefarious characters, readers may be reminded of Jane Austen.” —RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)
“Hunter . . . spins the intrigues of an enterprising bastard son and a resourceful artist to delightful effect in this excellent launch.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)