Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been taking a look at some of the foods, dishes, and drinks to be found in the Forgotten Realms. (You can read all about the food here: Fantastic Foods in the Forgotten Realms, and the drinks here: Delicious Drinks in the Forgotten Realms.) That leaves for our investigation only the final course: desserts.
Desserts are almost everyone’s favorite part of a meal – the sweet treat that you look forward to, a pleasant way to end both a gathering and a lonesome dining experience. Deserts are also something associated with festivities and wealth, so they tell you something about the cultures that produce them.
Just like food and beverages, the Forgotten Realms features desserts that would have been common in the Middle Ages. That means pies, cakes, and fruit dishes of varying kinds for European settings, as well as pastry and nut dishes for more eastern locations. Pretty much anything except confectionery (what we would think of as packaged candy and chocolate today, which require ingredients and processing not yet available in the Middle Ages) has made its way through the ages to our modern palette in some form or another.
The biggest change between most of the dishes we know today, and their medieval versions, is the ingredients that are used. For most of history, sugar (especially processed sugar) was entirely unheard of, or at least extremely expensive. Instead, food was sweetened with honey, fruit, or other sweet ingredients like almonds or carrots.
Unique Desserts in the Forgotten Realms
Unlike actual history, the Forgotten Realms do not have the restriction on the availability of sugar – no matter what decade-equivalent your campaign is set in, you can have desserts sweetened with sugar, honey, fruit, and even chocolate. After all, this is a magical land where almost anything can be procured by one means or another!
Here are some of our favorite desserts in the Forgotten Realms
Fruit Deserts in the Forgotten Realms
A fruit salad from the nation of Tethyr, consisting of lime, mango, and peaches in syrup.
A sugared pastry filled with rhubarb, which had hundreds of variations in the nation of Luiren.
Turmishite Apple and Bloodberry Pie
A local variant of apple pie made in Turmish, featuring apples and bloodberries, which give it a very tart flavor.
A thickened sauce made of tart brambleberries, sweetened with honey and sugar. It’s usually enjoyed spread on hardbread or used as a topping for various tarts.
Baked Desserts in the Forgotten Realms
Despite the dubious name, these are a sweet treat from Baldur’s Gate. They consist of sticky balls made of various grains, spiced, and held together with peanut butter and honey, which are served with and dipped in a vanilla and chocolate sauce.
A sweetened, fried rice cake from the eastern nation of Kara-tur, strongly associated with the new year’s celebration Feast of Lanterns.
An Amnian cookie believed to increase fortitude, made of oatmeal, flour, cocoa, eggs, and nut extracts. (Very similar to modern-day oatmeal cookies.)
Also known as Endevver’s Reveltongue, this thick bun sweetened with icing and cinnamon is popular in both Cormyr and Icewind Dale.
A traditional Chessentian pastry, named for its resemblance to the bone and consumption on Deadwinter Day celebrations. They are made of small dough balls, pinched into skull-like shapes, and covered in sugar icing.
A sweet, tart-like cake made with cheese and topped with various fruits. (Very similar to real-life cheesecake.)
A dense pastry made with nuts and glazed with honey that is popular all along the Swordcoast. Local variations feature nuts which grow in the area.
A moist, loaf-shaped cake which is not very sweet at all. It’s made from nuts, chickpeas, root vegetables, and various turkey/wildfowl scraps, and served with strong sauce and fried onions. While supposedly nutritious, it doesn’t actually taste very good.
Confectionery/Candy Desserts in the Forgotten Realms
A thick, crumbly dessert made of pressed nuts, dried fruits, coconut milk, and semolina (known in the Realms by the fictional name durr).
A similar dessert to Mraed, but using berries and sesame rather than milk and semolina.
Neverwintan Red Veins
A type of candy found in Neverwinter, made from sweet strips of honeyed flour dyed red by cherries or strawberries. They can be purchased as single veins, or in large bundles called ropes.
A simple candy made by mixing honey, edible gum, and spices. It’s popular in various desert nations due to the availability of its ingredients and the fact that it doesn’t melt easily.
Other Desserts in the Forgotten Realms
A sweet custard from Chult (a rarity in the nation) made of eggs and milk.
A simple dish or shaved ice topped with cream and a sweet, spiced sauce.
Rab’s Riotously Intense Ice Cream
A frozen cream dish made with, unusually, garlic. It’s typically made by combining all the usual ingredients in a bowl, then casting ice magic on the mixture. This can be tricky to manage without damaging the kitchen in some capacity.
A thick, gelatinous dish made of water, sugar, orange juice, and various exotic nuts and flavorings, which are combined, chilled, cut into squares, and served covered in powdered sugar. (It’s superficially similar to the real-world dish Turkish Delight, which is literarily famous for being featured in The Chronicles of Narnia.)
Have you used any of these desserts in your campaigns? Do you have any favorites? Have you made any similar desserts in real life? Let us know in the commends below!