Upon booking a trip to Philly in high school, I was told by a good friend that I had to try the “Budino place.” Having never heard of the restaurant before, I looked it up online and couldn’t find a single reference to the “Budino place.” I immediately texted my friend back asking him how new the restaurant was because it was not online. My friend responded, I am sure with a little grin, that the restaurant was not called the "Budino place," but the Budino was the sole menu item he went for at Barbuzzo

I was very excited to try Barbuzzo, as it is known as one of the best Mediterranean restaurants in the city. The meal was superb: uovo pizza, mouth-watering smoked duck arancini, and juicy grilled Mediterranean octopus. However, when the dessert menu came out, I knew I only had to order one thing: the Salted Caramel Budino. Eagerly waiting for this glass-encased ambrosia to come out of the kitchen, I texted my friend to let him know I had ordered it. Jealously, he told me to drink some water to cleanse my palate so I could fully taste the breadth and depth of the flavors.

My Thoughts

Jesse Fox

Let me be candid here: this was one of, if not the best, desserts I have ever had. There are three components to the dessert: vanilla bean salted caramel, dark chocolate crust, and custard cream. All three come together to form this amazing flavor synergy. The saltiness, sweetness, and bitterness all perfectly complement each other to form a heavenly ten-bite creation.  

I was infatuated. This dessert made some of Philly's classics that I use to crave (such as cookies from Famous or cannolis from Termini) null and void in my mind.  I was so hooked on this dessert that whenever I was in Center City, I would always try and gravitate towards Midtown Village to get this delicacy. It became an obsession

Some Background

After doing research, I saw that I was not the only one.  Perusing the internet I found countless recipes to recreate this famous dessert and different dessert adaptations of it. I even attempted to recreate the dessert in my kitchen at one point— needless to say, it did not work out so well. What really blew my mind, however, were the different adaptations of this dessert.

Rolled out in 2010, the Salted Caramel Budino was almost instantly a hit. Then, chefs Marcie Turney and Val Safran, the eponymous revivalists of Midtown Village, decided to turn the Salted Caramel Budino into frozen popsicles, which were also a huge hit. Since then, the dessert has been made into donuts, cruffins, and tacos (yes, tacos.) 

Overall, this dessert is a must-have for anyone in Philly.  In a city that is extremely particular about its food, the Salted Caramel Budino has defied all odds. Time and time again, my mind has been blown away by the delectable simplicity in the glass jar. I am very excited to see what the next adaptation is; maybe it will be a creme brûlée or something much newer and inventive. Whatever it is, I am ready. Bring it on Marcie Turney and Val Safran.