Dessert, as served in a Swiss mountain restaurant

In cultures around the world, dessert is a course that typically comes at the end of a meal, usually consisting of sweet food. The word comes from the French language as dessert and this from Old French desservir, "to clear the table" and "to serve." Common Western desserts include cakes, biscuits, gelatin, pastries, ice cream, pies, and candies. Fruit may also be eaten with or as a dessert.

Variations of desserts can be found all around the world, such as in Russia, where breakfast foods such as bliny, oladi, and syrniki served with honey and jam are also popular as desserts. Desserts are sometimes eaten with a dessert spoon, intermediate in size between a teaspoon and a tablespoon.



The first desserts were crusty, made from raw honeycomb and dried dates. It was not until the Middle Ages, when sugar was manufactured, that people began to enjoy more sweets but even then sugar was so expensive that it was only for the wealthy on special ocasions. Early origins of popular frozen desserts, such as ice cream, trace back to the Middle Ages when royalty would request fresh ice flavored with honey or a fruit syrup.[1]


French chocolate cake at restaurant "En och en halv", Hedemora, Sweden
Dessert Place Setting Before Dessert
Dessert Course

The word dessert is most commonly used for this course in U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, while sweet, pudding or afters may be alternative terms used in the UK and some other Commonwealth countries, including India. In England, the term pudding is usually used among the Upper and Upper-middle classes, with dessert only used if the course consists of fruit or sweetmeats, after the cheese and biscuits course (See U and non-U English).


Those attempting to lose weight as part of a dieting program may choose to restrict their intake of dessert foods, as they tend to have a large amount of calories, fat and sugar.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • dessert — [ desɛr ] n. m. • 1539 aussi « action de desservir la table »; de 2. desservir 1 ♦ Vx Dernier service d un repas, comportant fromages, pâtisserie, fruits. « Un dessert sans fromage est une belle à qui il manque un œil » (Brillat Savarin). 2 ♦ Mod …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Dessert — Des*sert , n. [F., fr. desservir to remove from table, to clear the table; pref. des (L. dis ) + servir to serve, to serve at table. See {Serve}.] A service of pastry, fruits, or sweetmeats, at the close of a feast or entertainment; pastry,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Dessert — Sn Nachtisch erw. stil. (17. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus frz. dessert m. (älter: desserte), zu frz. desservir abtragen , zu frz. servir aufwarten, dienen und de , dis , aus l. servīre dienen, Sklave sein , neben l. servus m. Diener, Sklave .… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • dessert — Dessert. s. m. Le fruit & tout ce qu on a accoustumé de servir à table avec le fruit. On avoit apporté le dessert, du dessert. un bon dessert. on estoit au dessert. nous n avons point de dessert. Il vieillit, & les gens polis disent, Le fruit …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • dessert — DESSERT. s. m. Le fruit et tout ce qu on a accoutumé de servir à table avec le fruit. On avoit apporté le dessert, du dessert, un bon dessert. On dit plus communément, Le fruit. [b]f♛/b] Un ancien proverbe dit, Entre Pâque et la Pentecoûte, le… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • Dessert — Dessert, Nachtisch; bei großen Mahlzeiten muß dieser auf das Reichste und Geschmackvollste geordnet und zubereitet sein. Er ist der Schmuck der Tafel, und besteht meistentheils aus Confitüren, Eis. Früchten und süßem Backwerk aller Art und jeder… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • dessert — DESSERT: Regretter qu on n y chante plus. Les gens vertueux le méprisent : «Non ! non ! pas de pâtisseries ! Jamais de dessert !» …   Dictionnaire des idées reçues

  • dessert — c.1600, from M.Fr. dessert (mid 16c.) last course, lit. removal of what has been served, from desservir clear the table, lit. un serve, from des remove, undo (see DIS (Cf. dis )) + O.Fr. servir to serve (see SERVE (Cf. ser …   Etymology dictionary

  • Dessert — Dessert: Die Bezeichnung für »Nachtisch« wurde Mitte des 17. Jh.s aus frz. dessert, (älter:) desserte entlehnt. Das frz. Wort gehört zu desservir »die Speisen abtragen«, einer Gegenbildung mit dé... (lat. dis; vgl. ↑ dis..., ↑ Dis...) zu frz.… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • dessert — [n] sweet treat cake, candy, confection, cookie, frozen dessert, frozen treat, fruit, ice cream, last course, pastry, pie, pudding, sweet, sweet course, tart; concept 457 …   New thesaurus

  • Dessert — (fr., spr. Deffähr), was bei Mahlzeiten zu Ende derselben, mehr um den Geschmacksinn noch zu befriedigen, als zur eigentlichen Sättigung, auf die Tafel gesetzt u. genossen wird, es besteht solches aus Früchten (bes. feineren Obstarten),… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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