The beef candle at newly opened Il Posto is exactly what it sounds like. It's an edible candle made of rendered beef fat.
It is the creation of chef Wes Park, though he is quick to give credit where it is due.
"My friend actually sent me a Snapchat of a candle melting down like this from somewhere in Florida. And I immediately thought: 'That's the coolest thing I've ever seen. I have to make that,'" explains Wes.
Though simple ingredients, the candles are not necessarily an easy thing to make. They take a lot of time, attention, and love. And the restaurant cranks out 10 or more a day.
Wes admits that his first attempt wasn't perfect: "I tried to make a huge pillar candle. And it kinda worked, but that is just way too much fat." He eventually created smaller molds, stealing the idea from the panna cotta on the menu, decided on a soy wick, and found the perfect herb combination. After figuring out the most efficient system for executing it in a restaurant environment, they were ready to go.
He starts with the fat, purchased from The Local Butcher at the Denver Central Market right next door. He pours it, liquefied, into a blender with rosemary, thyme, marjoram, oregano, garlic, and salt. Once blended, he stirs it in a bowl over ice water to get it to the right consistency before piping it into the molds. The combination gets poured around the wick and topped with fresh herbs.
After hardening in the refrigerator. the candles are ready for service. They melt the end to create a base, and serve it on top of a hot plate, with the wick lit.
"It's funny because I've seen several people blow it out. But you kind-of need the fire to melt it down." Wes continues: "It really goes well with the rest of the menu; the spices are a great accompaniment to any dish."
It's the perfect dish for a date night. It's quite romantic, providing some candlelit dining and a reason to cozy up to whomever you're sharing it with.
"It's a fun surprise and a little whimsical. I try to make all my food playful. I am proud of it. But I can't be too proud because I didn't come up with it. But I guess that's art—stealing something from someone and making it your own."