For some, a meal without dessert is incomplete, then there are some who select their dessert first in a restaurant and then choose to finish their meal with a small cheese plate, and around the Mediterranean Sea practically all peoples like to finish their meal with fresh, seasonal fruits. This is good for digestion since the acidity of fresh fruit helps the process and leaves the mouth refreshed.
In western industrialized countries, people like to finish their meal with heavy desserts like cheese cake with a raspberry coulis, or strawberry shortcake with whipped cream, or Sacher torte, chocolate cake, Tarte Tatin, just to name a few. All contain inordinate amounts of sugar and fat that may taste great, but ad to caloric intake, and hamper digestion.
Desserts are best enjoyed, at lunch when the body has ample time to digest and hopefully the individual will have the good sense to exercise a little in attempt help the process.
Ideally, dinner should be light and consumed around six p m. For older people earlier is even better.
Spaniards are notoriously late and heavy diners. At eight p m, most Spanish restaurtan are empty, except for those catering to English speaking tourists. They start getting busy around 10 p m and people still eat up to midnight.
How well they sleep after that is a mystery?
The French, particularly Parisians, are also late diners and consider eight or nine p m an appropriate time. However, modern French restaurant menus offer light desserts and only a few. Some even consider a small, assorted cheese plate to be an excellent finish to a fine meal.
If you like to dine late, consider the following dessert: fresh seasonal strawberries marinated in pinot noir embellished with liquid whipping cream, Beaujolais poached pears, fresh fruit salad perfumed with ginger, or Grand Marnier or Cointreau, fresh raspberries in Kirsch eau-de-vie or simply a fresh fruit platter.
If you absolutely want to indulge in dessert, let it be a very small portion and light, maybe ladyfinger ice cream sandwich cookies or pineapples sautéed and flamed with Pernod.