This episode features not just one but several lavish dishes, as Hannibal throws a dinner party for eight in which “nothing is vegetarian” (that’s an understatement). While Will is driving himself wild investigating the Chesapeake Ripper, obsessing over who is guilty, who is innocent, and what will happen next, Dr. Lecter is treating his guests to an incredible array of meat-based dishes. There is blood sausage, carpaccio, liver, head cheese, and pretty much any carnivorous delight one can think of.
But the star of the show is the main course, the stuffed skewered heart, filled with mushrooms, herbs, and butter and wrapped in slices of pancetta. The heart is served with red roses — tomato roses, that is — and heart tartare in vol-au-vents. Hannibal pours his heart into his cooking, and here that becomes quite literal. He serves his guests a piece of his heart, and some of his favorite dishes, though he’ll never tell them what’s really inside. If you’re not a vegetarian, it’s easy to get swept up in the sheer spectacle of it all and think about grabbing a plate for yourself.