Category Archives: Events

La Maison de l’Eclair – Bondi

Chocolate eclair

After a Macaron frenzy fuelled by pastry wizard Adriano Zumbo, Baroque Bistro (followed by many others), and more recently the arrival of French macaron house Ladurée, get ready for a new pastry trend in Sydney town. Indeed, Eclair is the “new black” of the pastry world, according to La Maison de l’Eclair, the first store in Sydney entirely dedicated to Eclairs which has just opened.

I’m pretty excited that the classic éclair has been given a new, sexy makeover and given a spot in the limelight! In France, renowned French pastry chef Christophe Adam has led the way with his concept store, L’Eclair de génie, where he offers a full range of completely revisited éclairs, with flavours changing every season, not unlike haute-couture fashion collections. You can watch him at work in this video when he came downunder to host a workshop at Savour School in Melbourne earlier this year (check out his sweet “Burger” éclair at the end of the video, very well done!).

I knew when I saw Adam’s crazy éclair display at fine food show SIRHA in Lyon last January, that it was only a matter of time before this new craze reached our shores!

Of course, you could already find excellent éclairs in Sydney, like for example at Black Star Pastry, but the Eclair concept store had yet to be created.

LaurenceLaurence Caillon (Croquembouche & Maison de l’Eclair)

I didn’t have to wait too long… Founded by Frédéric and Laurence Caillon, who have been running Croquembouche Patisserie in Banksmeadow since 2000, La Maison de l’Eclair has just opened in the old Paris Cake Shop premises, and I had the opportunity to attend their launch party.

Savoury eclair selectionSavoury selection: Toulouse, St Malo, Paris, Arcachon etc.

Not only do they offer classics like chocolate and coffee éclairs, but they have been very creative with new and sophisticated flavours. However the real novelty are the savoury éclairs, which are all named after French cities and represent their regional specialties: for example, Bergerac ($9.50) contains foie gras, a specialty from the Southwest. They are all made with a buckwheat choux pastry (gluten-free), which should somewhat relieve the guilt of the most health-conscious among us ;)

Savoury eclairs

Even though I got to taste a fair few éclairs that night, I only scratched the surface of the large selection on offer. You could choose from Paris (ham, comté, tomatoes, mesclun leaves, mayo), Chambord (Goat’s cheese, sun dried tomatoes, pesto, basil) and many more, but one savoury eclair that I thought worked really well was the Archachon (Salmon, dill & cream cheese).

The question was raised among guests about whether the savoury ones would be filling enough for lunch. To me it probably would, but the biggest appetites might need a bit more to really feel full… maybe a sweet éclair for dessert would do the trick!

SparklesThe sparkly Eclair tower in honour of Frederic & Laurence (nice colour match!)

We were then served the sweet ones, which ranged from the classic Chocolat, Espresso, Vanilla, to the more “out there” ones, like the Mojito (Mojito ganache cream, fresh mint). Frederic and Laurence have also reinterpreted French classics, like the Tropézienne, Lemon Meringue and Paris-Sydney, a twist on the popular Paris-Brest, which I loooove. The Canadian and the Caribbean, both laden with fresh fruits, are on the pricier side at $7.50. I had a soft spot for the Pistachio and the Grand Cru Ecuador, with its intense (70%) chocolate flavour.

EclairsAn infinity of Eclairs

Guests

Even though I was able to chose any one of the éclairs on display to take home, I just couldn’t resist the classic Chocolate one – the best way to judge a good éclair I thought… it didn’t last 10 minutes from the moment I got home, which is a good sign!

Classic eclairsChocolat, Coffee and Vanilla: the Sweet Classics

I hope Australians will love Eclairs as much as they loved macarons and cupcakes. (Except Eclairs are much nicer, in my humble opinion!)

So, what do you think will be the next big trend after Eclairs? (I think it’s going to be Canelés…) ;)

Hazelnut eclairHazelnut Eclair

Passion & Peanut EclairsPeanut Butter, Pistachio and Passionfruit

Peanut & TropezienneTropézienne & Peanut Butter

Sweet eclair selectionRaspberry & Bounty

Sweet eclairs displayCarribean, Canadian and Lemon Meringue

Grand Cru EcuadorGrand Cru Ecuador (70%)

Sydney-BrestParis-Sydney

Maison de l’Eclair
91 Bondi Road
Bondi NSW 2026

Sydney Cove Oyster Bar – Harbourside Beach Barbie

SunsetLocation, location!

A few weeks ago I was invited to the media preview of Sydney Cove Oyster Bar‘s Harbourside Beach Barbie, taking place every Saturday at lunchtime in October for only $55/pp. during Good Food Month, Sydney Morning Herald’s food festival.

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Red Obsession

Chinese Billionaire and his $60m cellarChinese sex-toy billionaire and his $60-million cellar

Last week I went to see a great documentary at the Dendy Newtown about the legendary Bordeaux wines, called: “Red Obsession“, one of Sydney Festival hit films a few months ago. It was directed by Warwick Ross and David Roach, and the latter was present at the Dendy for a Q&A after the projection.

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Progressive Dinner in Surry Hills

Late last month I was invited to a “Dinner on the run”, a progressive dinner organised by social concierge Lime & Tonic.

A progressive dinner is a bit like a pub crawl, except that it involves food in addition to the booze and that the after effects are not as painful! In addition to that, Lime & Tonic selects the best dishes of the restaurants and the only thing you have to worry about is rock up there and enjoy yourself. That night we were going to Sugarcane, Bar H and Longrain, all a stone’s throw away from each other in trendy Surry Hills.

Sugarcane entreesPrawns  on rice cakes & Som Tam with crispy pork

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Eveleigh Uncorked – Wine and Cheese Fair

Eveleigh Uncorked

A few weeks ago, the first edition of “Eveleigh Uncorked” took place at Carriage Works in Eveleigh/Darlington.

According to the organisers of the event, this Wine and Cheese Fair attracted “over 4,500 wine and food loving people coming down to support over 45 family run independent wineries and 10 artisan cheesemakers, olive producers and bread makers.”

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Gabriel Gate – Taste le Tour 2013

Gabriel GateGabriel Gaté at the Alliance Française of Sydney

JULY really is the “French month”.

Every food magazine releases their special French issue, all the restaurants prepare their Bastille Day menu, and every night for 21 days, people settle comfortably on their couch to watch Le Tour de France and treat themselves to a bit of vicarious sightseeing via the helicopter shots of gorgeous French regional scenery.

I am still amazed at how much Australians love “Le Tour” and, even though I don’t adore cycling (or sports in general), I have taken to the general enthusiasm surrounding the Tour over the years.

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Le Concours des Vins du NSW – FACCI

flowersWhere NSW Wines meet the French palate…

A few weeks ago I attended the NSW Wines competition organised by the French-Australian Chamber of Commerce at the Doltone House in Pyrmont, and had the opportunity to talk to Master Sommelier Franck Moreau from the Merivale Group, and Florent Bouvier from the Travers Wines. I wrote a little article for the Sydney edition of Le Petit Journal, an online publication in French for expats all over the world.

I’m going to try to adapt it to the blog, in English, in the version below :)

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Things to do for Bastille Day 2013 in Sydney

july-wallpaper-1280x800Paper art by Sydney-based French artist Marine Coutroutsios

Have you guys already planned your Bastille Day this year?

More and more exciting things happen in Sydney for the occasion, and it’s great to see Bastille Day so wholeheartedly embraced by Australians & French expats alike every year!

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Interview with Jon Dee about Food Waste

Hello dear readers,

Just thought I’d republish here an interview I did for the South Sydney Herald following the World Environment Day on June 5th. I had the opportunity to talk with Jon Dee, Author, Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Do Something! and Planet Ark, about an increasingly worrying issue: food waste.

Read on… and feel free to leave your own tips on how to avoid food waste in the “Comments” section!  :)

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Waking up to food waste

World Environment Day is celebrated annually on June 5 to raise global awareness of the need to take positive environmental action. This year’s theme was “Think.Eat.Save”, as the amount of food wasted all over the world is growing, while millions of people go to bed hungry every day. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted, the equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. In Australia alone, 4 million tons ($8 billion worth) of food per year is thrown out, most of which ends up in landfill. Australians waste about 20 per cent of the food they buy.

JON DEEJon Dee (Photo: Supplied)

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Anna Polyviou’s Dessert Degustation at Shangri-La, Sydney

Adriano Zumbo - Anna Polyviou - Daniel TexterAdriano Zumbo, Anna Polyviou and Daniel Texter

An energetic and passionate pastry chef, award-winning Anna Polyviou‘s had a career spanning 13 years that’s taken her around the world from Melbourne to London, Paris (working for Pierre Hermé), Chicago and now, Sydney.

After five years running the pastry and baking operations at Bathers Pavilion, Anna has recently been appointed to her new role as the Executive Pastry Chef at the Shangri-La Hotel in The Rocks.

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