New Valrhona chocolate: Dulcey, a “blonde” chocolate (32%)
Valrhona is a name I grew up hearing about, as my hometown Romans-sur-Isère was not far from their headquarters in Tain l’Hermitage (Drôme), an area better known for their Syrah wines, made by Chapoutier, Jaboulet et al. I knew at the time it was supposed to be a fine chocolate, but I wasn’t aware of their international reputation, which is pretty much that of being one of the best chocolates in the world.
Miles and Maya in that famous scene from “Sideways”
Maya: “Why are you so into Pinot?”
Miles Raymond: “Uh, I don’t know, I don’t know. Um, it’s a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It’s uh, it’s thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s, you know, it’s not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it’s neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they’re just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and… ancient on the planet.”
Team Pastry Australia at Le Cordon Bleu, Ryde, March 2013
Some of you might know that my partner and I have been following the Australian Pastry Team for two years in order to document their journey to Singapore for the Asian Pastry Cup, and then France for the World Pastry Cup.
Hope you are well! Today I’m republishing an article I wrote for my local paper, the South Sydney Herald, initially published on May 7th. I was honoured to meet Jennice & Raymond Kersh at Tapeo Cafe in Redfern for this interview, as I had heard of them ever since I arrived in Australia: they are real legends! They were the first to bring indigenous ingredients to the public in their (now closed) restaurant “Edna’s Table” in Sydney CBD.
Jennice & Raymond Kersh at Tapeo Cafe, Redfern – Photo: Sandra Beeston
A few months ago, as I was researching an article for the beautiful website Eat Love, I had the opportunity to meet with Ludovic Geyer, a French Chef who runs with partner Xavier Huitorel the popular Bistro Papillon, located in Sydney CBD.
Ludovic generously gave me his time to answer my questions about his experience of food as a French man who has been living in Australia for 8 years now.
Here are his answers… (translated into English by myself)
Aaaah, France in winter…. the snow, the cold, the icy wind, the trains blocked by frozen-up rails, running 1, 2, 3 hours late! The beautiful puddles of melted snow sludge mixed with dog sh.t… The constant sneezing, runny nose, everyone being sick around you, the daily trips to the chemist…. Nope, really I don’t think I’ll ever say I miss French winters again!
The Australian team wins Gold at the Asia Pastry Cup 2012, Singapore
©Matthew Venables 2012
As some of you might already know, my partner and I have filming these talented pastry chefs for more than two years now, and it has been a great experience to watch them work and train like madmen and create beautiful chocolate, sugar and ice sculptures. It has also been a privilege and a great pleasure to see them win Gold at the Asian Pastry Cup last year in Singapore!
À nous la capitale!
Panorama Paris, view from Tour Montparnasse ©M.Venables
Following our little misfortunes in Lyon, we had almost a whole week in Paris to live the dream. We had rented a little studio in the 11th Arrondissement, with a “kitchenette”, which allowed us to cook a few meals, coffee and breakfast.
Our place was near the Goncourt metro station, which was ideally close to Canal St-Martin, République, as well as the cool Oberkampf area.
Lyon Panorama, view from Notre Dame de Fourvière
During our brief stop in Lyon, we first stayed at our friends’ house in the Croix Rousse, a hilly area in the old part of town, which used to be working class, home of Lyon’s silk workers, and is now quite trendy. Well my friends and I used to live there, so the hipsters followed… naturally 😉 Just joking!
They had organised a little crêpe party for us, thanks to their awesome mini-crêpe machine, which allows everyone at the table to make their own crêpes and the hosts to enjoy themselves, instead of being stuck in the kitchen.
Soooo…. bonjour guys!
It’s been a while indeed! Please forgive my snail pace with regards to writing this blog: this year has been a busy one. But hopefully it will be rewarding with exciting stuff, so stay tuned!
To resume on my French adventures a few months back, after a perfect few days in Marseille, we took the TGV back to my parents’, who live in a little town in the Drôme department. We were pampered and fed lots of good stuff, so much so that I couldn’t face any cheese for a while after that!