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.
Every year, my girlfriends and I organise an early Christmas catch up over a good old French fare before everything gets too crazy. We’d been talking about Brasserie Ananas for a while, and I was pretty excited to try it, as I was well aware of the chefs’ pedigree: Paul McGrath, previously from 2-hatted Bistro Ortolan in Leichhardt, and pastry chef Yves Scherrer, whom I knew from his work with Team Pastry Australia and his reputation for the best Salted Caramel Eclair in town.
And yes, people might also remember this restaurant for making the news with their infamous bright red mouth-shaped urinals! The uproar they provoked led to their removal… until the owners decided to put the urinals back again! But I think the food is what they should be known for, as it really is worth it.
Who doesn’t like Soufflés, those light, moist, airy as clouds cakes. Savoury or sweet, they’re bound to impress your guests at dinner parties… that is, if the soufflé doesn’t collapse before reaching the dining table, or worse, never rises. Capricious little things they are…
Adriano 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.
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.
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.
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.
Team Pastry Australia
©M.Venables 2012, All rights reserved
Some of you might know that I was overseas last April-May, namely Singapore and France, sorry it took me so long to sort all that out. I’m back now, with lots of great memories I’d like to share with you!
First and foremost, let me tell you about the Asian Pastry Cup, a competition organised by French brands Valrhôna (chocolate) and Ravifruit (fruit purees) to select the best teams from the Asia-Pacific area. The top 4 will be able to compete in the World Pastry Cup, which will be held as part of the renowned SIRHA (a huuuge fine food show) in Lyon next January.
My partner and I have been following the Australian team closely for more than a year to document their preparation and training for the Asian Pastry Cup and we flew to Singapore last April to witness this crucial step in their journey to the “Coupe du Monde”.
Canelés are great little pastries originating from Bordeaux. The legend has it that it was first made by sisters from the Annonciades covent in Bordeaux in the 16th century, and that its tubular shape gave it the name of canelé (= cane).