_Reserved! And an audible sigh of relief...Do you like my bag on the right? ;)
For those of us, and there are many, who look forward every 6 months for Adriano Zumbo's new "Please sir can I Have Some More!" cake collection, today is the culmination of many ruminations, conversations and pontifications on what he may come up with next. Today, to add a bit of chaos to the whole collection, Reem and I thought we should do a food blogger's meet. Reem organised it all and so we thought 7 of us would be seated in the Cafe, having bought our cakes and delicate morsels from the shop nearby. For those of you who haven't heard of Adriano Zumbo, the man is the Australia's answer to Pierre Hermè.
Craigie bam: chocolate dacquoise, chocolate sabayon with salted caramel debris, chocolate caramel cremeaux, caramel mousse $7.50
On the Lounge with Zumbo: Mango financier, rapsberry and liquorice jelly, fresh mango slices, liquorice mousse, mango caramel glacage $7.50
_Miss Marple Cheesecale: Orange Cheesecake with orange strawberry compote, cream chese crème legere with crepe and maple glaze $7.50
And then 20 or so of us showed up. Thankfully Adriano had reserved the alcove area for us which I am thankful for as walking towards the cafe, we see that every table is full. We make our way to the shop and make our selection, I pick up 3 cakes, Reem 5 (some to take home, I should add) and we ponder the new collection. Even at 11am, many of the cakes have sold out or only have 1 or 2 left in the display so calling ahead to reserve is definitely recommended.
_Charles, after whom the Charles du Jour is named
Cassius: Chocolate biscuit macaron, blackcurrant chocolate cremeaux, chocolate plates with sea salt, dark chocolate chantilly $7.80
Have a chat Kai! Coconut dacquoise, lychee jelly, coconut mousse, coconut crunch, fresh strawberries and lychees $7.80
Charles, the counter guy, after whom the Charles du Jour is named after, is organised and friendly, and ensures that we get a good selection of cakes that others haven't ordered before. There are 23 new gateaux in total and 5 tarts with 3 being new and 11 of them being gluten free. The idea is to get cakes that others haven't had so that we can try more of the range. In the store there is another couple, also Zumbo fans and it turns out the girl is from the Zumbo cooking class that I attended earlier this year. And I notice one of the waitresses from the cafe was also at the class.
Framboise Millefeuille: Raspberry coulis, biscuit jacdone, raspberry crème mascarpone and caramelised puff pastry $7.50
Zumbo the kid: Vegemite bavaroise (yes Vegemite!), peanut butter crème legere, raspberry jelly, chocolate peanut glacage, peanut feullitine, flourless chocolate biscuit $7.50
_Macaron selection-the pink coconut one is the "finger bun" flavour!
Serendipitously, there's a new bunch of cake arrivals delivered by Adriano into the store. UZC and Wheely Wildy Wendy make their way into my cakebox.
Wheely Wildy Wendy: Fresh roasted peach in a tonka bean crème legere and sandwiched between two almond dacquoise disks and rolled in almond crumble $7.60
Going back to the cafe, we see that everyone has started (arrrgh, this means we don't get any food pornish closeups-bad blogger etiquette!). By now the table is so crowded there is no room for Reem and I to even set down a cake so we take over a nearby table.
We stop by the chocolate counter and the wildly popular and (in)famous CT or Cameltoe is sold out again but Rachel, the keeper of all of the goodness, finds us some to try. It's beautifully red winey with a liquid centre. Thanks Rachel!
My favourite Zumbo cake is one that he remakes every season with a different flavour combination. Originally the Wheelie Good, it was also the Wheelie Good Berrylicious and now it's the Wheely Wildy Wendy with fresh roasted peach in a tonka bean legere and sandwiched between two almond dacquoise disks and rolled in almond crumble. Actually this is the sort of thing that probably deserves some breaking down into parts for explanation. From consulting the Oracle i.e. google, Tonka Beans are used in a similar way to vanilla bean and are said to have a vanilla, almond, cinnamon and clove scent. The crème legere is a combination of crème patisserie, custard and whipped cream. The trick of course is to get a bit of the creme filling, fruit, dacquoise and almond crunch. The crème legere has a milder taste than the creme patisserie by itself. It's good and I love the difference in textures but the original Wheelie Good still wins my heart apricots, pistachios.
The Zumbo the Kid had to be bought, mainly as it contains a Vegemite bavarois which is paired with peanut butter crème legere, raspberry jelly, chocolate peanut glacage, peanut feullitine, flourless chocolate biscuit. For those trepidatious, never fear, he's not mad, so the Vegemite taste is mild, giving it a saltiness rather than the actual Vegemite taste. When I taste it the first thing I think of is an upmarket Picnic bar with the peanuts and chocolate. Well that is if a Picnic bar bred with a supermodel of course.
Past Jobs, a dessert in the glass is interesting. It's a kaffir lime and ginger pannacotta, black sticky rice pudding, exotic fruit jelly, palm sugar mascarpone. I can really taste the kaffir lime in the pannacotta and the black sticky rice is a little on the crunchy side but all together it's delicious. I need to give it a few goes to reach the pannacotta in the bottom (haha no hardship, sorry Reem!). Like a trip to Asia in a cup although I wonder what past jobs he might be referring to?
I try some Rice Pudding Eclair: pate a choux, rice pudding creme patisserie, cinnamon dusted fondant. It's delicious, the rice pudding giving the creamy custard it an unusual but interesting texture and of course the sweet cinnamon dusted icing seals the marriage of the rice pudding and eclair.
The Where's tthe f*%#@^ cheese? is an intriguing one, one that divides us. I love a mild creamy Danish blue on a cheese plate but loathe strong blue cheeses. This is a mild, creamy blue cheese mousse on the outside, filled with fig, raisin and pear creameaux, pear & Vanilla bavaroise and walnut biscuit. I'm in heaven, this is fantastic from beginning to end. To me, it's like eating a delicious cheese platter. Like a good cheese platter, it's paired with dried figs, raisins and pears which go so well with a creamy blue. I like the hint of blue cheese but it's so creamy and delicious you wouldn't think "Good lord is that blue cheese?". The walnut biscuit is snappy, biscuity perfection to give the whole cake a textural shift.
And like Michael Jackson emerging from the balcony in Germany, Adriano appears and excitement ensues, the normally shy guy having been coaxed out to see us by Rachel (we heart you Rachel!). Our presence certainly caused a bit of commotion in the cafe so perhaps he was scared (I don't blame him). We all crowd and take pictures of him, even his mum, the très elegant Mrs Zumbo is there. We talk for a bit as he needs to be on his way and he sees my selection which he remarks is 3 of the best of the collection. He asks me if I have tried the Charles Du Jour, I lament I hadn't gotten a photo of it and that I probably won't as there was only one left in the shop so he disappears and comes back with a box containing the Charles Du Jour, the Sunny Cloud and Framboise Millefeuille. Awww, yes this is why we adore him. And the exciting news is that he is working on a cookbook. Yes, that's right, a Zumbo cookbook! Tailored for home cooks who may not have the fancier things like cone moulds, we can become Mini Zumbo chefs :)
Dr Apple Pistachio dacquoise, lychee jelly, coconut mousse, coconut crunch, fresh strawberries and lychees. After seeing this on Belle's blog (being a lucky Balmain resident she gets first look at everything), I knew I had to have it. You see I have a complete, unwavering devotion for Elphaba from Wicked, the not so Wicked but rather misunderstood Wicked Witch of the West. So to me, this was a tribute to her, green and in a pointy witch hat shape.
The apple flavour dominates through the delicious apple cider jelly and green apple mousse which makes me happy to no end alongside the sweetened vanilla whipped cream. There's even tiny pieces of greener than green apple peel inside. For an apple dessert lover like me, heavenly and luscious.
The Charles du Jour is a tart pate sucree, vanilla ganache, vanilla crème chantilly, vanilla water bursts and vanilla glacage (glaze). It's one for the vanilla lover in your life, the outer reminiscent of soft beaten meringue and yes you read correctly, with vanilla water bursts which are two chocolate balls on the top which I'll warn you to pop into your mouth whole and then chomp down or risk a sartorial nightmare with a spurt of unsweetened vanilla water all over your clothes.
This is my husband's and parent's favourite, the sweet and headily vanilla'ed tart with vanilla in every layer pleasuring the senses of taste and smell. The pieces of strawberry provide a slight tartness to cut through the thick vanilla and I've always thought that there is nothing better than strawberries and cream.
Framboise Millefeuille is Raspberry coulis, biscuit jaconde, raspberry creme mascarpone and caramelised puff pastry. Just from looking at the deliciously multi layered and thick caramelised pastry top (so much thicker an crispier than a regular Mille Feuille), I know this is going to be gloriously crunchy and crisp. It reminds me of the 2000 Feuilles that I had at Pierre Hermè which relieves me that I can get this sort of fantastic pastry here. The raspberry coulis and creme mascarpone is strong and sweet. I love the crunch paired with the soft centre-music to my ears.
The one that had me lusting after it was the UZC but then if you top a cake with a macaron I'm sure I'll soon be waving a fork in your direction. It's a biscuit macaron, sweet corn jelly, saffron bavaroise and vanilla brulee. If there's one thing I urge everyone to try, it's sweet corn in desserts-I've even made a sweet corn ice cream. The saffron's honey taste is strong if not in the colouring of the bavaroise, and the combination of these flavours is so complete and honeyed in taste, my mother is anguished about her soon forgotten diet.
The Yuzu is one of my favourite dessert flavours, the Japanese citrus fruit is mild and sweet, and paired with the sweet macaron it's a perfect match.
The Sunny Cloud is a variation on a tart that he had made before, previously it was the breathtakingly beautiful Storm Cloud (that blue powder, divine!). This season it's pate sable, lime jelly, yoghurt creme fraiche, lime curd and italian meringue. It's the prettiest key lime pie you'll find and for fans of tangy lime curd.
On the Lounge with Zumbo: Mango Financier, raspberry & liquorice jelly, fresh mango slices, liquorice mousse, mango caramel glacage $7.50
PARIS: La Vie En Rose: Rose Creme Brulee, Raspberry sorbet balls, fresh lychees, petit rose macarons and coconut strawberry tapioca shake $13.50
The desserts from the cafe themselves are delicious sounding and Yien orders the Paris, the one I was lusting after. It's the clear winner in the beauty pageant stakes with Rachel bringing it over and us accosting her and jostling like papparazzi trying to get the very first baby picture of Sunday Rose Kidman Urban.
Ffichiban's The It's a Macaron and Not a Hamburger: Dulce de leche gelato filled macaron with banana caramel rice pudding and chocolate salt $13.50
Some of us have to dash but some of us stay behind and believe it or not, we talk about things other than food. Thing such as New York, the Playboy Mansion and Hugh Hefner's sex life. You could never accuse us of being one dimensional. Crazy about Zumbo yes but not one dimensional.
Adriano Zumbo Patissier
296 Darling St, Balmain
Open 7 days
Current collection above available from Saturday 22nd of November 2008 to Friday 22nd of May, 2009.
Adriano Zumbo Cafe Chocolat
308 Darling St, Balmain (inside Balmain Mall)
Open 7 days from 7am-6pm (times may vary as the cafe settles in)