Fancy baking in a bakery? How about an evening making a loaf of gluten-free bread and shortcrust pastry? At Brasserie Bread, they have come up with one of the best gluten-free slumber baking party ideas ever. It’s a rare chance to spend 3 hours with an artisan baker and learn the technical skills from starter to finish. For ($160 per person) max 10 students per course, this intimate workshop allows you go create and bake an amazing gluten-free bread loaf, a foccacia-style cornbread and a smoked trout & goats cheese tart with natural ingredient. In 2013 the Brasserie Bread has won sourdough loaf and Gold Medal at the RAS Sydney Fine Food Show Awards and in 2014 winner of champion sourdough & organic bread at sydney royal fine food show. The bakery is always occupied with a variety of hot fresh baked breads and pastries. For those who like to attempt making gluten-free bread, Brasserie Bread offer evening classes. You wouldn’t want to miss out breaducation, if you happen to like bread.
Gluten-Free Baking Workshop at Banksmeadow Bakery.
At 1:30pm sharp, the breaducation door was wide open and whilst we wait for other guests to arrive, I go do my Nessy thang. Wandering around with my camera and trying snoop around and see how a bakery looks like. This crazy large kitchen has a lot of personality and I am talking about GIGANTIC mixer and LARGE oven, it’s a dream baking kitchen alright. We were almost ready to begin, but it was nice of Artisan Baker Jo to let us introduce ourselves. Just a few centimeters to my left, I happen to be standing next to Go Bake Yourself! Urvashi is incredibly an awesome baker and you’d want her to bake you something everyday! Also standing next to Urvashi, Grab Your Fork’s cousin, Yvonne happens to be in the house. What a small world! This woman is seriously a baking enthusiast as she mentioned this would be her second class. SUPER KEEN BEAN!
Baking 3 Hours of gluten-free bread is fun for everyone.
Enough of me waffling and we start off with our starter ingredients to make Gluten-Free Bread Loaf. This includes organic gluten free flour, organic buckwheat flour, organic besan flour, river salt, raw sugar, fresh yeast, extra virgin olive oil, milk, water, xanthan gum and biga. Jo mentions that in the gluten free flour, there is a mixture of organic gluten free flour, 75% organic brown rice flour, 12.5% millet, 12.5% buckwheat. Top secret tip: For every 500grams of this mix, add 1tablespoon of gelatine, so this let’s the bread mingle well together. With the mix of these organic flours and gelatine it helps create a better tastier characteristics, especially the tendency of the bread is quite strong. For the gluten free enthusiast, Jo recommends Eating Gluten Free and Bette Hagman’s recipes. After Jo introduces us to gluten-free ingredients and our schedule, we hop to it with our mixing. We blended our fresh yeast, raw sugar, salt to our cup of milk, then poured it straight into our bowl and mixed thoroughly together till it looks sticky.
This is not so hard! Gluten-Free Bread Loaf here I come.
Next, we add water and oil, then continue mixing thoroughly till you get a nice mushy texture.
Adding 40ml of extra virgin oil plus 80ml of water into the mixing bowl.
After a nice arm workout with mixing, add 200 grams of biga into the mixing bowl. Did you know? Biga is a natural fermenting dough that is used to create a breads characteristics of flavour.
That’s 200 grams of Biga.
Mixing all ingredients together.
Well that’s a wrap for Gluten Free Bread Loaf. Just kidding! We had no choice to say farewell to these babies for about an hour so they can bulk ferment in a warm place. We all had to make sure our bowls were covered in clean wrap, so no flavours dissolve out in open.
Placing these Gluten-Free Bread Loaf mixture into the refrigerate room before baking.
Eagerly waiting for a next activity, Jo introduces us to Lupin. Lupin is a fantastic ingredient as it contains LOW GI and HIGH in PROTEIN (up to 40%) and great health benefit for those participating high content of dietary fibre. It is made from dehulled leguminous lupin kernels, not maize. From an Artisan Baker’s perspective, Jo suggest Kialla Pure is an excellent choice to making gluten free products, however if you don’t have that then use whatever that best fits you.
Jo talks about the ingredients we were using.
For making our Gluten Free Focaccia, it was exactly the same steps to making Gluten Free Bread Loaf. However slight difference with ingredients: organic gluten free flour, river salt, raw sugar, fresh yeast, organic Lupin flour, extra virgin olive oil, milk, water, xanthan gum and biga. After combining all ingredients together, cover it with clean wrap and store in a warm place. During the waiting process, six lucky guests including myself got the opportunity to go behind the scene and witness Brasserie Bread baking world. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photos, but let me point this out, it was FREAKEN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE! It felt like Willy Wonka Wonderland, except this one’s for the bread fanatics. We stopped at the croissant pastry room and endless trays of croissants were waiting to be baked. We even witnessed bakers who had no gloves on taking out hot crisp sourdough bread straight out of the oven. That’s unbelievably insane!
Excitingly waiting to place the mixture into that tiny tray.
I know! Time flies and our Gluten Free Bread Loaf mixture was ready. I am going to make sure this bread is going to look attractive to eat. But first, let me out scoop 250 grams of Gluten- Free Bread Loaf mixture to take home and test it out in my own oven.
We were allowed to take home 250g Gluten-Free Bread Loaf mixture.
Jo suggests we should sprinkle nothing but sesame seeds to add that additional flavour to our loaf of bread. Hmmmmmm I can smell it already!
Get ready to get baked Gluten-Free Bread Loaf.
Can’t wait to see how these bad boys will turn out.
Once these adorable tins are in the oven, get your hands dirty cause it’s time for Gluten Free Shortcrust Pastry. Each guest gets one piece of already made mixture that has been refrigerated for at least 1 hour before ready to use.
Excited to make Gluten-Free Shortcrust Pastry.
Closely listening and examining Jo’s method of placing the shortcrust onto the tin seemed super easy, but when I done it, it was a bit of a struggle. Luckily, a great tip Jo mentioned is use your roller to evenly shape the edges of the crust. Once you have enough confidence with the mold of your crust, add baking beans to hold the shape before place it in the oven.
Baking beans are used to get the shortcrust pastry to hold their shape before putting it in the oven.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees, then push the tarts into the oven for 10 minutes until slightly golden brown. My tart almost looks golden brown, but don’t forget I need to add a few things then back in the oven again.
Hey! My gluten-free shortcrust pastry turned out not so bad for a first timer.
Jo offered us smoked trout, goats cheese, caramelised onion, ricotta and pesto to fill up a lovely tarts. Once all guests were finished showing-off their presentation talents, tarts went straight back in the oven again for about 10 minutes.
The best part about making gluten-free tart is filling it with smoked trout, goats cheese, caramelised onion and pesto.
What do you think? The crust was perfectly baked and texture was very nice and crumbly with a hint of buttery flavour.
TA DA! My work of art 😀
Fruit flavour refreshments : Frou Frou Cordials is a must try! Taste very fancy without any preservaties, colouring or artificial flavours.
Back to the bakery lab and our Gluten Free Focaccia is ready for us to mold. Before that Jo gives us some helpful hints to create the perfect flavours to our focaccia and that’s adding extra virgin olive oil. Once we’ve completed shaping our Focaccia, it’s ready to get baked!
Allow the mixture to ‘bulk fermet‘ for at least 1 hour in a warm place.
Jo demonstrating how to decorate the gluten-free focaccia.
Time to top the Gluten-Free Focaccia with desired ingredients.
Can’t believe I made my own Gluten Free Bread Loaf!!! I like I am one step closer to becoming the perfect future housewife 😛
Our Gluten-Free Bread Loaf is ready!
Ok ok, I confess and Urvashi can be my witness that most of the time I was the kid in this class. Everyone elses Gluten Free Focaccia turned out to be a normal, except mine and Urvashi. Haha! You see Urvashi focaccia and my Franklinstein focaccia got married in the baking room. They were baking it out for 15 minutes in the oven and they look perfectly happy with a nice golden crisp tan face. They make an excellent couple because they both have wonderful red sun dried tomatoes and sprinkles of rosemary smile and oh, can’t forget dusted cheddar cheese to add that extra personality.
Haha! Urvashi and I may of decorated our Gluten-Free Focaccia in a different manner.
Before we left, it was my duty to go for a BREAD-ING SPREE with Yvonne and Urvashi. Can you imagine how much bread and danishes one can take home and eat? Brasserie Bread have an enormous supply of bread, cake and pastries. It honestly didn’t take us long to decide what bread to take home because everything smelt so delicious, my body was ready for it.
WOW! Is this bread heaven or what?! ❤ ❤ ❤
Ready to eat Olive & Rosemary Loaf
Love to whack someone in the head with the Rustic Loaf. KIDDING! Or am I ? 😛
All the French Pastry one could ever ask for!
This is where beautiful breads and pastries are made.
I only have one sentence to sum up my BREAD-ING SPREE feelings. DAMMMMMN GIRL!!!! Mama’s bringing home the bread. 😛 I apologise to you readers in advance that your eyes will have to witness a few disturbing photos and maybe some side effects include craving for bread and pastries.
Just doing my BREAD SPREE with Urvashi at Brasserie Bread Bakery store. No biggie!
Let me introduce you to some unique breads that Brasserie Bread has to offer!!! You won’t be bored from this bakery. Behold! Organic Sourdough – Large Bakers Round that’s the size of my face and BIGGER.
French Mountain Bread – Large Bakers Round-It’s TWO TIMES BIGGER than my FACE.
Granary Toast Loaf packed with variety of 6 grains.
The Kalamata Olives & Fresh Rosemary Boule ($7.50) is great with soup.
Walnut & Fig Loaf ($7.50) contains chock-full of walnuts and dried figs and is the ultimate fruit sourdough.
Ready to take on the world with my my French Mountain shield and Rustic sword.
(Excuse my messy Nessy hair, I just came back from a battle).
I am not ashamed of myself for not being that typical girl who enjoys shopping spree at a shopping center ( don’t get me wrong, I love that too), but I rather get some carbs in my system and go all bread-ing bad at the bakery.Teehee.
Nessy Eater girl clearly brings home the bread. Haha!
Photos by Vanny Tang
Opinions are however, Nessy Eater’s own.
Like to know more about Nessy Eater food adventures?
If you are travelling to or live in Hong Kong then tickle your taste buds with WOOBAR afternoon tea set for two ($398HKD + 10% for Two = $437.80HKD) ($64.38Aus for Two). This fun-filled two-tiered high tea set offers delightful savories at the top while below, bite-sized sweet items. WOOBAR does tempt us with their tower of goodness and other highlights include creative lollipops, red bean puffs and BBQ pork puff. This set is available from 2pm-6:30pm.
Sneak peak of the W T Time High Tea Set
The Dilmah Rose with French Vanilla is inspiringly aromatic, with natural fragrance of rose, combining with a mystical hint of vanilla. Whilst it’s still hot, you can really smell the floral note blend in the air.
2 X Rose w French Vanilla
Enjoy the special collection of mix savory and sweet bites that WOOBAR has to offer in Hong Kong. For three people, I recommend getting one high tea set, depending on how hungry you are because overtime it gets extremely filling. Unless you’d t like try a bit of everything, then GO AHEAD!
W T Time High Tea Set ($398HKD + 10% for Two = $437.80HKD) ($64.38Aus for Two)
We start off with the top savory level that include Cantonese pickled beef sandwich- Two thinly shaved slices of green cucumber enveloping the two decked cube sandwich with tomato, lettuce and beef. The white bread itself was a tad dry but luckily in between the sandwich, a spread of sweet mustard saved the day.
Cantonese pickled beef sandwich w sweet mustard & shaved cucumber
Within a few minutes, these Mini quiche were in my hand. They were fun to eat with the jinhua ham and the shortcrust pastry is all buttered up with a crumbly texture. I enjoyed the little tender bites of the quiche and the bite-sized presentation.
Mini quiche w jinhua ham
I was thinking about eating the Deep fried seafood roll at the start, but I wanted this roll to continue to be trenched in sweet & sour sauce, so it can include that additional spice. The lightly fried beancurd skin was crisp, served with shrimp and fish meat.
Deep fried seafood roll
These Hong Kong BBQ pork puff were very attractive and amongst 3 people, we somehow decided to
equally split it. This is similar to char siew soh, as the juicy BBQ pork also known as char siu is wrapped inside super flaky pillow puff pastry. I believe the rectangle pieces of BBQ pork meat had a hint of honey and it was tender so it became easy to chew. The only flaw of this savory was no sprinkles of sesame seed to make it look like a genuine BBQ pork puff.
Hong Kong BBQ pork puff
Similarly to a Peking duck wrap, the Tortilla wrap with BBQ duck is altered with tortilla wrap and stuffed with shredded BBQ duck meat, strands of cucumber and capsicum served cold. It is a nice lighter option with full of oriental flavour including hoisin sauce. As for the Cantonese pork knuckle terrine, it was dressed up with an elegant layer of pork knuckle and gelatine. If you eat it together with a stripe of spring onion it adds a deliciously sharp, tangy accompaniment to the terrine.
Top: Tortilla wrap with BBQ duck w hoisin sauce Bottom: Cantonese pork knuckle terrine
It’s no secret you’ve been waiting for the sweet bites and it’s FINALLY HERE! We begin with the Red bean puff. I was impressed with the intensive flavour of the raspberry crust, it almost tasted so natural. With the crisp profiterole and a dollop of smooth red bean filling, I found it horribly addictive.
Red bean puff w raspberry crust
You can’t go wrong with milk chocolate, strawberry, caramel and pink sago to add a chewy finish. So I was excited when the girls allowed me to have the Sago caramel strawberry all to myself. It is greatly eye-catching and undeniable the outer shell is molded into a petite cup and is edible. WOOBAR also offers Red macaron cherry raspberry that contains a strong scent and fascinating taste of cherry and raspberry gel with a crunch shell and a chewy texture inside.
Left: Sago caramel strawberry Right: Red macaron cherry raspberry
Let’s be honest, I wasn’t keen on touching the not so squeaky clean dessert cup as it appears to have some sort of prints or maybe stains? Who knows, but I somehow managed to overcome this issue. Besides spotting the cleanliness of the glass cup, the Chrysanthemum jelly is spot on with the flavour by using chrysanthemum flowers and wolfberries. A very refreshing and not too sweet dessert.
Among the sweets we ended it with the 2014 Lollipop “Mandarin & orange” with the extra-special dusting of gold. This sweet takes on ANY ordinary Chupa Chups. An inverted maroon lollipop made with molten mandarin and orange, coated with white chocolate then milk chocolate . You will be crying if you consumed it in one bite as the orange gooey sticky filling complements the not overly sweet white chocolate.
2014 Lollipop “Mandarin & orange”
Rounding off the high tea selection is the Traditional & rasin scones served alongside clotted cream & strawberry jam. These scones are of a consistent quality of taste and texture. The addition of rasins adds fruitiness and natural sweetness throughout and soft gluey texture within.
Traditional & rasin scones w clotted cream & strawberry jam
Make sure you order enough for everyone, or else you’ll find yourself fighting over the last piece of savory and sweet bite. WOOBAR two-tiered tea set is worth ordering and make sure you enjoy the view and their comfy seats. Hopefully next time I visit I will have the chance to check-in to their hotel. 😀
Photos by Vanny Tang
Like to know more about Nessy Eater food adventures?
[ Please note: This event is over and date last visited 7 August 2013, however keep look out when Shangri-La Hotel Sydney’s website mention upcoming dessert events]
You’re properly wondering why the delay of this post? Simply because the night of this event came to an end my SD card was crushed by a four legged creature with fluffy paws. I had to get my minions to help me on this one but only managed to retrieve a few photos.
My dessert prays have been answered when I previously posted Anna Polyviou First degustation at Shangri-La Hotel Sydney . As I crossed my fingers and hoped she would create another scrumdiddilyumpshus event but this time Anna decided to abduct the lolly bag man from his Luxbite pastry lab in Melbourne and turn this dessert degustation into something Asian for $125 per person.
Glass of NV Chandon
Because the theme was Asian, surprisingly sushi was served for the evening. I was worried if I ate a lot of sushi rolls I wouldn’t have enough room for dessert, but the sushi was freshly made and all I wanted to do was stuff them in my mouth because it’s so deliciously tasty.
As we reached the underground level of the magical pastry kitchen and passed through the rustic door flaps Anna Polyviou plus team and special family guest Bernard Chu and Yen Yee owners of LuxBite welcomed us.
Just before they started the dessert degustation Anna and Bernard explained how they teamed up 5 years ago and the ingredients they used in the desserts. In addition for the last course one lucky person would win a kitchen appliance sponsored by KitchenAid. The instructions were simple, just be creative is all they asked for.
Throughout the entire evening we were provided bottles of complimentary sparkling water.
Our first degustation “Anna goes Asian Malaysian” was already prepared before we even arrived.
But to complete this dish the amazing Anna needed to prepare scoops of sesame seed ice cream. It was just freaking perfect her scooped shaped ice cream.
This dish consists of raspberry brulée infused with rose tea, covered in a white chocolate smooth glaze then topped with a tea dropped shaped white chocolate disc sprayed with raspberry sauce (I personally really liked the pink raspberry drizzle), dark chocolate coconut and sesame seed disc, fresh raspberries, raspberry sponge, lychee liquid pearls, black sesame ice cream, powdered white chocolate and to garnish baby green herbs. The appearance and texture of this dessert instantly reminded me of camembert cheese but this one bursts sweetness all over the plate. Ridiculously delightful dessert, especially when Yen Yee serviced our desserts all through the night. The white chocolate mousse created a delectable gooey mess along with the raspberry sponge. As for the chocolate disc’s I could hear “snaps” across our bench as guests take their first bite. I really wanted to lick clean the plate but I had to save the embarrassment.
“Anna goes Asian Malaysian”
Lychee, raspberry, black sesame seed, rose
For our second dessert, “Banoffi Hot vs Cold” was prepared by the evil genius of the famous lolly bag cake as seen on MasterChef, Bernard Chu of LuxBite. A banana soufflé with sticky salted caramel and Szechuan pepper at the bottom, topped with icing sugar and banoffee opera cake garnished with glossy chocolate curl.
The soufflé was soft and crunchy on the crust, sweet and creamy containing the full flavours of banana. I can happily sing the Despicable Me Minion song “Ba Ba Ba Ba Banana… “. Teehee
During the preparation for this dessert, Yen and Felicity Goodchild the winner of Dilmah Real High Tea Challenge 2013 Australia helped set up the plates. It’s important for a pastry chef to be patient whilst plating.
Bernard and Yen with one common craze for all things containing sugar in them.
Paparazzi moment when I caught Anna admiring Bernard’s bright desserts and Yen “tasting” the first course of the dessert degustation. Haha
Banana soufflé all filled and ready to go in the hot steamy oven. It felt like a million years later these fluffy clouds were ready to come out of the over.
Before serving our fluffy clouds of soufflé, Bernard dusts these babies with icing sugar.
This dessert made me go bananas as I felt like I was scooping air from an empty cup. The soufflé wasn’t too sweet as the salted caramel and Szechuan pepper balanced out the entire flavour of this dessert.
Gloriously sweet sweet salted cameral buried at the bottom of the banana soufflé. Drooling over this flavorsome dessert.
Alongside the banana soufflé, the banoffee opera cake drew a lot of satisfying sounds from guests!
I was extremely fascinated how Bernard can use banana with chocolate in a dessert. The cake contained a glaze of rich milk chocolate, salted caramel, genoise sponge bathed in lemon syrup, banana and salted caramel ganache, paillete feuilletine layer with milk chocolate and Szechuan pepper. To decorate, gold flakes were sprinkled across the cake and tucked on the side a shiny curled chocolate. In my opinion, it can just be incredible on its own! This was one chocolate coma inducing cake I’ve ever had! It was so rich that my tastebuds was sensitive enough to taste every ingredient in one bite. An eye catching dish to watch the chefs assemble right in front of me was a jaw dropping experience.
“Banoffi Hot vs Cold”
Banana, caramel, milk chocolate, Szechuan pepper
After our second course was complete, we had the opportunity to freely move around and observe Anna put together our next sweet course “Passion-ate about Yellow” as its name assured, it was very yellow indeed.
Anna assembling “Passion-ate about Yellow”
Ike Malada director of Art Plate taking a sneak peak
A tangy refreshing dessert screaming summer with fruity ingredients crammed into a clear jar. The jar was filled from the bottom up with passionfruit posset, pineapple champagne jelly, passionfruit curd, ginger sponge, mango and passionfruit sorbet, coconut tapioca and baby basil to garnish. A scent of passionfruit flavour fragranced around the pastry kitchen as we continued to eat our desserts.
Close up shot of the “Passion-ate about Yellow” dessert.
Another close up shot but this time the other side. I am just so curious how this beautifully brilliant dessert is so simple but brings out 6 flavours.
“Passion-ate about Yellow”
Passionfruit, mango, coconut, ginger, pineapple, basil
When I read the next dessert my body instantly shivered. I questioned Is it edible to it? and Are we really eating toothpaste? To answer this is straightforward, this dish proved to be very popular! With the adorable sticky toothpaste in a tube, crumbles, apple sorbet, apple pearls and powered toothpaste this palate cleanser dessert turned out to be better than what I imagined . Anna liked this dish so much she included it in her degustation. Honestly, it actually tastes like toothpaste, the Colgate kind.
Anna assembling “Tooth Paste”
The following dessert “Drunken sake Baba” : hand-made marshmallow with sprinkled green tea matcha powder, piped chocolate sauce, green tea crumbles, chestnut sorbet and rum baba drenched in sake all delicately prepared by the dessert whiz kid Bernard.
Bernard impresses the ladies Jee Hwang and Yen with his handmade marshmallow skills.
This is one pastry chef that knows how to pose in front of the camera. Teehee
Had a conversation with Bernard whilst he soaked the rum baba in sake. His having the time of his life!
It was vital that these rum baba to be soaked thoroughly so Jee bathes these one more time before serving.
Have you met Kevin 007 at Shangri-La Hotel Sydney? His very passionate at what he does.
Unlike regular marshmallows, the dusted green tea matcha marshmallow was very sticky but super soft like clouds. The crumbled rum baba was a tad too sweet in my opinion however dip it with the chocolate sauce and it completes the dish.
“Drunken sake Baba”
Sake, green tea matcha, chestnut
At last our final dessert “Everyone thinks they’re a Masterchef”, we were presented a generous variety of ingredients to share from chocolates, fruits, ice cream, sauce, cookies and herbs? I was clueless with the herbs but I did use them. Every guest was also served a plain lemon tart on a plate. Because I heart getting messy in the kitchen this was a fun twist to end the night, especially guests can indulge in their own creation but also freely express their visual ideas on a plate. Not like I have any… as I recall in high school, visual arts was my weakest subject.
Talk about competition…all the guest prepared what elements to use before the ingredients even landed on to our bench. Being the non-creative one, I sat there for a few minutes wondering what to create whilst Buttercup was nearly finished decorating her spectacular masterpiece.
At last I managed to finish on time! My so called masterpiece, I call it ” Bern-Art“. Teehee get it? Bernard and pastry art = Bern-Art! I’m so childish.
“Everyone thinks they’re a masterchef”
Create me on a plate
It was a tough decision for the pastry chefs to decide who would win the KitchenAid hand mixer and they unexpectedly picked 3 guests to stand at the front of the pastry kitchen, one of them was me! *insert happy dance* Apparently the other two guest were pastry chefs themselves and it was difficult for me to out beat them. Thankfully our second round challenge was to name 7 ingredients of the lolly bag. At the time I had Dory moment as I could only name 4 out of 7, although the other two contestants could only name 2. As a results I won the challenge! Hooray!!!
Photo credit to Buttercup
O-M-GEE it’s the evil genius Bernard Chu!
Anna and her team, Bernard and Yen gifted us with the “Take Lux Bite Home” goodie bags that included the famous Luxbite lolly bag cake seen on MasterChef, Pandan Macaron and Bamboo Oolong Tea Macaron and Heilala vanilla caramel spread.
The Luxbite Lolly Bag Cake has finally arrived in Sydney! So helplessly in love with this splendid cake.
“Take Lux Bite Home”
Heilala vanilla caramel spread and Pandan and Bamboo Oolong Tea macaron
My winning show bag contained Heilala products of vanilla pods, vanilla paste and vanilla extract.
If you’re a dessert lover like me then this indulgent dessert degustation is worth a try! It’s a great opportunity to speak with pastry chef face to face whilst they prepare your desserts. I suggest you save stomach space for a delightful tasty dessert degustation and skip main meals if you plan to experience this lick smacking event.
For potential future Dessert Degustation I recommend you to check Shangri-La Hotel Sydney’s website for more information or contact (02) 9250 6000
Photos by Vanny Tang
For a few weeks now a dessert degustation hype has been the new next thing towards sweet tooth fans and I believe there’s a social media hype going on around Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and so on.
After years managing pastry and baking operations at Bather’s Pavilion and featured in Lux Bite dessert night 2012, just recently Sydney Shangri-la Hotel has welcomed a very talented award-winning passionate pastry chef Anna Polyviou, as their new executive pastry chef.
She and her intriguing team have established their very first dessert degustation promotion in June in Shangri-La’s pastry kitchen lab. It takes place every Wednesday, but unfortunately last night was the final session. (Seats limited to 20 people per session, $105 per person).
Only 80 lucky people experienced this exclusive event and I was truly thrilled to be one of them. *Insert happy dance*
Fingers crossed that Anna plans to create a few more of these scrumdiddilyumpshus events. I’d describe this degustation overall to be sugar orgasm on every plate!
Thank You Bonnie for organising this awesome dessert degustation!
We know degustation can be a tad traditional at times. Unlike a “usual” degustation, Anna took her inspirations to a whole new level, introducing a casual and relaxed atmosphere, where 20 of us watched our desserts being hand crafted and decorated in front of us by Anna and her hard working team .
Seeing the drama , chaos and entertainment in the kitchen, I seriously thought there would be a few hiccups or two, seeing as I was watching my dessert being prepared right before my eyes. I didn’t need to worry as the entire evening went smoothly without a fuss .
Due to traffic and weather I happened to arrive half an hour earlier than the scheduled event. I sat on the large comfy, cozy sofas of the lounge amongst the other fortunate guests when the extremely friendly and professional Shangri-La team , mostly Kevin greeted me with a shiny champagne glass of NV Chandon.
Glass of NV Chandon
After a few sips, we were then escorted through the maze of the hotel to the spacious pastry kitchen, where Anna and her team warmly greeted us. Anna is fun and quite a down to earth character!
Managed to take a few photos of Anna’s Team preparing our coma inducing desserts!
We were greeted again by Anna and her team and explained to us what would we be expecting during the evening. In my opinion just before the degustation had begun my expectation was sky high. I expected a lot of chocolate throughout the evening and that’s usual. But I was utterly wrong! She had created a “tongue-smacking” experience I cannot imagine. It’s not just chocolate! We had a variety of seasonal fruits that made it far more interesting.
To kick start, was a mouth watering dessert called “Anna’s Liquid Mess“ – Vanilla bavarois crème shaped in a semi sphere with what Anna calls “holes and everybody loves it” covered in pink cocoa powder, beneath a crunchy base served with freshly cut strawberries, a dollop of strawberry sorbet , pop rocks, baby basil and meringue. An appealing tasty dish! The pop rock was a blast full of fuzziness’ in my mouth. Most likeable dessert of the night.
Anna’s Liquid Mess: Vanilla crème, strawberry, popping rocking
It was very eye catching to watch the chefs pour a jug of warm syrupy strawberry coulis on the dessert, instantly liquefying the white chocolate sphere and creating a complete appetizing dish.
Next dessert “Lemon Twist“, was a lemon soufflé drizzled with lemon curd sauce. It truly was a twist with a small test tube filled with lime sherbet for the sugar fever lovers and a spoon full of lemon . This was a “toe-curling” outcome with the acidic texture, crunchy but soft in the soufflé, eye popping with the additional lime fizzy test tube. It was heavenly tangy!
“Lemon Twist”: Lemon meringue, lemon curd, lemon fizz
In between our splendid desserts, “Re-freshen Apples” was the palate purifier infused with the element of apples. As a result it was pleasing to the palate as a cleanser.
Anna mentioned this dessert was inspired by her close friend John Ralley, a pastry chef at Wildfire.
Anna assembling “Re-freshen Apples”
The unique shaped glass contained with sweet and sour apples, green apple jelly, a taste of cinnamon crumbles, fennel sorbet and caramelised with white chocolate crème. To complete the dish one layer of crunchy almond tuile. Incredibly amazing! Looked like a garden-fresh dessert.
The following dessert, “Caramelize me Casey“, was an absolutely sinful dish and a personal experience for Anna, as she said she put it together for her partner, including all her beloved flavours and textures like candied popcorn, fresh banana puree, my favourite passionfruit sorbet and caramel ice cream. I was really fascinated with the chocolate sponge.
“Caramelize me”-Banana, caramel, passionfruit, popcorn
This dessert is fit for a king! With a mix of savoury, yet a honey-glazed taste of chocolate gateau. In my opinion a sensational rollicking dessert!
Our last dessert “Lick” a finger-licking parfait ice-cream yoghurt attached on a wooden popsicle stick topped with crunchy caramel with liquefied pearl mango jelly all around prepared by a friend of hers overseas, crunchy honeycomb, the bottom sprinkled with chocolate crumbles and garnished with baby herbs. A splendid way to bring the degustation to an end.
“Lick”: Yoghurt ice-cream, honeycomb, mango pearls and cacao
20 guests were attracted towards “Take me home” stand, where Oreo and Honeycomb prettified into appealing candied chocolate lollipops with a happy face, additionally modified the likable Snickers bars and Red Skin macarons.
“Take me home” stand
Anna’s Lolli Pop
Anna’s Snicker Bar
Anna’s Red Skin macarons
I was quite surprised I was the only one who brought an SLR, perhaps camera phones tend to be the new hip thing?
It was such an unforgettable memorable experience and opportunity to see Anna Polyviou and her team work their magic with sweets! On a side note, I made a few fanatical foodie friends. This degustation is a jaw dropping work of dessert art! Thank you Anna and her team for making a magical sugar high evening for us.
Had a lovely chat with the Amazing Anna !
You know… just me & Anna ! 🙂
Photos by Vanny Tang