Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pastry chef shortage or chocolate cover up?

Casually scouring other people's pics, I came across images of Swissotel's Sugar Hit offering for 2009.

The Sydney International Food Festival's listing describes Crossroads Bar's offering:
Indulge with a sweet variety of white chocolate and rasperry layered mousse, champagne glazed poached here

I think it's best to be forthcoming around my history and affiliations (or past affiliations). I have worked for the original Lindt Chocolat Cafe for over two years (early 2006 to late 2008). I also used to "plate up" desserts for Ribs and Rumps in Gordon, which is now called something else and has probably changed ownership. To this day I will sing you the praises of Swiss chocolate-making and the joys of conching, and I'll leave it up to you to judge my bias.

Now that is out in the open, I couldn't help but notice the similarities between the cake offered by Swissotel and the White Chocolate Framboise (1.5MB) which I always thought was 'sold exclusively at the Lindt Cafe'.

Blog pics:
One Bite More, posted 20 October 2009
I am a pink flying elephant, posted 20 October 2009
(I've also seen pics on facebook but won't post unless i have permission from their owners)

I also called Swissotel this evening and they politely confirmed that yes, it is the same cake.

I feel betrayed and a little uneasy that the Swissotel has not disclosed the origins of the cake, allowing diners to assume that it was made in their kitchens.

IMO (and this should not detract from anyone's good experience), the little triangle of cake provided by Crossroads at Swissotel with a single chocolate and a glass of wine doesn't really reflect a fair price at $20. The Grande sized cake sells for $330 and from memory its 40x70cm size should serve in excess of 100 people. Do the math.

Lastly, as a pedant and lover of fine chocolate, the biggest heartache is really that the raspberry has soaked through and stained the white chocolate mousse - This can mean two things, neither of which are particularly appetising to me:
1. The cake is clearly over 24 hours old, and/or
2. The cake has not been stored properly


Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Diwali (Maya Sweets and Restaurant, Surry Hills)

First review on Reckless Waffle.

What better way to acknowledge the Indian festivities of Diwali than by visiting the reknowned Maya Sweets?

There are two displays filled with sweets, decorated with pistachio nuts, silver foil and dessicated coconut.

Burfi, so much burfi. I forget that burfi is one of the essentials in Indian celebrations.

A quick scan of ingredients starts to reveal patterns - milk, sugar, pistachio and cardamon.

Maya Sweets is known as the go-to shop for handmade Indian sweets. At any given time you can find a candy shop full of exotic sweets. It also caters as a vegetarian restaurant. The decor is nothing to shout about, but the service is friendly and efficient, the food is tasty and the prices are as low as you get.

After a eat-till-you-drop dinner, we struggled to pick a selection out of the window. This is what we came up with:

Rasmalai (Home made cheese, reduced milk, pistachio sugar, green cardamon)

Badam Katli (Reduced Milk, Almonds, Sugar, Green Cardamon)
Peda (Reduced Milk, Ghee, Almonds, Pistachios, Cardamon Seeds, Sugar)
Chocolate Burfi (Cocoa, Reduced Milk, Sugar, Green Cardamon)
Malai Champ (Reduced Milk, Sugar, Milk)

The Ras Malai was the least attractive and the most tasty of all the desserts. The cheese was firm and soft, and although it didn't have its own distinct taste, its sponge-like texture absorbed the fragrance and spices in the reduced milk syrup very well.

The Badam Katli's diamond shape with silver leaf appealed to me, and the actual dessert is perfect as a nutty dry doughy sweet.

The Peda instantly tasted familiar with its sweet and buttery taste and raw flavours - I reckon if you ate cookie dough which had just been put in a hot oven for a minute, that's what a good Peda tastes like.

The Chocolate Burfi is a dense sugar lump, there is not enough of any flavour and unfortunately the subtlety of the cardamon is lost among the chocolate and the sugar.

Malai Champ looks so beautiful, like a rose-coloured macaron but it was very moist, and incredibly toothache-inducingly sweet. The three layers all taste the same and the dessert is so moist the pistachios in the white centre have softened. I can see this would be an easy dessert to love (like eating icing made with condensed milk) but it was not for me, certainly not after an Indian sweet fest.

468 Cleveland St, Surry Hills
02 9699 8663
10:30am to 10:30pm

Above, Maya also has a Tandoori restaurant.

Note: There is a second Maya Indian restaurant across the road at 431 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills. Despite the identical font in the logo and shared Maya name, they told me that it is not affiliated with Maya Sweets.

Props to me for finishing! And thanks to anyone out there reading.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Introduction to Reckless Waffle


Forgive the excitement and enthusiasm, it has dawned on me that all the sampling of chocolate and desserts over the years could have been put to better use. Still, better late than never...

I adore chocolate of all types (almost), cakes, pastries, ice-cream, and sweets from all around the world.

This is going to be a blog about dessert. All dessert, hopefully all things sweet.

A few little tidbits about me:

1. I have nothing but respect for pastry chefs, after my temporary foray into the area.
2. I eat chocolate twice a day, remniscent of the years worked in a chocolate cafe.
3. I believe people who say 'I don't like dessert' just haven't tried the right one for them.
4. I am hoping that one day I can quit my office job and sample dessert for a living.

This is the first step to realising #4.