Friday, 12 August 2011

Scrumptious treats at Bordeaux Bakery

Last night, my baking buddy and I attended our first Wellington on a Plate festival event for this year. We met a year ago at the Welly on a Plate patisserie class at WelTec and have met up since then for regular coffee sessions to talk about baking. (It helps that we also work at the same place, something we discovered at the patisserie course!) We drooled over this year's programme and signed up as quickly as we could for some events, but despite being promised pride of place at the top of one event's waiting list, only managed to get into one together. Luckily, it was a goodie!

Hosted by Feast and Vine, Bordeaux Bakery was the setting for an event called Scrumptious Treats. As a café, Bordeaux has seen better times. However, there is no denying what they are best at: baking (and, in particular, pastry).

This is the first time the kitchen at Bordeaux has been open to the public and owner/pâtissier Jean Louis gave us a tour looking at the amazing kitchen equipment imported from France. Everything starts cranking up from 1 am each day and most of the baking is finished by 2-3 am (or 5 am at the latest), leaving the bread enough time to cool so it isn't too hot when it is picked up by the other Bordeaux bakeries at 5.30 am. We felt like miniature cartoon characters wandering among the huge ovens, fridges and mixers that would put my little Kenwood cake mixer to shame.

Now THAT'S a mixer!
Jean Louis showing us one of the fridges
We headed back into the café for a demonstration on making Bordeaux's most popular dessert, duchess cake. It looked so simple when Jean Louis whipped up some chocolate mousse then piped it onto a frozen merinque before coating it in more chocolate mousse and dipped it into grated chocolate. Mind you, he certainly had all the right tools and the best ingredients imported from France. Check out this chocolate grater!
Chocolate grater
Sauterne and a blueberry tart -
the perfect wine and food match
We then had a lesson on wine and food matching; it's quite a science. Basically, acidity is king and it's all about balancing acidity and the flavours in the wine with whatever you are eating. A common myth is that you should drink similar flavours to what you are eating; this will cancel out the taste and you'll just be left with acidity. To cut a long story short, we were told that this 2007 sauterne (dessert wine) was the perfect match for the acidity of blueberries in this tart, and I'd have to agree. The sauterne was very pleasant on the palette, infused with apricot, cinnamon and cloves and is quite honestly the first dessert wine I have actually enjoyed drinking.

Advertised as a two-hour event, we were finished after 1 hour and 10 minutes, which is a bit cheeky but we got to take home a duchess cake each, so that (kind of) makes up for it.

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