I have a confession to make.. *Shhh…* I don’t really care much for desserts. I can hear the gasps and feel the burning brain liquefying stare from the sweet tooth society now. But I just never have. I much prefer savoury foods.
You want another secret? This one’s so controversial it might revoke my food blogger rights and end the flow of largely mindless gibberish that I send into cyberspace on a semiweekly basis (I would have written biweekly but I can’t for the life of me figure out if that means fortnightly or twice a week). Well, I’ve never bought or tasted anything from Adriano Zumbo *gasp and double gasp*
Even more controversial, I used to live in Rozelle and work in Balmain. I watched Adriano Zumbo’s charming little shoebox of a patisserie open and then proceeded to walk past it everyday. But I only ever oohed and aahed at his artful creations and never made it to the cash register with one. I appreciate that they look just amazing but I know I’ll only want a taste – albeit a taste of a range of pretty things. Then there was an interesting turn of events – the sweet toothed food bloggers of Sydney discovered Adriano Zumbo and it became an overnight cult hit. This was all very bewildering. I read about the patisserie’s creations through everybody else’s blogs. Even with a good friend now working at Adriano Zumbo and being repeatedly implored and berated about not visiting, I’d still not made it there.
I call this strange behaviour the Foodie Proximity theory, a phenomenon showing the inverse relationship between foodie interest and the proximity to home. Sometimes, the further, the more exclusive or the more remote a food find, the more interest it presents. Why eat a perfectly good but boringly safe meal like bangers and mash when you could be the first amongst your friends to have tried a blindingly hot Thai termite soup? That is my reason for having not been to Adriano Zumbo‘s yet. It’s in my neighbourhood. It’s just a walk around the corner. It’ll be there tomorrow. All valid reasons to go off in search of something more obscure and inaccessible.
And then the lovely Reem from TummyRumble organised a food blogger meet up to view, taste and marvel in Adriano Zumbo‘s winter collection, one whimsically entitled “40 days and 40 nights in Paris”. Deciding it was time to end the drought I finally made it to Adriano Zumbo. *applause*
What can I say? Adriano is clearly a master of sugary artworks. Even for the sugar-uninitiated like myself, I can honestly see, taste and appreciate the genius of his creations. What I hadn’t appreciated until this encounter was that Adriano Zumbo caters for the sugar-uninitiated too. Whilst sweet, tasty treats normally hold little interest for me, Adriano presents a myriad of sweet concoctions that hark from some parallel universe. A cacophony of unusual flavour combinations assaulted my taste buds whilst strange visual forms appealed to my eyes.
I didn’t taste everything in the collection, so I’ll only recount the few that I tasted. The desserts still remain largely unnamed at this stage but noticeably, the one simply called P containing mandarin mousse, tonka bean brulee, pain d’epice, sour cream jelly, almond ginger crunch disc looked like a model of a virus – perhaps the swine flu inspired this one? It tasted much more pleasant than a bout of flu – with a strong spice aroma not unlike five spice and cinnamon that hits my nose before the gentle mandarin flavours take over.
The dessert simply named Tart or “!” for the moment has orange smoked rice brulee cream with delicate violet curd, fresh mandarin segments in a pate sable shell. The pretty pastel colours reflect the flavour of this tart – it has a creamy texture, and a very delicate floral flavour from the violet curd.
The most spectacular looking dessert was the Coke can – a dessert named Escape from a Columbian Rainforest. This was an amazing concotion of flourless chocolate sponge, dark chocolate fizzy disc, cherry cola jelly, cherry cola slurp, chocolate sabayon mousse. It was hard to miss. It was avant garde and stood proud from the collection like a hardened delinquent in the presence of pretty little flitty things. I had to have it and take it home as a proud trophy to show the co-pilot, so here I must thank Simon for generously and selflessly giving up the fight to secure this for himself as it was just too logisitically hard to share this dessert without making it look like a train wreck. And it was a taste sensation. A spoonful delivers creamy sweet chocolate mousse and fizzy fuschia sour sherbet to our mouths. Through the straw we slurp up a sweet cherry cola concoction hidden beneath the surface in a dark chocolate cup. Genius and a tactile joy to devour.
I also bought the bizarrely named “…”, the new generation version of a previous dessert called Wheelie Good. This childhood memory invoking concoction contains hazelnut meringue, anzac moisture, mint chocolate disc, vanilla apple tatin chantilly, apple tatine compote and isomalt caramel. But I didn’t try this so I can’t comment on it – I gave it away to a friend and enormous fan of Adriano Zumbo’s creations as I knew they’d appreciate it more. Incidentally, they had it for lunch.
Through this Adriano Zumbo tasting, I’ve discovered that I too can appreciate sweet things – as long as they’re interesting and different beyond just being sweet and at the end of a menu. As I listened to the other food bloggers passionately enthuse and casually name-drop dessert names from previous Adriano Zumbo collections to confirm their Zumbo prowess, it confirms in my mind that I am (1) an anomaly for a food blogger that doesn’t like sweet things and (2) a rarity or perhaps some would even say a freak for having resisted Adriano Zumbo until now. As sweets aren’t my usual thing, I’ve decided to leave the task of celebrating the flavours of the other desserts in minute and excruiating detail to the other food bloggers present, including:
Reem from Tummy Rumble
Simon from The Love of Food
Karen from Citrus & Candy
Steph from Raspberri cupcakes
Anita from Leave Room For Dessert
Belle from Ooh, Look…
Lili from Pikelet & Pie
Susan from Something to nibble on and
Chris (and Tim) from The Way it Crumbles who were the most helpful and diligent having carefully copied down all the dessert names. Thanks guys!
Though I don’t have any more tasting commentary, I have collated a small collection of eye candy photos (all puns fully intended) for you to peruse in the album below. Enjoy!
296 Darling Street, Balmain; (02)9810 7318
Open Mon – Sat 8am – 6pm; Open Sun 8am – 4pm.
Shop 5, 308 Darling Street, Balmain; (02)9555 1199
Open Mon – Fri 8am – 4pm; Sat 8am – 5pm; Sun 9am – 5pm.