The Essential Ingredient opens a cheese counter in Rozelle in style
will not be surprised if I tell you I am a regular client of the Essential Ingredient in Rozelle being almost a local, but also I regularly attend their fabulous events. And tonight, I had to squeeze in a quick visit to the opening of their cheese counter, replacing a not so successful café, mainly because there are like three of four other ones, including my friend Pierre Labancz who offers good coffee and his famous croissants and other French pastries, as well as a good range of breads. So cheese is a welcome addition to The Essential Ingredient portfolio of foods, cookware and cooking books.
This event was as usual very well organised and packed. Plenty cheeses were on offer including two French cheeses that I never had a chance to try before! Piper Heidseck Champagne was flowing freely and the knowledgeable staff were there to make sure we had a good time and we did! Thanks for having me and fellow food enthusiasts. We will be back as they say in the movie!
Burgundy dinner chez Bitton Gourmet
Although I have known of David Bitton for 15 years through mutual friends and had been to his original coffee shop years ago, We had never met until a recent Le Creuset event at The Essential ingredient in Rozelle. I was suitably impressed with his cooking skills that night and we started chating - in franglais, bien sûr - and ended up with an invitation for this Burgundy dinner then.
So, I thought it was quite amusing that I had another event at The Essential Ingredient on the same night as this dinner was happening! Hence why I had to pace myself with the cheese and Champagne there and escaped early missing out on patés and charcuterie to be served later...
Well, it was worth it, let me tell you! The original coffee shop is now a private dining room and the new restaurant is located next door in about twice the original space, catering for more than 50 people at any given time. These themed dinners are a regular treat which bring regulars and newcomers alike in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. But the food is not your average Sydney coffee shop fare! It is five star French gastronomy y at its best for a very reasonable money outlet.
It is all about precision, flavours, classic French recipes executed with the best French technique.
We were served a glass of Canard-Duchesne Champagne, a less known, but nevertheless great one.
I even learned a new work: cromesquis, in this case a potato croquette with an escargot and beurre maitre d'hotel filling. The star there was the sauce gribiche, a sauce that can be very bland in most places, but blasting with flavours chez Bitton.
The vol-au-vent which followed was textbook with the lightest pastry (hence the name...) and a perfect filling where the pros, the white wine and the béchamel blended perfectly, with no element overwhelming the others. Quite an achievement! A new Instagram hashtag was created "sur le champ" #bringbackthevolauvent. Check-it out! It was accompanied by a great Chablis from Domaine Pinson, again not a very famous name, but up there with the best and in the same hands since 1880, year of their first release. So they a thing or two about Chardonnay...
Then, we were served a beautiful Blanquette de Veau, with a Dijon mustard sauce, where the mustard was subtlety supporting the sauce without being "in your face" as we say in Oz. The meat was tasty and tender, the vegetable cooked properly and plated nicely - a treat for all senses!
We were served a great Pinot Noir, again not mainstream, and carrying the name of my middle son, Grégoire, a Hautes-Côtes de Nuit by Emanuel Giboulot (no, it is not Bigoulot, which would mean bottle with two necks...) an organic winemaker since 1985. Again textbook Pinot Noir à la française, a perfect match with the blanquette.
We were finally treated to a gorgeous dessert, an ice cream with gingerbread flavour and sprayed with lovely crumbs of pain d'épices. I had to have another glass of Pinot Noir with this. It was subtle and refreshing after a copious dinner, but again punching with flavours. Great dessert!
I normally don't drink coffee that late, but, use firs nest pas coutume, I ordered a macchiato and I was rewarded with a side of the loveliest chocolate truffle, perfect point d'rogue to a very well orchestrated dinner...Merci beaucoup David and Camilla for inviting me and thanks to Sofia for joining us at the Chef's table. Great food, great company and great conversations, this is the life!
A few weeks ago, this film was screening on our local channel SBS ON DEMAND. We had not watch it in a long time, but since we had a Blu-Ray version of it, we decided to watch it instead...Better image, better sound thanks to our OPPO Universal player.
I hear you say, what's the link with a chocolate cake recipe? Well, for those of you who have not watch the movie, there is a moment in the film where these two end up at Café de Flore in the wee hours of the morning after an eventful - understatement - night... François Cluzet orders chocolate moelleux, and Omar Sy says he doesn't really like this gooey thing and orders a taste satin instead!
The following day, I get an update from my fellow blogger Distant Francophile with a post giving the recipe for this gooey thing. So after exchanging emails, permission was granted to reblog.
So here it is:
Jangle, like myself is not much of sweet tooth – we actually prefer cheese over dessert. But the desserts we do like, we really like, if you know what we mean.
One of the desserts that we always struggle to say ‘no’ to is Moelleux au Chocolat.
Sometimes called Chocolat Fondant, this rich, oozing, chocolate concoction is a joy to behold. Cake-like on the outside, but filled with molten chocolate it really is a special treat.
Given how good this dessert is, I spent years thinking Moelleux au Chocolat was beyond the skills of your average home cook. But our recent trip to France inspired me to explore this idea a little further and I soon found out that this French classic is as easy to prepare as it is yummy!
Here’s my recipe for Chocolat au Moelleux for you to try. It serves four diners – but is easily scaled up to serve more. I really hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
When you are ready to serve the Moelleux au Chocolat, preheat your oven to 210 degrees celsius.
Then share the chocolate mix between 4 ramekins or moulds. If you prefer to turn your Moelleux out, grease the ramekins. Personally, I prefer to serve them in the ramekins so I don’t bother to grease them. Pop the ramekins into the oven for around 12 minutes until the tops are firm but the centres are still liquid.
Then serve hot and gooey with good cream or ice cream.
Until next time – au revoir.
P.S. In the interests of transparency, I should point out that today’s photo of a Moelleux au Chocolat is not actually one I cooked…we decided the plating skills of the team at Polperro Wines on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula gave you a much better idea of why you should try a Moelleux au Chocolat than any plating I could do!
You can follow Janelle here: www.distantfrancophile.com - she lives in Melbourne.
Philippe Durst is the Export Manager of a significant winery in Alsace, Dopff au Moulin. We have been "friends" on Facebook for over three years but, until last week-end, we had not met...
Philippe is not only great at his job (he, together with Dan Murphy, sells half of the Alsace wine sold in Australia...) but has a great reputation of being an expert at matching wine with food!
Julien Dopff invented the Crémant d'Alsace after getting his training in Champagne and it is still a great part of the production at Dopff, and still their trademark.
So, it was great to finally meet him over a combined trip to Melbourne, Sydney and Hong-Kong to promote wines from Alsace. He also havegreat sense of humour and millions stories to tell about his 30 years selling Alsace wines around the world, first for Wolfberger (available in Oz at Vintage Cellars) and for the last 8 years for Dopff au Moulin. For reasons which will be revealed in a later post, we first met at the Fish Market, a place he never had a chance to visit over his previous visits to Australia, so I was happy to give him the grand tour! And I guess he was suitably impressed...
But when it came to having lunch, he was keen to get to somewhere more comfortable where we could still enjoy some good seafood with a couple of glasses of wine, bien sûr. I took him to Ventuno, in Walsh Bay, one of my favourite places in Sydney, as they make great scallops, have a short but good wine list, usually great service and obviously the view is not bad either...
So, after this lovely lunch, some Pinot Grigio and a great cup of coffee - thanks for picking the tab, Philippe - we were off to Prince Wine Store in Zetland for a Northern Côtes-du-Rhone tasting, all from the famous Guigal empire. Although Philippe had visited Ultimo Wine Centre many times in the past, he had never properly mey Jon Osbeiston, so I was quite chuffed to be the one to introduce them to each other.
From the less known Côtes-du-Rhone Blanc, made mostly out of Viognier grapes and a great drop,
to a great everyday Côtes-du-Rhone rouge for less than $20, which I regularly consume, to Crozes Hermitages, St Joseph, Côte Rôtie and Hermitage, we had a blast sampling these beauties from Northern Côtes-du-Rhône, home of the best Syrah. Although I usually prefer Southern Côtes-du-Rhône and the GSM blend, I am certainly a regular drinker of Crozes-Hermitage and St Joseph.
What a great venue for a great event, organised by Australia Trade Tasting! Philippe had invited me to join an Alsace wine masterclass there last Monday, organised by the CIVA (Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d'Alsace) and run by the legendary Huon Hooke who I had the pleasure to meet for the first time. He is a great presenter, with a dry sense of humour - not unlike a good Riesling! We tasted 12 Alsace wines, from a Pinot Noir Rosé to four different Pinot Blancc, a wine I am not familiar with but one I will certainly investigate further, three Riesling, one of them from Dopff and from probably the most famous vineyard of the region Schœnenbourg which carries one of the rare Grand Cru label, which I had the pleasure to drink before on Philippe's recommendation, then onto a Pinot Gris 2013 from Domaine Rieflé-Landmann and finally three Gewurtztraminer, the last one "vendanges tardives" 2009 from Domaine Mersiof with a staggering 74g/l od sugar! All wines were from different wineries and the Domaines scattered from North to South of the Rhine Valley. A great education for a wine region that I didn't know very well.
Also, on the Expo floor, I met some interesting people and had a chance to try my first wine from India - Grover Zampa - a pleasant surprise of a Sauvignon Blanc that could easily have passed for a kiwi wine on a blind tasting! Obviously, there was a great delegation of twelve Alsace wineries , a number of boutique Australian wineries, a great delegation from Spain and Portugal with not only wine, but also Jamon, quests and olive oil.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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