Choco Cannelle, a nice play on words and a tribute to iconic French seamstress Coco Chanel, is a French Patisserie tucked away in the back of beyond North Ryde, a popular suburb of Sydney West. Forget the impossible to find location though, and with the help of your recently acquired tablet, you will be lead to one of the best "cake shop" in Sydney. Jean Francois Perron was first introduced to me a few years back, as he was delivering his gorgeous creations to Maitre Karl. His father taught him the trade at a young age and he started this current business in 1996, after a long carreer at various famous restaurants around the World.
No bread here, unlike at Victoire and Labancz, just cakes!
The croissants are a very close second to Michel's at C'est Bon, as crusty, but a wee bit less buttery, but definitely in the same league.
The "palmiers", one of my favourite accompagnement with afternoon tea are extremely well executed, so good that they were gone before the photographer in me woke up to the task, so no photo just yet, I am afraid...
Choucroute (sauerkraut) is a traditional alsacian/german way of conserving cabbage. It is traditionally served with pork belly, sausages and charcuterie.
Over the last 20 or 30 years, a new trend has emerged to replace the meat with seafood.
More recently, I had the chance to taste or make various implementations of this "choucroute de la mer" - literally "seafood sauerkraut".
And as people do "vertical tastings" of the same wine from different vintages, I propose we go on a "horizontal tasting" of these various avatars of one of my favourites dishes.
So, to go from the most amateurish to the most professional, I will start with my own implementation:
Sauerkraut (from a tin) - try Andre Laurent if you can find it.
Note: the photo above comes from their website
White fish, like turbot or snapper
Mussels, Scallops and Prawns
see photo underneath and recipe here - keeping it simple!
The second recipe comes from a restaurant in the island of Noirmoutier, where my sister took me, and where we used to go when we were kids (the island, not the restaurant...). I will have to find out their name later...
Again, choucroute, mash, mussels, white fish and small scallops (called petoncles) with a nice creamy sauce.
The presentation was certainly the messier of all, but it tasted very nice - although you can't beat the taste, freshness and crunchiness of Australian prawns...
Last but not least, Maitre Karl had his own choucroute de la mer last Friday. I usually have lunch there on a Friday, and I had my camera handy, so all was going to be all right.
It started even better with Karl pouring me a glass of German Pinot Gris, not what I would have chosen myself, but I know I can trust Karl and so I went along and was rewarded with a very good drop, certainly not as sweet as one would expect and a great match with the choucroute.
And again the sauerkraut and the mash were topped with a very nicely cooked piece of salmon, and surrounded with beautiful scallops and prawns. A light creamy sauce keeps everything moist and interesting!
None of these recipes contained a combination of fresh fish AND smoked fish, which might be a mistake, as a piece of haddock gives some flavour reminiscent of the smoked meats used in the traditional choucroute.
Maitre Karl, my favourite bistro in Sydney, not least because it sits across the road from where I worked, has just been awarded the 2010 Metropolitan European Restaurant of the Year by the Restaurant & Catering Association.
To celebrate, a good colleague and myself had lunch there today for Melbourne Cup, enjoying a glass a bubbly and chocolate on the house, as well as my favourite dish: Choucroute de la Mer, and MR had the pork knuckle, another signature dish of Maitre Karl!
BTW, I am planning a vertical review of "Choucroute de la Mer" later on, so stay tuned...
The place was packed, and Karl had a very big smile on his face: Well done, mate and keep up the good work!
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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