Food Reviews

Dulce Luna Viennoiserie

Monday, December 10th, 2012

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang

I was fortunate enough to be asked along to the pre-launch of Dulce Luna, a new Viennoiserie in Sydney, on the corner or York and King Street. On arrival I saw a sign letting people know of the upcoming opening and specials to be had on the opening day Wednesday 5th December, including free dulce lunas. I also saw people already interested in trying out these yummy pastries. If you’d like to read more about the launch, check out this post by Jeroxie.

Dulce Luna means Sweet Moon in Spanish, and it is quite hard to describe these lovely pastries. Gus, the founder of the store, describes it as the combination of a croissant, cornetti and brioche. Having only tried croissants, I would describe it as not as flaky, with a more sweet and slightly softer filling. As it is hard to describe, it’s probably a good idea to try them 🙂

The cute store was beautifully decorated with white and black features, sayings about pastries, chandeliers and matching wall lights. The entrance featured a two piece band, close to the glass cabinets filled with dulce lunas. Following this was a large coffee machine across from some stools, this then flows straight into the kitchen which had a lovely long bench and some very special machinery – including one large “fridge” which could be set to change from fridge settings to warming settings, depending on what was required for the dough or the rolled pastries.

Nick loved the coffee

You could sense the excitement of everyone involved with the store, and their passion for making quality pastries and coffee was clearly evident. I was told that whilst trying to perfect the recipe for their dulce lunas they didn’t even allow family and friends to try the ones that weren’t quite perfect – something I think my family just wouldn’t have allowed.

Gus and Herve sharing their passion for dulce lunas with us

We chatted with the founder Gus, head Chef Herve and manager Cory, and were delighted by their stories of how the product was perfected and how everyone contributed to overcoming the challenges of opening a new cafe. We discovered that there is certainly a possibility that more Viennoiseries will be opened around Sydney and Melbourne (I have fingers crossed for one in Darlinghurst, as I can imagine eating this for breakfast, morning tea, lunch or afternoon tea at work).

Gus Mendez told us how the idea for this cafe started and the process leading up to the launch. “The whole idea about dulce luna popped into my head about 15 years ago, when I was on honeymoon and having breakfast with my wife and had these amazing pastries in Buenos Aires, Argentina.” He thought they would be perfect for home, Australia, and just wanted to eat more of the pastries.

“After 15 years in finance, I sold my business 2 years ago and thought I would revisit that idea and start discovering a bit about pastries. I was lucky enough to visit Paris, New York, and then go back to Buenos Aires and also to sample a lot of product here in Australia, and thought there is definitely a gap in the market, for something that’s a bit different.” Gus baked for months on end in his kitchen, then showed Herve what he envisaged would be their product, which then resulted in more cooking and trialing of recipes. “We believe it’s an Australian product, because it is quite unique, and brings a lot out of each of those products.”

Head Chef Herve Boutin has been in Australia for more than 20 years and completed the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF), which took 3 years of preparation, before coming to Australia. He met Gus 6 months ago and loved the idea. “We put our passion and knowledge into the product…This product can only be home made.” Herve sums it up nicely: “It’s a great story of passionate people.”

When the food was on its way out, I was glad Nick was there (he was also very happy I brought him along), as this meant I got to try all the dulce lunas available. I tried the traditional one to begin with to try and taste the difference between this and a croissant. It had a beautiful, light texture with a very slight vanilla glaze on top. Next came the raspberry dulce luna which had both an amazing raspberry jam and raspberries on top, and due to my love of raspberries, this would have to be one of my favourites. The pistachio was also a big favourite of mine. The freshly ground pistachio flavour works beautifully with the pasty.

Raspberry Dulce Lunas

The almond dulce luna came out, and it was lovely, especially as it was made fresh and not with day old croissants which is what is usually done at most bakeries. The chocolate dulce luna was also a big hit – the chocolate was of great quality and being so fresh, it melted in your mouth. The quality and amount of chocolate in these is far better than your average chocolate croissant.

Pistachio and Almond Dulce Lunas

Two “dessert” dulce lunas also came out, luckily after some of the less rich ones (as otherwise I might not have managed to try them all). The first was the crème patisserie one, which had a beautiful vanilla custard-like filling, and the dulce de leche – well that can speak for itself, if you love caramel – you will love this

Dulce de leche and Creme Patisserie Dulce Lunas

For those with a less sweet tooth, some savoury options are available and would be great for breakfast or lunch – including the ham, cheese and béchamel sauce, and the spinach and feta.

Ham, Cheese and Bechamel, and Spinach and Feta Dulce Lunas

After trying all the flavours, everyone shared their favourite flavours. Some preferred the ham and cheese, others the raspberry and many the dulce de leche. One of the things I found most enjoyable with all the dulce lunas we tried was their freshness and the natural flavours that came through, nothing tasted artificial – because nothing like that is added. We were told of how every day the product will be made fresh and is best eaten within about 8 hours of baking. If you don’t get a chance though, a quick reheat in the microwave will work a treat, which is what we did with our take-home sample package.

There are also going to be certain featured flavours only available for a week at a time, including lemon curd and Nutella.

Lastly, we got to see the production of the dulce lunas, with dough that had been proving overnight. The proving process helps to develop a lot of the flavour. The dough then gets laminated with butter to form the working dough, which gets cut into triangles and rolled to the traditional moon shape. The filled lunas have to be done a bit more carefully to ensure the filling doesn’t come out.

The professional ones are on the right hand side - with our attempts making the rest...

I would like to thank both Nuffnang and Dulce Luna for this opportunity – attending the pre-launch was lovely, and it was great to meet so many vibrant and passionate people… and of course trying such amazing food. I am sure that customers will have a similar admiration when they try these quality, tasty dulce lunas, and meet the people who work in the store.

The ones we got to take home - and had for breakfast :)

Now… Nick – when will you have a chance to pick me up another box of them?

For updates or offers by Dulce Luna, follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

Facebook members & Twitter followers of Dulce Luna can get these discounts for a limited time:
$12.50 for mixed half dozen box ($2.50 discount or over 15%)
$24.00 for mixed dozen ($5.00 discount or over 15%) till 31st Mar 2013

Dulce Luna
Sydney CBD Shop 2C,
66 King St (corner York St)
http://dulceluna.com.au/index.html

Cadbury Bar of Plenty + Win Chocolate worth $50

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

This post was sponsored by Nuffnang and Cadbury.

After recently joining Nuffnang, I was ecstatic to find my first sponsored post from them involved chocolate. If they were looking for someone who loves chocolate they found the right person. The week I was told about the project, I had already made and devoured three chocolate fondant puddings (trying to get the photography right – of course), so I think that proves I am a chocoholic! I even have a category in my sidebar dedicated to chocolate, for all those other chocolate fanatics.

What could be better than finishing off the week with two new chocolate bar flavours in Cadbury’s Bar of Plenty range? Well, I can tell you! One reader has the chance to win Cadbury Chocolate valued at $50 – see below for details.

When I heard about the two new flavours, I was convinced I was going to enjoy the roasted hazelnut and honey roast cashews and was interested to try the Berry fruit and vanilla shortcake, even though I often don’t like dried fruit with chocolate.

Summer berries and crunchy vanilla shortcake

Berry fruit and vanilla shortcake

I thought both flavours had a nice amount of nuts, shortcake and/or berries (depending on the bar) covered in milk chocolate. There certainly are plenty “bits” and they’re quite small and evenly distributed, so you’re sure to get a good amount in each square. The squares seem bigger than your average piece of a chocolate block, which suits me fine! I enjoyed the roasted hazelnut and cashews very much, as expected, but I also liked the sweet and flavoursome dried cranberries mixed in with the shortbread. Both flavour combinations worked very well with the chocolate.

Somehow I managed to save some to share with my family. They also enjoyed the new flavours, and some, like me, also liked the bigger pieces – who’s only going to eat just one square of the smaller pieces anyway?

Oven Roasted hazelnut and cashews gently flavoured with honey

Roasted hazelnut and honey roast cashews

I think either of them would be great chopped up on ice cream, although I didn’t get around to doing that – partly because we were lacking vanilla ice cream to have it with, and partly because we finished the block off too early!

This new range is available at most supermarkets.

To win $50 worth of Cadbury Chocolate just answer the following question in a comment at the end of this post.

Why are you in love with Chocolate?

And you could win 10 bars and 4 smaller blocks of chocolate from the Bar of Plenty range, Mint Bubbly, White Bubbly, Milk Chocolate, Top Deck and Chocolate Bubbly. Competition ends @ 5pm EST on 20 September 2010. See Terms and Conditions below

**Updated 21/09/10: The winner of this prize has been chosen. Nuggnuggs has won this lovely prize, and I hope it is well appreciated – it certainly sounds as though it will – please see below for the comments.

Terms & Conditions
Nuffnang competition – “Why are you in love with chocolate?”

1. Information on how to enter form part of these conditions. Entry into the competition constitutes acceptance of these terms and conditions.

2. The name of the person conducting it (the promoters name, address and telephone number)
The competition will be conducted by Nuffnang Australia. Nuffnang Australia’s head office is located at 28 St Edmonds Road, Prahran VIC 3181. Please contact Nuffnang Australia via (03) 8517 2000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (03) 8517 2000      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or support@nuffnang.com.au

3. Eligibility requirements (including minimum age of participants)
Entrants must live in QLD, WA, ACT, NSW, TAS or VIC to be eligible. The winner will need provide Nuffnang with their contact details in order to be eligible. Participants must be aged 14 and over.

4. How to enter
To enter the competition:
* Participants need to leave a comment on the competition post published on one of the twenty blogs participating in the competition. These blogs are:
1. allforwomen.com.au
2. almostbourdain.blogspot.com
3. carlyfindlay.blogspot.com
4. chaigyaru.com
5. chocolatesuze.com
6. eatshowandtell.com
7. ironchefshellie.com
8. jeroxie.com/addiction
9. karencheng.com.au
10. ladymelbourne.com.au
11. leaveroomfordessert.com
12. myfoodtrail.blogspot.com
13. myweyoflife.com
14. retromummy.blogspot.com
15. sarah-cooks.blogspot.com
16. sassisamblog.com
17. spicyicecream.com.au
18. superkawaiimama.com
19. tarisota.typepad.com
20. violetlebeaux.com

* The comment must answer the question “Why are you in love with chocolate?” The most creative and practical answer will be chosen as the winner.

5. Description and retail value of each of the prizes (including conditions, if any, relating to receiving, accepting or using the prizes)
The prize will be products worth up to $50.

6. Closing and drawing dates and time for the receipt of entries in the lottery
The competition closes on 5pm EST on 20 September 2010.

7. The place, date and time of the lottery draw
On Tuesday 21 September 2010, the blogger will choose their own winner and inform Nuffnang Australia.

8. The method used to decide prize winners
The winner will be the entry judged most creative and practical by the judges.

9. How prize winners will be notified (face-to-face, email, phone or mail)
The winner will be notified via the blog they used to enter the competition, and will be asked to provide their email and contact phone number at that time. If they do not respond to the comment within 48 hours, Nuffnang reserve the rights to select another winner.

10. How prizes will be awarded
Once the winner has been notified, Nuffnang Australia will liaise with the winner to have the prize pack sent to them.

11. The method for claiming prizes (including requirement for entrants to be present at the draw)
To claim the prize, the winner must reply to the winner notification and accept the prize within 48 hours of the blog notification, as well as indicate their preferred address for the product to be sent. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, they will forfeit the prize, and another winner will be selected using the same judging process.

12. Whether results will be published and, if so, the way they will be published
The results will be published on the respective bloggers’ blogs and Twitter (if applicable). Nuffnang Australia also reserve the right to publish the results, including a photo of the winner, in the media.

13. Whether the prize will jackpot or be redrawn if the winning player is not present or does not claim/cannot be found (must keep for 3 months if unclaimed)
Nuffnang Australia will make all reasonable efforts to contact the prize winner. If the prize winner is uncontactable or does not respond to accept the prize within 48 hours of notification, another winner will be selected using the same judging process.

14. Who cannot participate
Nuffnang Australia’s business directors, management and employees, their immediate families, their retailers, suppliers, associated comapnies and agencies are ineligible.

15. Changes to Terms and Conditions
Nuffnang Australia reserves the right to change these terms and conditions. If any changes are made Nuffnang Australia will notify the public via its website.

Aria

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Aria10

I was lucky enough to be taken to Aria for a Christmas lunch!

Mango - cheese cake with ginger crumble, lime jelly and roasted pineapple sorbet

Mango - cheese cake with ginger crumble, lime jelly and roasted pineapple sorbet

Sydney city looked spectacular on the bright sunny day we went out for lunch, with views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Pity I didn’t take photos of them, too concerned about the food perhaps? (truly obsessed with food I am)

Coffee - warm coffee cake with espresso ice cream, coconut sorbet and passionfruit

Coffee - warm coffee cake with espresso ice cream, coconut sorbet and passionfruit

Everything was lovely at Aria, the room, the staff, Matt Moran – yes, we did see Matt Moran, and a good friend was nice enough to go and ask if he’d mind having a photo with me 🙂

Aria03

There was a very good range on the menu (as we had a group booking), with 5 choices per course. I couldn’t go past the pork belly for the entrée and when it came out, I was glad with my choice. All portions were very generous, the pork belly was gorgeous and rich with a beautiful crispy skin on top. There was a large amount of fat under the skin, which I’m sure most people would have enjoyed, although I don’t eat much fat at all, and had to remove some of this. The pork had a fantastic pork croquette and beautiful pear chutney accompanying it, along with a paradise pear which worked surprisingly well.

Pork Belly - Kurobuta sweet pork belly with pork croquette, paradise pears and pear chutney

Pork Belly - Kurobuta sweet pork belly with pork croquette, paradise pears and pear chutney

I tried a small amount of the Kingfish with some octopus carpaccio and am starting to think – I may actually like a bit of seafood (in the past I have had quite badly cooked seafood, but am coming to realise it’s not all that bad).

Kingfish - sashimi and cerviche with octopus carpaccio, cucumber and citrus

Kingfish - sashimi and cerviche with octopus carpaccio, cucumber and citrus

For the main I chose the lamb, which was perfectly cooked and again, generous in size. The plate looked like an artwork, with everything perfectly placed, baby artichokes and lovely sauce for the lamb.

Lamb - basil scented fillet with red capsicum, baby artichokes and green olive and lavender sauce

Lamb - basil scented fillet with red capsicum, baby artichokes and green olive and lavender sauce

Trevalla - roasted with glazed witlof, chesnut mushrooms, white beans and chicken jus

Trevalla - roasted with glazed witlof, chesnut mushrooms, white beans and chicken jus

Now to dessert, and I always leave room for dessert. It was moderately hard to choose the dessert. Don’t get me wrong, everything sounded amazing (and looked absolutely fabulous when they arrived), but I was choosing between the strawberry dessert and the chocolate tasting plate (remember I tried to make that one?). I heard the strawberry dessert was fantastic. Everything from the creamy panna cotta to the wonderful sorbet. I would love to try this.

Valrhona Chocolate - rich chocolate delice with chocolate sorbet

Valrhona Chocolate - rich chocolate delice with chocolate sorbet

Strawberry - poached strawberries with panna cotta, clotted cream and shortbread

Strawberry - poached strawberries with panna cotta, clotted cream and shortbread

I wasn’t sure whether the chocolate plate would be similar at all to the one I made in presentation or taste. When it came out it looked gorgeous. Everything was perfectly positioned, nothing was melting (like mine) and the chocolate had the signature snap to it. The macaron was actually my favourite on the plate, as it was lovely and sweet. I think I have to come to terms that I can’t deal with too much bitterness. Although every part of the dessert was lovely, I couldn’t finish it. I can think of several 85% -99% cocoa chocolate lovers who would have adored this dessert, but I’m still struggling with that high percentage of cocoa. I need the sugar and the milk, so unfortunately couldn’t appreciate and finish this dish like I would have hoped.

Aria02

What a lovely lunch.

ARIA Restaurant Sydney
1 Macquarie Street, East Circular Quay
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 9252 2555

Sydney Daring Bakers Meet-up at NewsCaf

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

newscaf03

I really enjoyed meeting up with a group of the Daring Bakers in Sydney a couple weekends ago. Audax organised a lunch, which was attended by many bloggers, many of whom I hadn’t met and some that I had. All the bloggers were friendly and knowledgeable, and we shared many stories about baking, the Daring Bakers challenges we’ve had in the past and ones we expect might arise in the future. We also discussed books, restaurants and who the lucky people are who get all the lovely food we make for the challenges and our blogs. It was great talking with like-minded baking enthusiasts, and I would love to meet up again.

We went to NewsCaf in Newtown for a hearty lunch. I had been contemplating having a croissant for lunch, but after seeing pancakes on the menu (I do love my pancakes), my decision was made. I was also looking forward to some pear nectar, as I thought that would be nice and refreshing, although there was none available. So I decided on the Wildberry Frappe. The frappe was nice and fruity, with a slightly sweet flavour and overall strong berry flavour.

newscaf07

When my pancakes came out, I was impressed with the generosity of toppings. The two pancakes were covered in a mound of blueberries, strawberries, banana, ricotta and maple syrup. The flavours worked very well together. I love ricotta with pancakes, and the bananas and tartness of the berries complemented the sweet maple syrup well. The only thing I could have asked for to improve it, may have been a touch more maple syrup – I tend to have quite a bit on pancakes.

newscaf06

Everyone else’s meals also looked very generous. Bacon and egg rolls, croissants, eggs benedict’s and French toast were some of the other meals ordered.

newscaf02

newscaf01

Thanks again to Audax for organising the meet up. It was great to finally meet you and many other enthusiastic Daring Bakers.

newscaf08

Here’s a list of the Daring Bakers who attended:

Audax @ Audax Artifex

Karen @ Citrus and Candy

Steph @ Raspberri Cupcakes

Lucy @ Lucy Cooks

Lexi and Biff @ Fat Little Dumplings

Lisa @ Spicy Ice cream

Kim @ All Consuming Food

Trissa @ Trissalicious

NewsCaf
267 King St
Newtown 2042 NSW
Phone: (02) 9565 1951

Gelatissimo – Flavours of the World

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

gelatissimo01

I was recently contacted by Gelatissimo, informing me of their new, limited range of gelato called: “Flavours of the World” and offering for me to try a few of the new flavours. They have a great range of gelato on offer for this promotion, from lovely refreshing fruity flavours to beautiful creamy ones.

gelatissimo02

When the samples arrived I was ecstatic to see both French Crème Brulee and American Fudge Brownie in the box and was very interested in trying the Italian Limoncello and Chinese Lychee and Coconut, as I always tend to go for the more creamy, chocolate or caramel gelatos.

Chinese Lychee and Coconut and Italian Limoncello

Chinese Lychee and Coconut and Italian Limoncello

I got a couple more people around to try the flavours and get a better range of opinions. We started off with the Italian Limoncello, which was strongly lemon flavoured and very refreshing, which would be great either between meals as a palate cleanser or on a hot day.

Next we tried the Chinese Lychee and Coconut, which was creamy with prominent coconut flavours and a hint of lychee.

American Fudge Brownie and French Crème Brulee

American Fudge Brownie and French Crème Brulee

The favourite from everyone was the French Crème Brulee, with lovely swirls of caramel throughout, the flavours worked nicely and would be one I would choose when out.

Photo courtesy of Gelatissimo

Photo courtesy of Gelatissimo

The American Fudge Brownie worked very well with the Crème Brulee, although we had a huge chunk of brownie, which we feel would have been better in smaller chunks and with a stronger chocolate flavour in the gelato.

Photo courtesy of Gelatissimo

Photo courtesy of Gelatissimo

Gelatissimo have a whole heap of other flavours including: Swiss Toblerone, Canadian Maple and Walnut, Kiwi Hokey Pokey and Australian Honey and Macadamia along with Tahitian Coconut Cream and Lime, Carribbean Papaya and Passionfruit, Brazilian Coffee and Thai Mango and Coconut – but only for a limited time.

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