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)

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart + Win a Ferrero Hamper

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang.

As soon as you know it, the end of the year is almost here, with it bringing Christmas holidays and New Years. I loved last year’s holiday season, I had a bit of time off and ate lots of great food with my family. I never got around to posting the huge amounts of food we ate, although you might remember I did post about the chocolate swirl croquembouche.

I have no idea what I could make this year to come close to the croquembouche – except for maybe making a smaller one (as we didn’t get through the large one I made). It is a favourite dish of mine and my families. Although, perhaps I should make something with chocolate…

There aren’t too many things that work quite as well as chocolate and hazelnut, which inspired along with Ferrero products to make this chocolate and hazelnut tart.

Ferrero have just launched a new website, Ferrero Boutique, which showcases their different hampers available in time for Christmas.

Ferrero Gourmet Christmas Hamper by Tobie Puttock - Image from Ferrero

One of interest is the Ferrero Gourmet Christmas Hamper by Tobie Puttock, which includes Ferrero Panettone & Torrone, Ferrero Rondnoir and Rochers. Tobie uses the Panettone in his recipe: Grilled Peaches with Caramelised Panettone recipe from his latest cookbook, Cook Like An Italian and is also available on the Ferrero Boutique site. This hamper along with the others on the website are limited in number though, with 500 originally being available, although this number has already decreased. $5 from each hamper also will be donated to OzHarvest, which exists to rescue excess food which would otherwise be discarded, and distribute it to charities supporting the vulnerable in Australia.

Ferrero Gourmet Christmas Hamper by Tobie Puttock - Image from Ferrero

Ferrero are giving away two Ferrero Gourmet Christmas Hampers by Tobie Puttock Ferrero worth $75 each! Two lucky readers (from my site or these two blogs: The Food Pornographer and Here comes the Food) could win one of these fabulous hampers. All you have to do is answer the following question in a comment below:

What is your favourite Christmas recipe and/or how do you celebrate the holiday season?

Ferrero will choose the most creative responses from all three sites, to give a hamper to. The competition finishes on Friday 10th December 2010 at 5pm. Winners will be notified by email. Please see here for Terms and Conditions.

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

Serves: 16

Recipe best made the day before (or a few days before serving)

Hazelnut Pastry
200g plain flour
40g hazelnut meal
40g icing sugar
120g butter, chilled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg yolk + 1 teaspoon of egg white or water, if required

Toffee layer (optional)
100g caster sugar

Chocolate Hazelnut Filling
250g Nutella
220g milk chocolate, chopped
50g dark chocolate, chopped
300ml thickened cream

80g caster sugar
50g water
8-10 hazelnuts (or more for practicing)
8 Ferrero Rocher chocolates

For the pastry, process the flour, hazelnut meal and icing sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and process until just combined. If it is not coming together, add a teaspoon of egg white or cold water at a time until it is just combined. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a disk. Cover the disk and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Roll out the pastry to 3mm, or enough to line a 22-25cm (diameter) round fluted tart tin. Line the tin with the pastry, making sure to press the pastry into the sides. Remove excess by rolling a rolling pin over the top of the tin, or by hand – smoothing any edges if needed. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven at 180C.

For the toffee layer, place the sugar in a small saucepan and place on high (or medium high). Once the sugar starts to caramelise on the outer edges, slowly mix in small amounts of the unmelted sugar, until it is all caramelised. Pour onto a sheet of baking paper. Once cooled, process in a small food processor.

Place a sheet of baking paper over the pastry lined tart and fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove the weights and baking paper and return the tart shell to the oven and cook for approximately 5 minutes until the bottom of the tart has started to brown. Place the processed toffee over the bottom of the tart shell and place back in the oven for 3 minutes or until the toffee has melted into a even layer. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

For the filling. Place the Nutella and chopped chocolates into a large bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just starts to bubble. Pour the cream over the chocolate and Nutella and stir gently until it forms a smooth mixture. Pour the mixture into the tart shell. If there are some bubbles present, you can carefully use a creme brulee torch to remove them. Refrigerate overnight.

The hazelnut corkscrews need to be made as close to serving as possible. To make these, roast the hazelnuts in a 180C oven for 5-10 minutes, until they are roasted and the skins start to come off. Remove from oven and place onto a clean tea towel. Rub the hazelnuts through the towel to remove the brown skins. Place a tooth pick into the base of each hazelnut.

Heat the sugar and water in a very small saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. (I used a 10-15cm based saucepan, if you are using a larger one, you may need to increase your toffee ingredients to allow for a higher toffee level to allow easier dipping of the hazelnuts). Once the sugar is dissolved, place the mixture on high and cook, without stirring until the toffee turns a caramel colour. Place the bottom half of the saucepan into a sink filled with cold or tap water – this will stop the toffee from becoming too dark. Mix the toffee with a spoon and test the consistency of the toffee by trying to slowly spin the toffee around a clean knife steel. (Hold the steel in your left hand and rotate the spoon with toffee clockwise around the steel until a corkscrew is made).

Once it is at the right consistency, dip a hazelnut into toffee and make a corkscrew at the end of it. It is easiest if you can get someone to help you with this, as they can remove the corkscrew while you hold the hazelnut (as the toffee on the hazelnut doesn’t solidify as quickly as the thin corkscrew). If you don’t have a second pair of hands, place the hazelnut onto a piece of baking paper and slowly remove the corkscrew from the steel.

Place the Ferrero Rochers and caramel hazelnuts over the tart and serve with vanilla ice cream.

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

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:

* 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.