• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Kerry Beal

Report: eG Chocolate and Confectionery Workshop 2014

135 posts in this topic

And so it begins...

 

I arrived in Las Vegas at 10:30 or so this morning, picked up my rental car and hastened over the the Tuscany Suites to meet up with Chocolot.  After a brief cruise through all the loot that she had accumulated for the workshop we headed out to do a few errands.  We checked in with Melissa and Jean Marie to check that all was well for later in the week and to enjoy a little look around the facility.  I also had to deliver several bottles of wonderful looking paté that Alleguede had made for Jean Marie (I kept one bottle here for snacking purposes this week).  There was serious drooling going on over all the equipment they have available for us to play with.

 

What was to be a quick stop at Chef Rubber took a little longer than expected - there is a lot to look at there!  And to buy!

 

We investigated a couple of thrift stores - notably the Habitat for Humanity Reuse to grab a couple of items that will show their usefulness later this week.

 

And for dinner we hit Lotus of Siam.  We know that we are going back there this week - but it is a place I've wanted to check out since FG wrote about it a few years ago.  And you can never eat too much Thai can you?

 

DSCN2663.jpg

 

Jasmine tea for me.  

 

DSCN2664.jpg

 

Chicken larb.

 

DSCN2665.jpg

 

DSCN2668.jpg

 

Khao soi - noodles with a red thai sauce.  And the condiments to go with them - some sort of pickled green (perhaps mustard), onion and of course lime.  

 

DSCN2667.jpg

 

Pepper garlic shrimp - didn't see a table without this one!

 

DSCN2670.jpg

 

And fried rice with veg and egg. 

 

Right now Ruth is cruising the internet reviews to see what we should order when we return there on Thursday.  

9 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ran around a bit more this morning - hitting the shop where we ordered sandwiches for the 3 days of classes - and taking the opportunity to visit the 'International Marketplace' and Trader Joe's.  

 

Waiting for gfron1 to return so we can hit a few more spots this afternoon so pulled together some lunch.

 

DSCN2672.jpg

 

Lovely pate de Campagne (thank you Alleguede) and Beehive cheese (Seahive and Promontory) with some Ak Mak crackers (thank you Trader Joe's).  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ran around a bit more this morning - hitting the shop where we ordered sandwiches for the 3 days of classes - and taking the opportunity to visit the 'International Marketplace' and Trader Joe's.  

 

Waiting for gfron1 to return so we can hit a few more spots this afternoon so pulled together some lunch.

 

attachicon.gifDSCN2672.jpg

 

Lovely pate de Campagne (thank you Alleguede) and Beehive cheese (Seahive and Promontory) with some Ak Mak crackers (thank you Trader Joe's).

That International Marketplace is my kind of shop and love your lunch!


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it was the Korean market, Ranch 99 Asian market then lunch at Cafe de Cebu for lechon and pork in blood.  Both were outstanding.

 

lechon.jpg


Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dinner tonight at Raku.  Gfron1 and I shared omakase, Willow and Ms Tenacity went a la carte.  

 

DSCN2674.jpg

 

The middle of the table - needed a little rake to play in the sand.  

 

DSCN2675.jpg

 

Willow starts with Tomatoes in Bacon. 

 

DSCN2676.jpg

 

Followed by Chicken Breast in Chicken Skin.  

 

DSCN2678.jpg

 

Fresh Tofu with chrysanthemum, wasabi, shiso microgreens.  The salt shaker contained salt with matcha and mushroom to sprinkle on it.  

 

DSCN2680.jpg

 

Willow get's Pork Ribs. 

 

DSCN2681.jpg

 

Willow and Andrea get Rice shapes - meanwhile gfron1 and I are getting ready to eat the table.  

 

DSCN2682.jpg

 

Finally asparagus in puffed rice appears.  

 

DSCN2684.jpg

 

And sashimi.  

 

DSCN2685.jpg

 

Andrea scores some Tendon.  

 

 

DSCN2686.jpg

 

A scallop in a very lovely sauce - shells required licking.  

 

DSCN2688.jpg

 

And a whole sea bream.  

 

DSCN2689.jpg

 

Which required deboning (at least the head and spine).  

 

DSCN2690.jpg

 

Still a fair number of bones hidden in this flesh. 

 

DSCN2691.jpg

 

Waygu beef with wasabi.

 

DSCN2693.jpg

 

Duck breast with balsamic reduction.  

 

DSCN2694.jpg

 

Foie on rice.  

 

DSCN2695.jpg

 

An interesting tea.  

 

DSCN2696.jpg

 

Matcha creme brulee.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgot to post about the facilities in Raku.  

 

IMG_0427.jpg

 

While sitting on the heated seat of this baby - you can enjoy the view.  

 

IMG_0429.jpg

 

The wall of fish tank...

 

IMG_0428.jpg

 

The interesting ceiling installation. 

 

IMG_0432.jpg

 

But a final piece of advice if you find yourself there - none of these buttons flushes the toilet - the flush mechanism is the European style on the top of the tank.  So standing over the unit and pushing those buttons will not have the desired effect - but you can blow your face dry!

 

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yes, but does it have Wi-Fi ?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of us are not so adventurous. In N Out was a new experience for the East Coaster.

Cheeseburger, animal style.

 

 

photo.JPG

3 people like this

Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ruth, Kerry and I also stopped by Jinju yesterday since we'll miss the Friday demo.  Very gracious woman (Jin) and interesting space that is a dedicated work/live complex.  We were sure to buy some of her goodies.

 

jinju.jpg

1 person likes this

Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well you have certainly dined at two of the top Asian restaurants in Las Vegas in Raku and Lotus of Siam.  If you go back, Lotus has a crispy rice dish, (which I can't define by name), that is outstanding.   Now I'm looking forward to some sweet confections!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

photo 2.jpg

 

Breakfast this am at 'eat'.

 

 

DSCN2697.jpg

 

We shared these cinnamon biscuits with strawberry coulis.

 

photo 3.jpg

 

Ruth opted for Bacon and Eggs with Sourdough. 

 

DSCN2699.jpg

 

 

Bob and I enjoyed chilequiles.

 

photo 1.jpg

 

The door on the way out!

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well shoot, you didn't tell me there'd be sushi!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lotus of Siam again this evening - 

 

DSCN2700.jpg

 

Crispy Rice - thanks for the suggestion David - right out of the park.  

 

DSCN2702.jpg

 

The Garlic Pepper Prawns again.

 

DSCN2703.jpg

 

Crispy Duck with Panang sauce.

 

DSCN2704.jpg

 

Short Ribs with Panang sauce.  

 

DSCN2705.jpg

 

Sliced Beef Salad.

 

DSCN2708.jpg

 

Pounded Jackfruit with Pork.  

 

DSCN2709.jpg

 

Squid Larb.

 

DSCN2710.jpg

 

Cellophane noodles.

 

DSCN2712.jpg

 

And sticky rice with coconut and mango.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lotus of Siam repeat.

 

Chicken Satay w/peanut sauce 

 

photo.JPG

 

Tempura Prawns

 

photo2.jpg

 

Part of the group. Having a great time. Fun really begins tomorrow.

 

photo.jpg

4 people like this

Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of us took a side trip to visit Red Rocks Canyon before we headed to dinner at Lotus of Siam

image.jpg

image.jpg

7 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DSCN2719.jpg

 

Too tired to post tonight about our day or our dinner - but will leave you with this one image that represents Jean-Marie Auboine's facility where we are doing our workshop this weekend.  

 

The Bogota clock represents Mellisa - our instructor today.  The Paris clock for Jean-Marie the other partner in the business.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Friday with Melissa was a truly outstanding day. My head is still spinning from everything she shared. When we left Melissa, everyone met up at Chef Rubber for a once in a lifetime shopping experience, with discounts. We had to hurry back to the hotel to get ready for dinner, along the way our driver caught a glimpse of a a poor guy who evidently lost everything at the casinos....

image.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yesterday Ruth, Bob and I went to a grocery store to get supplies for the lunches for the weekend.  

 

Never seen slot machines in a grocery store before - 

 

 

Went through Las Vegas back in 1985 and stopped for gas at 5:30 am.  And the gas station was full of slot machines.  We definitely weren't in Ontario any more! :raz:


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I've not seen any chocolate work yet, and I'm already green with envy! Hope you all have a lovely time

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll post pictures after I get home from the workshop. Not to worry, there are lots of pictures of chocolate and candy.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's been an amazing weekend, like Curls, I will post when I get home and can sort out the photo's and properly describe them. Lots of confections and work to share....

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's not a lot of description on the photos, but this is some of my take of the goings-on, including Rob & I's trip up from Silver City.

 

I wasn't in the workshops, but the social stuff and the chocolate gorging was definitely in my agenda. I made this album public so the link should work for anyone....

 

Enjoy!

 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152428256146763&type=1&l=4a721cbadf

 

Andrea


"You can't taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie." - Astrid Alauda

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Food Lovers' Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos: OMG I wrote a book. Woo!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's not a lot of description on the photos, but this is some of my take of the goings-on, including Rob & I's trip up from Silver City.

 

I wasn't in the workshops, but the social stuff and the chocolate gorging was definitely in my agenda. I made this album public so the link should work for anyone....

 

Enjoy!

 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152428256146763&type=1&l=4a721cbadf

 

Andrea

Nice shots... thanks for sharing.

 


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Besides the opportunity to see old friends and make new ones, the highlight for me was simply seeing how JMA made this decorations.  So simple and so classy.  The lines were a brand (acetate or flexible metal) dipped in shimmer and isoprobyl.  The other shapes were pastry tips or frozen metal stamps.

 

JMA.jpg

3 people like this

Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Similar Content

    • By gfron1
      I'm getting the topic kicked off although my time so far has been spent in the kitchen so I have experienced much of the weekend. Chris Hennes and Misstenacity showed up almost at the same time last night. I scurried them off to the tamale/tortilla workshop while I kept prepping for the tasting dinner tonight. I heard many pics were taken so I'll let them talk about the workshop. They'll be off for the Chile Fest in just a bit. Many, many more details to com.
    • By lesliec
      Content advisory: this is going to come across as an unalloyed rave, so let me say at the outset that I have no connection with Pen-y-bryn other than having stayed there.
       
      Now we have that out of the way - we visited Oamaru for the annual steampunk festival at the end of May this year.  Oamaru, a small (pop. 13,500) town in the South Island, 250-odd kilometres south of Christchurch, is home to one of the best-preserved Victorian precincts in the country.  The Victorian heritage has been embraced by the community, first with Victorian re-enactments and now with the steampunk.  Oamaru calls itself the steampunk capital of New Zealand and the annual Queen's Birthday weekend festival is quite an event.  I could go on at length about it, but this is not the place.
       
      Pen-y-bryn (Welsh for 'top of the hill' was built as a private residence in 1889 and is said to be the largest single-level residential building in New Zealand or Australia.  Here's the house:
       

       
      I met one of the owners, James Glucksman, through eGullet a couple of years ago, and this seemed a good opportunity to meet my first eG member in person.  James and his partner James Boussy (collectively: the Jameses) are of US origin and have travelled extensively.  The lodge is filled with period furniture, some of it made for the original owner, and decorated with items the Jameses have collected in their travels.  There's a full-sized billiard table (one of three originally made for the New Zealand Parliament; only two would fit so the remaining one came south to Oamaru), a fantastic original Florentine ceiling in the dining room and any number of comfortable places to sit with a book and a drink.  James G is the chef and morning guy (how does that work?); James B is the gardener and evening guy.
       
      Breakfasts are splendid affairs.  As well as (lodge-made) fruit compotes and wonderful jams, muesli and granola, there's always a freshly-made baked selection.  I can thoroughly recommend the croissants, although it's hardly fair to single them out, and I have now been introduced to the famous biscuits and gravy - not something often seen in this country:
       

       
      Rather good, I must say, and I'd certainly have them again.  I think James said we were the first guests he'd tried them out on.  Sausage gravy, for those of you who are wondering, with just the right level of cayenne.  After that, if you have room, you can have your choice of eggs with bacon, tomato and mushrooms.
       
      For the first few days of our stay we were deeply involved in festival affairs and weren't able to have much more than bed and breakfast at the lodge.  Not that that's anything to be sneezed at, and it was very pleasant to return exhausted in the evening and be met at the door by a James, then ushered into the drawing room for a nightcap - a cocktail, or perhaps a glass of James G's excellent nocino.
       
      On the final day, though, we thought we'd be having a free day and arranged to have two of our friends who had travelled with us from Wellington join us for afternoon tea, to be followed by a proper dinner.  As it turned out we got involved in a photo session in the morning followed by helping pack out of the hall much of the festival had been in, and ended up with only minutes to spare to dress accordingly (one must!) before we were due for tea.  But we made it:
       

      (Photo courtesy Pen-y-bryn)
       
      What a splendid group of people, don't you think?  That's Mrs Hudson (the younger) on the left, then Professor Carwardine, myself (Colonel Hawthorne) and Captain Smollett.  A very distinguished gathering indeed - you may note we had abandoned most of our steampunk accoutrements in favour of a more pure Victorian look (save for my cravat pin, but you can't see that).  Our host was no less splendid:
       

       
      OK, he didn't dress like that all the time - he cuts a decent figure in chefs' whites as well - but this is what eGullet members can look like when they put their minds to it.
       
      We'd neglected to warn James until the day before of the gluten-free needs of one of the party, but he came through magnificently.  Coronation Chicken and radish/poppy seed/cream cheese sandwiches, feijoa/orange tea cakes, English Royalty currant scones with clotted cream and more of James's jam, along with rosewater/pistachio meringues.  All except the tea cakes were gluten-free, and everything was delicious.  I haven't experienced much gluten-free food, but if it's all like this (I believe it isn't!) I think I could cope.  This was accompanied by our choice from an extensive tea list.  The Jameses have lived in China and their knowledge of teas is vast - they can even do a full tea ceremony at the lodge if you wish.
       
      A very nice touch at afternoon tea was a discreet printed menu so we knew what we were having.  This was also offered later at dinner, to which we now come.
       
      Having dressed appropriately (again - we're getting quite good at it), Mrs Hudson (the younger) and myself descended to the drawing room.  James G had unfortunately been forced to take to his bed after our afternoon tea (we wore him out?), but his young sous-chef Ashley and James B between them gave us a memorable evening.  We began with cocktails and canapés.  For the former we introduced James to the Tolkien.  He's not big on mixed drinks, but allowed that this one was acceptable.  Ashley presented this offering:
       

       
      Chorizo, mozzarella and cherry tomato with a balsamic reduction, and crostini with stracchino and saltwater pearls.  The chorizo and both cheeses were - again - made at Pen-y-bryn.
       
      After a suitable interval we repaired to the dining room:
       

       
      James offered a short but thoughtful wine list, and we went with this:
       

       
      When one is in Otago, one must drink Otago, don't you think?  It was a good choice; warm and fruity and a good match for what followed.
       
      First, cocoa-nib rubbed North Otago venison carpaccio, served with confit cherry tomatoes, sumac-sesame-pinenut soil and balsamic caviar:
       

       
      This was a beautiful dish in every way.  Although our first meeting on eG was in the chamber sealer topic, I hadn't been aware quite how modernist James's cooking was (he told me later he likes to include modernist elements, but may dial it back depending on his audience.  He didn't have to hold back with us).  Ashley was able to chat happily about maltodextrin and spherification - I flatter myself she enjoyed having people there who knew what she was talking about!  But as the eG modernist community knows, it's not all about appearance; the food has to taste good.  And this certainly did.  If you're wondering, the white thing is a coconut sphere.
       
      Then, after a lovely mixed fruit sorbet with triple sec, the main course.  Sous vide confit Canterbury duck leg with crumbed quenelle of pommes sarladais, sorrel gel, baby bok choy and haricots verts, and port wine sauce.  And look at the plate:
       

       
      This was another lovely dish.  The duck was just as tender as you'd hope, with just the lightest crisping of the skin.  The potato quenelle was possibly the best of its type I've had, and the dots of sorrel gel provided a nice bitter note.
       
      We had to finish eventually and it was in fine style, with passionfruit-lemon tart with crème Chantilly and vanilla-poached tamarillos (the photo was taken before the tamarillos went on):
          Again, delicious.  A shortcake-style base with delicious thick cream, complemented beautifully by the berry (I think) sauce and tamarillos.   After this it only remained to return to beside the fire in the drawing room to join some new friends we'd made on this trip.  A very lovely evening.   I can thoroughly recommend Pen-y-bryn for a luxury stay if you get to this part of the world.  I have only one criticism - it's completely ruined me for staying anywhere else.  Thanks, guys.  We'll be back.
    • By Bu Pun Su
      French food is my favorite cuisine and l’Arpege is my favorite restaurant. Currently, entering the 4th year that I haven’t returned to l’Arpege (Since ’06, I usually make an effort to go there at least once every 2 years). At the very least I had a chance to savor Alain Passard’s cuisine in late ’12 when he became a guest Chef at Beaufort hotel Sentosa – the most memorable part was when Alain personally cooked 2 Brittany lobsters for me. Fortunately, Singapore has a restaurant owned and run by Passard’s apprentice & his former sous chef, Gunther Hubrechsen. Therefore, whenever I crave for (home-style) French cooking that’s light, delicate and delicious, I often come here. Similar to my Les Amis’ experience, I’ve actually been here about 4 times since 2008 but never wrote a (serious) review even once. As a matter of fact, Gunther’s is one of my favorite restaurants in Singapore
      I had dinner at Gunther’s in the same week as my meal at Les Amis. On purpose, I ordered carte-blanche here with similar budget to the Les Amis’ degustation menu. I wondered how these 2 elite gastronomy restaurants (cooking nouvelle cuisine without any molecular element) would fare against each other. A short comparison in a glance,
      Les Amis = 7 courses including one dessert. 2 courses with caviar and 3 courses with black truffle. There were scallop, lobster and wagyu beef
      Gunther’s = 8 courses with a dessert. 1 dish with caviar and also 3 courses with black truffle. There were scallop, gambas and wagyu beef
      Anyway, I ate and enjoyed very much the following stuffs at Gunther’s (my top 3 dishes):
      1st: cold angel hair pasta with Oscietra caviar - the restaurant’s most well-known dish and Chef Hubrechsen should be proud of it. It’s the 3rd time I savor this dish; it’s still very delicious – the flavor, the smells, the texture and all other elements were spot on. High degree of consistency...
      5th: carabinero gambas with tomato rice – given how far Spain from Singapore is, the kitchen did a good job in preparing this prawn. I tasted the gambas’ freshness and sweet flavor; it’s well-seasoned too. The Japanese rice cooked with the prawn’s stock and tomato was pleasant except I prefer rice with firmer texture (like in risotto or paella)
      6th: grilled scallop with black truffle – the main highlight of my meal. The Hokkaido scallop was juicy and tender though not as tasty as the one I had at Les Amis. However, it’s well-enhanced by the sublime and sweet caramelized onion below as well as the pungent winter truffle aroma and flavor on top of it. I liked the onion very much here – a good example how Gunther brought out the essence of its ingredient; possibly the closest one (in terms of ‘deliciousness’) to the Passard’s perfect onion gratin with parmesan that looks deceptively simple
      What makes Gunther’s special is that the talented Belgian chef-owner is capable of generating many different kind of ‘unassuming’ dishes and elevating them to higher level using no more than 3 fresh produce on each plate. It seems modest at times, but actually quite sophisticated. Let me describe a few more dishes I had,
      4th: roasted garlic with onion essence – if I had to pick one dish I like the least, it’s probably the one. The roasted garlic had smooth texture and good smell, well-integrated with mascarpone sauce. However, I found the (garlic) portion was too big. After consuming 2/3 of them, I just swallowed the rest (almost no chewing) so that I wouldn’t be too stuffed and/or dilute my palate for the next dishes
      7th: Char grilled wagyu beef in bordelaise sauce – this was the main course served in a nice portion with a right amount of “fat”. Delicate Japanese beef was generally a safe choice; the chef didn’t do too much and just allowed the natural flavor of high quality wagyu to shine. The sauce and the grilled corn were precisely executed. Nothing wow but it’s hard not to like Japanese beef J
      8th: Truffle parfait – dessert. It’s a soft and light vanilla ice cream served with rich chocolate brownie and topped with aromatic smell induced by the Perigord truffle (having slight peppery taste). I hardly eat dessert with truffle in it. This one was sweet and rather delicious
      There were a couple more dishes I had and you can see/read them on the picture link below. For the meal, I drank 2 glasses of wine. The first glass was 2010 Vincent girardin chassagne-Montrachet; it’s rich and creamy with buttery aromas. The second one was 2009 Black quail Pinot noir; it’s medium bodied with dark berries delicate fragrance and dry finish in slight acidity – a quite refined pinot noir that surprisingly went along nicely with my scallop dish (of course, better with the beef). Oh before I forget, this place only offers one type of bread and butter – to be exact warm mini baguette and salted butter served at room temperature – simple but good; I ate 3 baguettes if not mistaken. The meal ended with a petit four consisting of a green tea macaron and canele – both were fine.
      It was a quiet evening, about half of the restaurant’s capacity was filled. Probably most people were still busy to attend reunion dinner with their friends and colleagues. The dining room decoration was minimalist dominated by dark grey color for the walls (some paintings were hung on them) and medium lighting. This way guests would not feel overwhelmed and the food took center stage. The staffs were polite and helpful without being intrusive. Besides the sommelier, one friendly “Indian” maitre d’ and the greeter, most of restaurants’ FOH staffs were relatively new. Chef Hubrechsen, usually visiting the dining room to greet guests, explained that the staffs turnover at Singapore restaurants were still very high; he even did not have any permanent sous chef assisting him in the kitchen. So the good thing is that it’s almost guaranteed Gunther himself would always be in the kitchen daily to ensure food quality.
      I gave my overall meal experience at Gunther’s nearly 94 pts (a good 2 ¼* by Michelin standard) and it meant about the same level as Shinji by Kanesaka Singapore and Eric Frechon’s Le Bristol, seriously. Another lovely meal, and overall it ranked as the most memorable one I’ve ever had here. Well, there was no bad meal experience at Gunther’s. Hope I can return again sometimes next year, even better if not on my own expenses. Lastly, I prefer this place over Les Amis by a small margin. Check here for pictures, https://picasaweb.google.com/118237905546308956881/GuntherSRestaurantSingapore#
    • By Kerry Beal
      Today we started out with a trip to the college to start getting ourselves set up for tomorrow. Then at 10 am we met at ChocolateFX and started our tour. Of course hair nets are obligatory if you are going to go into a food manufacturing facility!

      Wilma and Art had the small pan set up so that we could pan some raisins.

      Here's Pat (psantucc), with beard appropriately netted, applying some chocolate to the raisins.

      Ava (FrogPrincesse's little one) preparing to add more chocolate, Kyle helping and FrogPrincesse awaiting her turn.

      The fancy packing machine.

      Listening with rapt attention to Wilma explaining the making of ganache truffles in the round silicone molds.
    • By offcentre
      Gravetye Manor is a magnificent country house hotel that has been tucked away just south of East Grinstead in Sussex for over 400 years. William Robinson, who bought the property in the late 19th century, created the magnificent gardens, including the walled vegetable garden that used to supply much of the restaurants fruit and vegetables in times gone by when we actually used to have a summer.
      Peter Herbert bought the house in 1958 and created one of the first and still considered amongst the best country house hotels in England. It is still privately owned, now by retired fund manager Jeremy Hosking - a founder of Marathon AM, a $46bn investment fund, who bought the hotel out of administration in 2010. Perhaps its proximity to the Bluebell Railway was a deciding factor. Mr Hosking has what might be described as a healthy love of trains, owning a not insignificant amount of steam locomotives which are loaned out to various heritage railways throughout the UK.
      The house itself is in the middle of the rolling sussex hills, down a mile-long driveway which takes you through some of the 1000 acres of gardens. Inside its just what one would expect and want to find in such an establishment...faultless classical English upper-class style.
      A very friendly welcome from the maitre-d introduced us to our surroundings and swaddled us in the inglenook luxury of one of the 3 drawing rooms, where we took an aperitif. Some canape's were brought along with the drinks - a perfect cylinder of duck pate with little spheres of orange balanced atop; a smoked salmon and cream cheese lasagne and a very rich camembert with some brittle pastry dippers. All very nice.
      Three menu's were presented - a set 4-course table d'hote menu at £40; the a la carte and a 7-course tasting menu priced at £85.
      It was my birthday.
      We had the tasting menu.
      Provenance and and locality are obviously very important to the chef. The 5 or 6 main suppliers are listed on a front page of the menu and all were within a 25 mile radius of the hotel.
      Bread was a choice between sweet onion rolls, sourdough and focaccia, all homemade. I took rather a liking to the sweet onion rolls and took slight advantage of the generosity of the bread waitress who seemed to appear every few minutes offering more.

      I thought the room itself very attractive. Perhaps 10 tables, well-spaced in the main room, and a smaller room with 4 tables adjoins this.
      we ate
      Longhorn Beef, jerusalen artichoke and spring truffle. Upon completing the dish I asked how the beef had been prepared and was told by a rather too enthusiastic waiter that the chef dusts the beef in icing sugar before searing. There was a slight sweetness that I had put down to the wonderful tender beef itself, and I was a little disappointed to be told the chef dusts it in bloody sugar first. Anyway, a pleasing start to the meal, the artichoke and slivers of truffle being very happy bedfellows to the beef.
      Hebridean Langoustine, Carpaccio of Middle White pork brawn and parsnip. This came as a thin rectangle of brawn upon which sat a single langoustine cut in half with a frothed shellfish sauce with parsnip crisps and slivers of parsnip that had been poached in butter. The sauce was extremely rich and strikingly pink, the buttered parsnips having fantastic sweet flavour.
      Spiced Rougie Fois Gras, pain d'epice and prune. A thumb-sized cycliner of fois gras parfait with some bread crisps, prune emulsion and prunes. Nice fois gras and combination of flavours. Simple dish, nicely constructed but did little to show me what they can do in the kitchen.
      Ash Cured Line Caught Haddock, slow poached Gravetye egg and granola. A fantastic dish of very strong flavours. Now, I have never had a slow-cooked egg before so am not sure if the white was in fact just egg white, or had been replaced by something. It had a wonderful texture of fluffy yoghurt. The granola gave a nice crunch and sweetness to the dish, which was required to counter the incredibly strong, salty flavours of the fish, presented again as as a cyliner. Taken together, this was a fabulous plate of food.
      Milk Fed Lamb, tomato, polenta and garlic. A waitress brought a gleaming miniature copper pan of fantastic...I'm going to call it gravy. Another great dish, the lamb came with a small twist of kidney, a rich and sticky garlic clove and a breadcrumbed cheesey-potato thing (is there a name for these?). Rich and satisfying, this was up there with the haddock for pure eating pleasure.
      Artisan cheeses in miniature, frozen grapes and walnuts. Very nicely presented on a slate with a small glass cloche, the four cheeses were tiny slivers. I could definitely have eaten more. The frozen grapes were a nice touch. despite the punctuation on the menu, the walnuts were not frozen!
      White Chocolate and Green Olives, lemon curd. A cracking desert. Another cylinder, this time of white chocolate ice cream, was held off the plate by two pyramid wafers with bits of green olive and drops of lemon curd. Another first for me, the slightly salty olives with the sweet ice cream was a great flavour combination.
      Coffee & Petit Fours. Top quality coffee. A huge box of chocolates was brought to the table with a selection of truffles, white and dark chocolates.
      Overall a very good meal in beautiful surroundings. Service was very good throughout. A bottle of £35 wine (as you can imagine very much at the cheaper end of the list) and the bill was £250 for the two of us.
      I would return. I am not sure I would opt for the tasting menu again though. This was my first tasting menu and I do like the format. My only reservations are that for £85 I am not convinced these dishes offer great value for money. There was not a great deal of luxury ingredients included nor was I wowed by the effort involved in most of these dishes. That said, it was a very enjoyable meal.
      I'm still pondering on this. I feel that I need another tasting menu or two, perhaps at the Ledbury, for comparison. Purely for educational purposes, of course.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.