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Venetian night sweets


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I feel a little confused on this dining event we are doing at work this week. Venetian night in my city (suburbs of Chicago) usually means people acting crazy and decorating their boats with lights and parading them past the on lookers from shore. But Venentian night at work seems to mean an Italian buffet, pool side where they are getting someone to float a gondola in the pool.

Being a untraveled person nothing in particular comes to mind with the word Venetian other then gondolas..........it doesn't even shout Italian to me, sorry (I've just never seen a place call an Italian night a Venetian night). Anyway I need to come up with something visual with my sweets and I'm feeling blank.

I was wondering if any of you cake artists have done anything creative in this theme? I'm looking for a few good ideas. It could be making a centerpiece, or a edible centerpiece, or chocolate gondolas floating in something. I feel fairly confident with my Italian recipes..............it's the visual aspect I can't seem to develop. Any thoughts, anything you've seen done thats cool on this theme?

Thanks in advance

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Hi Wendy,

I am not a professional, but I have been to Venice a number of times. I know that masks are for Carnivale and Mardis Gras, but masks and Murano glass are definitely Venetian.

I would make a display of several Venetian Masks. Here is a site to give you a few ideas - masks

Also, a popular Murano glass shape is wrapped candy (e.g. peppermints). Glass Candy . Maybe you could make a cake or small cakes to look like Murano glass candies using a similiar technique to the beautiful pink and yellow handbag cake you made.

Edited because I haven't had my morning coffee yet! :blink:

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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I'm with you -- nothing really springs to mind except making a big gondola.

Depending on how much space you've got to work with, it might be fun to dress the sweet table. Decorate the table with canals and gondolas (chocolate? fondant? pulled sugar?). Throw in a bridge or two. Then place the desserts where the buildings ought to be.

B. Keith Ryder

BCakes by BKeith

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Wendy, the insignia of Venice is the Winged Lion of St. Mark. Click here for image. You see these lions throughout the city.

The Bridge of Signs is another classical Venetian image. Look at this

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Hi Wendy. Its been many years since I was in Venice but some things don't change. The things that I remember there were; gondolas, the plaza San Marco, the cathedral of St Marks (I think), a tall column (in the plaza) with a winged Lion on top, and of course the masks. These are some of the most photographed things in Venice. The bridge of

Sighs is another item but might be hard to include. Look for postcard views and work from there.

Why not do a scene of some of these items done in thin (1/4 inch thick) chocolate as a series of silhouettes with the pastry's displayed in front. Look at pictures of Venice, say the Cathedral and the column and add a cutout of a gondola and then draw up the outline and use that as the basis for patterns.

The outline is what is important and you could even texture the sheets of chocolate or use transfer sheets if you have them. This is the technique I have used for some things I have done. It is the technique that Jacques Torres uses in some of his creations and that is where I got my ideas. There is one of his pictured in his book "Dessert Circus" on page 123. Its not exactly the same thing but it will give your the idea that I am suggesting. Also talk with Neil he is definitely the graphics man and he might have suggestions. Hope this helps

Fred Rowe

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Thanks everyone. I have an added complication-this buffet is going to be outside in the heat unless it's raining.

I still feel stuck/unmotivated..........my time and efforts will be to limited- and the guest count right now is way down, party is this Sat.. Sooooo jeeze to tell you the truth I wish this one would get canceled.

I did wonder why the Venetian hotel had a lion with wings as it's logo.....thanks for the link, that explains everything.

Keith, (mr. cake artist) I was looking thru Margret Brauns book last night.......and it seems like she has alot of Venetian style, no? Do the 3d scrolls she uses lend themsleves to this? I'm sort of thinking a cake in the Braun style (some grape clusters and grape leafs with scrolls) as a main item with a mask on it........then taking the scrolls or a diamond patterns (chocolate brushed with gold dust) into my other cakes (tiramisu) and throwing a gondola on top of a couple cakes. Have I strayed too far?

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To me the stereotype of Venice is a Renaissance carnivale: decadent and show-offy in that way of towering piles of sugary, glossy food. Traditional sweets include sugared fruits (in giant, decadent piles); fregolata (a cornmeal shortbread); rich pastries filled with fruits and nuts; shaped breads in fantasies of flowers, vines, animals.

"went together easy, but I did not like the taste of the bacon and orange tang together"

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Oh RedFox you brought up something I forgot. I do need to make some breads. I was going to make my best Italian breads but thats like bread sticks and focashia..........but shaped ones would be more in style?????? really, hum.............that could be interesting.

The sugared fruits.............I saw a photo of sugared peaches in a book I have "Sweet Sicily". I thought those peachs were what Jeniac posted photos of on her thread. Basicly she says their a sponge cake wrapped in marzipan and painted to look realistic. I can't figure out if that's an Italian pastry or not. Can you tell me if the item in my photo would be this marzipan covered cake or a real peach coated in sugar?

Thanks

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Keith, (mr. cake artist) I was looking thru Margret Brauns book last night.......and it seems like she has alot of Venetian style, no? Do the 3d scrolls she uses lend themsleves to this? I'm sort of thinking a cake in the Braun style (some grape clusters and grape leafs with scrolls) as a main item with a mask on it........then taking the scrolls or a diamond patterns (chocolate brushed with gold dust) into my other cakes (tiramisu) and throwing a gondola on top of a couple cakes. Have I strayed too far?

Sounds like it would work. I tend to think of her style more in terms of period than location. i.e. Baroque (but that's not right either -- too much color) instead of Venetian. But anything really ornate with scrolls and grape clusters I think will have enough of an "otherness" to it that you should be able to get away with it.

I love the idea of bringing elements of the design into all the other desserts too. Very classy.

B. Keith Ryder

BCakes by BKeith

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I made:

4 Tiramisu tortas

2 Frangipane fruit tarts

2 Italian cream cake, with fresh strawberries

2 Zuccota

2 Ricotta cheese cakes

biscotti

amaretti

100* tall fancy bread sticks

10 focacia

4 parm. cheese breads

All very wide apealing items.......since my people aren't Italian and wouldn't know other less well known items.

I made some masks out of gum paste and painted them (simply,I ran out of time and did them at home late late at night) and placed them on a couple cakes. Then I did a 3 tiered centerpiece cake with masks on it. I had two hours to put the whole cake together and decorate it.....and when I did it-I still didn't have a visual in my head so I sort of just did it with-out any thought. I would have loved to do a more detailed cake, but I just didn't have the time now that I work for this club full time I have alot more responsiblities/work (they are a very busy club)!

i8541.jpg

Don't laugh please. I shouldn't show this to you all but it's reality.........time limits and mentally not having it together. I didn't have time to photograph other cakes, the people were gathering in the room and I needed to disapear. But I had two other masks I put on cakes above.

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Wendy, it's stunning. Did the cake get eaten, or were people afraid to cut into it?

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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The cake was just for show/height/centerpiece not meant to be eaten.

I've literally tried tons of recipes for the tiramisu in a torte. My all time favorite recipe I got from Brian (bripastryguy), but I believe he gave it to me in a private message..............hopefully you understand...I'll ask and report back.

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