Charmaine of Heartsoul Desserts and I attended a sweet exhibit almost two weeks ago at St. Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel. This 2011 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival event was a culmination of talent, blood, sweat and tears of two B&P teams: Ian Burch and Darren Purchese of upcoming Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio in South Yarra plus UK’s renowned Jellymongers Sam Bompas and Harry Parr of Bompas & Parr.
‘Twas a night designed to feed the senses; a dim-lit room flashed with bursts of disco lights, loud catchy ‘sweet soundtracks’ such as Christina Aguilera’s ‘Candyman’ and Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies aptly played to the whimsical theme of candies, chocolates, bubbles and whatnot. There were waitresses with gravity-defying hair housing a fake bird each, tutu-wearing ballerinas doubling as chocolate carriers, a statuesque human Marie-Antoinette walking table, wonderful and wobbling jelly structures to behold, an audience enraptured by billows of liquid nitrogen in the air as a maestro of the patiserrie world conjured up frozen treats in mere minutes. A mysteriously veiled stage separated the audience from something promised to be a spectacle of pure delight!
After almost two hours of being fed and watered a continuous flow of champagne, sparkling water, choux swans with sweet fruit jelly and foie gras, vegemite and BLT popcorn, beetroot and pineapple batternberg cakes, cucumber, mango and passionfruit sorbets, celery jellies and gin and tonic marshmallows <foodsze pauses to inhale>, the crowd’s amplified anticipation was quelled when Mr. Cravat a.k.a. Matt Preston counted down the 10 seconds to the great unveiling of the most glorious display to take center stage. In my melodramatic mind, I saw a would-be stampede of sugar-aficionados making a mad dash for the magnificent dessert buffet splayed in front of us but of course no such ferocity took place in reality and everyone queued up in orderly fashion, patiently waiting to feast their eyes and pile em’ plates high with desserts that tasted as delicious as they looked. The spread was indeed decadent at its best: soft as a pillow, tangy lemon gingery macarons complemented with cream and crunchy ’soil’ possibly made with ginger nut biscuits, banana and mousse concoctions, little chocolate coconut shells, pink and berry infused chocolate dominoes, a realistic ‘earth soil’ made entirely of chocolate, more jellies, torched beehive meringues adorned with equally cute chocolate bees and chunks of honeycomb and lots more! When not busy savouring tempting morsels, we were marveling at the bold and colourful Melbourne iconic structures created entirely out of jelly by the quirky jellymongers Bompas & Parr. See photos below.
Needless to say I had a sugar hangover the day after but in any case, this succesful night proved to be a prelude to what we can expect from Burch & Puchese’s Sweet Studio at South Yarra, soon to open its doors to the public. Get ready to be dazzled as they take you on a multisensory sugar-coated journey. Check out their blog Burch & Purchese or follow them on their Facebook page for more updates. Enjoy the photos!
left to right: Celery Jelly,a creamy, sweet and savoury cauliflower dish, beetroot & pineapple batternberg bites
black swan & white swan choux pastry
left to right: chocolate flower sticks/pops and a gin and tonic marshmallow
Chef Darren Purchese working his magic on a refreshing cucumber sorbet with the Kitchen Aid and Liquid Nitrogen.
Mr. Sam Bompas looking incandescently pink and suave serving up wine jellies at the bar
Bird in the Hair lady serving us bubblegum flavoured bubbles, batternberg cakes and the Marie-Antoinette walking table
left to right: Mr. Matt Preston, with Darren Purchese and Ian Burch, with Harry Parr and Sam Bompas
Star-strucked! From left to right: |Charmaine, Chef Darren Purchese & me| Chef Ian Burch & me|with Mr. Matt Preston|
the enthusiastic crowd
Some wonderful items from our goodie-bag: gift certificate, Heilala vanilla syrup and milk chocolate from The Cocoa Alliance