The sight and smell of desserts alone makes my mouth water and my mind flutter away with the excitement of a 6-year old. There really is something about the bright, contrasting colors of sweets, along with the velvety, silky texture of cakes, pies, and pastries. I guess it isn’t a coincidence that the word “DESSERTS” is “STRESSED” spelled backwards!
Last October 1, my friend Denise asked me to cover an event for Nuffnang in Enderun called “L’art de la Patiserrie” (The Art of Pastry). And being someone who has an affinity to baking, I immediately confirmed my attendance! It came with lunch at Restaurant 101 (!!!) and a dessert buffet (!!!!!!!!!!) afterwards. So yes, the eager-beaver-slash-glutton face was SOOOO on.
Denise brings a lot of sweetness to my life. We share an 8-year old friendship that continues to blossom until now. We have our little quirks and inside “bogli” jokes that stretch from being VJ-for-a-day, epic stories about tapa and ice candy (and our voracious appetite!!!), our band Pink Fling, boys, struggles, God, faith, and life. So, I’m definitely glad that I got to spend this sweet day with her.
A pastry chef is an artist who combines vivid colors and textures, an architect who balances a swirl of crystallized sugar atop a shiny mirror or mango gelée, a scientist who grasps the chemical properties that turn flour, butter, and yeast into a flaky croissant, a long distance athlete who can withstand hours of meticulous, delicate work, and perhaps even a psychologist who understand just why we need to have buttery, chocolatey, sugary treats in our lives.
And as an added bonus, chefs are always fluffy!!!
The event kicked off with French Pastry Chef, Franck Geuffroy, demonstrating the art of putting together delicate, crystallized pieces of candy and turning them into a masterpiece! As a child, I used to watch cooking and dessert-making shows with my Grandma, but seeing fresh candy being pulled right before my very eyes was just magical!
What a pretty sugar leaf!
Finished product. Guaranteed to give you a surefire sugar high.
The whole room smelled of syrupy sugar, and our eyes were glazed with so much fascination. It really is true that pastry chefs are like architects, being able to balance those vibrant colors with a variety of textures. This contrasting mélange they create is simply pure art.
He also brought us some treats from France, and some he made using our local ingredients!
Salted Butter Caramel. Spell Y-U-M.
Passion Fruit and Mango Caramel. For those who like ’em tangy.
Pâtes de Fruits: Raspberry and Geranium & Pineapple and Peppercorn. Not as sweet as I wanted expected.
Chef Geuffroy also told us that the French aren’t used to having “sweet” desserts as we Filipinos do. No wonder the desserts he made us taste were true to their raw fruity flavor and were extremely mild in terms of sweetness. It was something unfamiliar to my palette; definitely interesting, but I prefer the Manila sweetness level more.
The second half of the program was spent with Chef Geuffroy putting together some of the most delectable cakes and pastries I have ever seen! It was so hard to fight the urge to just run up the stage and stuff them all in my mouth! I wanted to bury my face in the chocolate cakes just to breathe in all the cocoa goodness, and Denise wanted to brush her teeth with pastry cream. I couldn’t blame her since I would do the same. Hehe.
But! It was well and fine because I knew that this delayed gratification would be worth it. Whatever sinful pastry Chef Geuffroy prepared would make its way into my mouth during the dessert buffet! BIG YAY + SQUEEEE. But before that, we had a lip-smacking luncheon at Restaurant 101.
Restaurant 101: Where everything, including the bread, is too delicious for words.
Yummy yummy Asparagus Soup!
Melt-in-your-mouth Roasted Chicken with Potato
And the glutton in me came out after these pastries were placed right under my nose. BUFFET-STYLE. How can you not go wild???
St. Honoré. Puff pastry topped with a ring of small, caramel-drenched cream puffs; the center of the cake is filled with clouds of whipped cream.
Gâteau Basque. Almond-flavored tart filled with pastry cream and cherries. SUPER LOVED THIS.
Enderun Entremet. Buttery shortbread, sour calamansi, intense chocolate biscuit, gingered milk chocolate, and crunchy peanut praline. YUMMEH. This was the cake I wanted to bury my face into. I kid you not.
(Literally) Intense Raspberry Brownie. A rich concoction of Valrhona chocolate brownie and raspberry marmalade.
Citrus Entremet. A confection of coconut mousse, citrus crème, white chocolate brownie, and grapefruit.
Paris-Brest. A ring of golden brown patê à choux pastry that sandwiches praline cream and sliced almonds.
Tropézienne. A rich orange blossom water scented brioche that oozes buttercream.
Fruit Salad! A tropical medley of local fruits in a citrus syrupy nage.
And bajeezus. I felt like I gained a gajillion pounds heavier. Everything was so delicious and I wanted to sneak out some of those pastries when the event was over. They were so heavenly that I couldn’t stop raving about them to my Mum when I got home! Probably also because of the sugar rush I got. Hee.
And Speaking of sugar, here’s some food for thought from Sarah Kay, taken from her wonderful, wonderful poem If I Should Have A Daughter.
…this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily, but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.
Though life may present us with a spectrum of flavors, one more prominent than the others during a specific moment, we must remember that there is always room for dessert. Despite all the salty, bitter, sour moments we taste, having something sweet replenishes and leaves a lasting smile on our faces. So go on, spoil yourself a little. Get that bite of sweetness which makes your nose crinkle with precious joy. You deserve every morsel of it.