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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Adriano Zumbo, Balmain

There was a definite spring in my step this morning. After a week of wind and rain, Sydney woke to a surprise burst of morning sunshine. Today was the launch of the latest collection of seasonal desserts by Adriano Zumbo, an event that appeared to give even Mother Nature something to smile about.

A newly revamped website details Zumbo's recent return from a two-month stay in France where he relished working in the kitchen of pastry demi-god Pierre Hermé. The title of the new collection is appropriately titled "40 Days and 40 Nights in Paris".

Many of the desserts have working titles, their final names still in the process of being decided. I do like the fact that one of the cakes (not pictured) is Zumbo's birth date -- and not just because he's a fellow Scorpio! Counterboy Charles thought this was an ideal way for Zumbo to get plenty of birthday presents this year!

Several desserts had already sold out by the time we arrived, but here follows a virtual tour for your viewing pleasure.

! $7.90
Smoked rice orange brulee, violet curd,
pate sable with mandarin & ruby grapefruit segments

........ $8.20
Hazelnut meringue, anzac moisture,
mint chocolate disc, vanilla apple tatin chantilly,
apple tatin compote, isomalt caramel

Z $7.90
Olive oil biscuit, olive oil ganache,
vanilla candied Kalamata olives, lemon & olive oil creme,
vanilla lemon creme legere, jumbo gumbo jelly

Just 2 fingers Tiger! $7.80
Corn, saffron & vanilla custard, vanilla brulee,
chocolate custard, yuzu creme, sable crunch terrain

P $7.75
Mandarin mousse, tonka bean brulee, pain d'epice,
sour cream jelly, almond ginger crunch disc

X $7.90
Pine nut gianduja mousse, dark chocolate creme,
pate feulletage caramelise, sacher sponge

Escape from a Columbia Rainforest $8.00 (gluten-free)
Flourless chocolate sponge, dark chocolate fizzy disc,
cherry cola jelly, cherry cola syrup, chocolate sabayon mousse

This season's macarons $2.00
Rice pudding
Rhubarb crumble
Salted butter caramel
Mandarin & tonka bean
Chestnut and passionfruit
Toffee apple
Salted butter popcorn
Pine nut and gianduja
Tasmanian honey and walnut


F $7.00
Gianduja ganache with caramel in a pate sable shell

H $7.80
Crumble cubes, acidic white chocolate ganache, roast quince,
rhubarb, dried figs, dates and dark chocolate quenelles

Sticky date teacake $16.00

Orange almond cake $15.00

Pain au chocolat $3.50
Crossiant $3.00

Pear and macadamia sticky buns $3.00
brioche fuelletage baked with a nut creme
and pear slices and caramel macadamias

D $17.00
Smoked toasted marshmallows and chocolate cake

S $17.00
Tomato, chocolate, olive oil upside down cake

Adriano Zumbo in France

Celebrating his recent travels in France, the shop window is decorated with a huge collage of photo souvenirs. I particularly love the photo above which is a cheesy "let me pose with my food" shot every food blogger can relate to!

Coonamble Star is Born

And whilst Zumbo has enjoyed plenty of press coverage as the hottest pastry pin-up, it's touching to see that it's his picture in a poster for The Land magazine that gets prime position.

Cake and hot chocolate

There's something deliciously indulgent about saying "I'll have one of everything" please.

Charles is delighted when Billy utters the magic phrase. "That's what I've been telling everyone to do all morning" he says, "but noone listens!"

Which is how six of us find ourselves trundling up the road to the the Adriano Zumbo Cafe Chocolat, a happy box full of treats soon to be unpacked onto plates by the ever-helpful staff.

As soon as we sit down in the courtyard however, the heavens open, as if Mother Nature has now decided to remind us this is in fact, a Winter Collection. We are not so easily dissuaded, and the six of us--Billy from A Table for Two, The Pom, Chocolatesuze, Noods, Bowb from Raging Yoghurt and I--shuffle and huddle under the shelter of eaves.

! $7.90
Smoked rice orange brulee, violet curd,
pate sable with mandarin & ruby grapefruit segments

The smoked rice orange brulee has us divided on its flavours. Without even reading the description, Bowb detects its smokiness. On the one hand, it tastes like someone accidently burnt the rice pudding. On the other, there's something so alluring about the contrast of the smoky rice pudding against the smooth violet curd, the buttery pate sable, the grittiness of rice grains and the fresh citrus of mandarin and ruby grapefruit.

X $7.90
Pine nut gianduja mousse, dark chocolate creme,
pate feulletage caramelise, sacher sponge

The pine nut millefeuille is an easy crowd pleaser. The pastry is crisp and flaky with a rich dark chocolate centre sandwiched between layers of gianduja mousse that has a distinct pine nut flavour.

P $7.75
Mandarin mousse, tonka bean brulee, pain d'epice,
sour cream jelly, almond ginger crunch disc

The P reminds us all of the Sputnik satellite. Its gingerbread flavour is a huge hit with chocolatesuze.

Just 2 fingers Tiger! $7.80
Corn, saffron & vanilla custard, vanilla brulee,
chocolate custard, yuzu creme, sable crunch terrain

Two striped eclairs perch on top of a rice crispy-studded biscuit ledge in the Just 2 Fingers, Tiger! The chocolate striped eclair holds a chocolate custard, but the real winner is the orange racing stripe that marks a decadent custard filling of corn, saffron and vanilla.

........ $8.20
Hazelnut meringue, anzac moisture,
mint chocolate disc, vanilla apple tatin chantilly,
apple tatin compote, isomalt caramel

The ....... continues the vertical disc theme that was last the Wheely Wildly Wendy. I make the fatal mistake of going for a huge chunk of the isomalt caramel. It's not until I chomp down on the luminous red toffee that I realise my jaw is stuck tight. We're not sure if today's humidity affected the caramel, or whether Zumbo was planning on giving you a dessert that lasted you literally for weeks, but the caramel exterior is guaranteed to give you lockjaw or possibly remove any new fillings as you attempt to prise your teeth apart.

The use of isomalt, a sugar substitute more commonly found in diet soft drinks, does intrigue me. Suze likens the use of peppermint to a Christmas candy cane, although the flavour of peppermint does sit at odds with the natural sweetness of apple.

Z $7.90
Olive oil biscuit, olive oil ganache,
vanilla candied Kalamata olives, lemon & olive oil creme,
vanilla lemon creme legere, jumbo gumbo jelly

Zumbo seems determined to surprise with his latest Collection and the Z is the biggest challenge of all. The look on all of our faces at the first taste of this one is priceless. There's an overwhelming sense of sour saltiness, like the salted plums favoured by Chinese grandmas the world over.

We deliberate over each layer and correctly identify the use of olive oil in the ganache, the biscuit and the creme legere. It's the strangest tasting-dessert but I end up quite liking this one, in a weird savoury fetish kind-of-way.

Escape from a Columbia Rainforest $8.00 (gluten-free)
Flourless chocolate sponge, dark chocolate fizzy disc,
cherry cola jelly, cherry cola syrup, chocolate sabayon mousse

The Escape from a Columbia Rainforest is perhaps the playful descendant of Zumbo the Kid. Stylised to resemble a cola can, the attention to detail is impressive, from the aluminium can shape of the cake, to the silver-painted chocolate ring pull and even the little indent where the supposed tab has been pushed in.

Cola can dissection

Bowb is entrusted with the most difficult task of can dissection, and her concerned pleas about "there's something really hard in here I just can't cut" is revealed when we finally get the cross-section "money shot".

A thick pool of cherry cola jelly and cherry cola syrup floods the plate as it's released from its cave made of chocolate. Flourless chocolate sponge and a chocolate sabayon mousse make this a dessert for the chocaholics. We like the sprinkle of cherry red powder that fizzes on the tongue like a cross between Pop Rocks and sherbet.

Dark hot chocolate $6

I chase away the afternoon wind with an intense dark hot chocolate, whilst Suze rugs up with her eggs and toast scarf (I want one!) and a toffee apple macaron.

Suze contemplates what to have next

The degustation

The demolition

The debris

Toffee apple macaron $2

Baklava macaron $2

Macarons $2 each

And because I believe in thorough research, my taste-testing continued after dinner with the new season's collection of macarons. The two most striking flavours are the baklava macaron and the toffee apple macaron.

The baklava macaron is for fans of rosewater syrup only, and whilst I like the idea of sandwiching a macaron with pastry, it struggles presentation-wise in its syrup-sodden cellophane packaging

The toffee apple macaron wins over the kid in all of us (a macaron! on a stick!) although it's covered in the same isomalt toffee that seems engineered to keep dentists busy.

My favourites of the lot:
rice pudding
with its sandwich of gritty rice grains;

chestnut and passionfruit which tastes less like a Taiwanese chestnut sponge cake and more like a European Christmas with a hint of the tropics;

salted butter caramel - salt! butter! caramel! oh so good!

salted butter popcorn reminds me of my favourite popcorn Jelly Belly beans. It really does taste like buttered popcorn. I'm sure there's a chunk of butter in the middle and the macaron itself tastes of corn.

View Larger Map

Adriano Zumbo Patisserie
296 Darling Street, Balmain, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9810 7318

This has been included as an Intrepid Eat on Grab Your Fork's Top 10 Sydney Eats for Tourists. Read the entire list here.

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday 8am-6pm
Sunday 8am-4pm

The winter collection, "40 Days and 40 Nights in Paris",
was launched Saturday 23 May 2009.

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Adriano Zumbo Macaron Day photos (Oct09)
Adriano Zumbo Macaron Day flavour list (Oct09)
Adriano Zumbo Patissier, Balmain ( May09) , (Jan09) and (Nov08)
Adriano Zumbo Cafe Chocolat, Balmain (Nov08)
33 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 5/24/2009 04:36:00 am


  • At 5/24/2009 4:45 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    zomg so many photos! i bow down to the master =P lol i have yet to eat my box of macarons im saving those for lunch 2moro heh

  • At 5/24/2009 9:42 am, Anonymous billy@atablefortwo said…

    4.45am post and comment?! Legend! Thank you for a great day out with some sweet lurving gateaux... the olive one... not so much. :)

  • At 5/24/2009 10:35 am, Anonymous Howard said…

    Alot of photos indeed, nice effort to catch most the collection even though they were sold out by the time you got there!

  • At 5/24/2009 10:48 am, Blogger Sarah said…

    Lovely photos! Loved your descriptions too... I think the crowd-pleasing X looks right up my alley.

    Just a quick question.... what on earth is "Anzac moisture"?

    xox Sarah

  • At 5/24/2009 1:55 pm, Blogger Nola said…

    this is why I want to move to Sydney.

  • At 5/24/2009 5:00 pm, Anonymous Livia said…

    Great review! It all looks so tasty and the 'coke can' one is ingenious!

  • At 5/24/2009 9:01 pm, Anonymous Yas said…

    Hmmmmm jealous!
    so many new things, I'm intrigued to say "one of each" too!!

  • At 5/24/2009 10:57 pm, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    good to hear he's updated he's website with pictures. very helpful.

  • At 5/25/2009 10:02 am, Blogger OohLookBel said…

    I'm glad you recommend the baklava macaron. They didn't have any when I visited, and I love rosewater, so it will be next on the list. The salted butter popcorn macaron is goooood!

  • At 5/25/2009 10:04 am, Blogger Anna (Morsels and Musings) said…

    i didn't see suze! was she hiding somewhere?

    i bought the same cakes as you and we all had very different reactions. i promise i'll blog them soon.

  • At 5/25/2009 1:40 pm, Anonymous Veruca Salt said…

    Lovely collection. I am loving the two things on a stick.

    The P reminds me of a Dalek for some reason....exterminate!

    I assume Zumbo is a tigers fan?

  • At 5/25/2009 4:08 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oommg I really really want the Columbia one! (which I only just realized why its called that haha)

    Now I am very curious about what time you guys went cos there were only 5 types left when I went... :( must go back, but so busy busy wahhh

  • At 5/25/2009 4:51 pm, Anonymous Arwen from Hoglet K said…

    The olive one sounds like it even outweirded you! I wonder if the salted plum grandmas would enjoy it. Some of the others do look good though, and I love the photo of the pool of sauce in the centre of the coke cake.

  • At 5/25/2009 6:01 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You done well with all those photo's, i actually saw your bunch when i was leaving, you did well taking so many photo's when it was lightly sprinkling


  • At 5/25/2009 9:20 pm, Anonymous divemummy said…

    OMG! That is serious cake porn (although cake is a vast understatement of AZ's works of art).

    Such lovely detailed descriptions - I reckon you should volunteer some names for AZ's collection - I'm sure you could work out some kind of contra deal ; )

  • At 5/26/2009 8:29 am, Blogger Piee and JSBanana said…

    oh my gosh....My family and I are going to Sydney this summer and this is one of the places I am definitely visiting!! My keyboard might have to be saved from my pile of drool soon.


  • At 5/27/2009 2:21 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi chocolatesuze - lol. So many macarons! I bow to the master =P

    Hi Billy - Haha. Must've been the sugar high. Plus the addiction of Restaurant City! And yep, an afternoon of much fun!

    Hi Howard - We got 7 of them and apparently the kitchen is still learning how to make them all. There were a lot of photos, but the cakes were all so beautiful I couldn't resist!

    Hi Sarah - Ha, I have no idea what Anzac moisture is either, although I'm guessing it has something to do with oats, butter, golden syrup and a touch of coconut?

    Hi Maggie - Come on down!

    Hi Livia - I agree. I think the cola can will be a huge hit. I love the attention to detail, and yes, as I expected, we were missing a straw. You're suppose to suck out the jelly and syrup which would be crazy cool!

    Hi Yas - lol. I can imagine you could quite easily eat one of each too! :P

    Hi Simon Food Favourites - There are still some missing, I think, but agreed, nothing like a visual menu to whet the appetite!

    Hi Belle - Oh I adore the salted butter macaron. I think I'm glad I don't live around the corner or I would be eating one every day for the entire season!

    Hi Anna - She hadn't yet arrived - she was running late so don't worry, you aren't that short-sighted! Look forward to your post. Love how everyone has a different take on the desserts.

    Hi Veruca Salt - Ahh doesn't everything taste better on a stick :) I see the Dalek similarity and well done, you're right, it is a reference to the Tiges :)

    Hi FFichiban - We were there about 1.30pm so maybe we just missed you? The coke one is lots of fun!

    Hi Arwen - Haha, I actually did come to enjoy the olive one. It was weird but strangely addictive. I think everybody has a soft spot for the cola can!

    Hi Sydneyguyrojoe - Were you there on the Saturday afternoon too? I think the cafe was over-run with foodbloggers all weekend! And hey, you should've said hello :)

    Hi divemummy - Works of art indeed. Tasty, tasty works of art :) I know he is collecting suggestions for names, but I do love his past ones which tend to have such fun and whimsy.

    Hi Piee and JSBanana - lol. Hope you all enjoy Sydney and yes, there are definitely plenty of delicious treats here. I would definitely schedule a trip to Zumbo as part of your itinerary :)

  • At 5/27/2009 1:53 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Helen

    LOve your blog, as always!

    However, can I make a suggestion that you don't put Chocolate Suze's photo in your blog...Reason is I love it for looking so formal, with lovely pictures of food and write-up, and yet informal with your cooky and funny comments and adventures with your friends. But too frequent posting of your pal's photo is making it look like it's hers and not yours. I know you want to stay incognito, and it's fair to do so and why you can't post your own. But, your pics without your face is actually clever enough and good for this purpose. I hope you don't mind that I'm suggesting this.

  • At 5/27/2009 6:25 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi, another huge fan here.

    Interesting suggestion from Anon, I had been thinking the same.. Suze sure is pretty! but it's been noticeable the way she is suddenly appearing in your pics with increasing frequency. Hmmm, also noting your sudden use of LOLs which I had never noticed you do in the past.... hey, maybe Helen has been kidnapped and suze has taken over the blog!!!!!

    BTW I am in envious agony after reading the Zumbo post. Keep up the great work!

    Ali B

  • At 5/27/2009 6:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ps How fun, I just googled the phrase "anzac moisture" and right now there are only 6 matches - all food blogs talking about zumbo's new range! Ali B

  • At 5/27/2009 11:02 pm, Anonymous Simon said…

    Nice work with the D-literation and the breakdown of the macaroon packet :)

    The use of corn in a sweet dessert i.e. Just 2 Fingers, Tiger was something that I'd never expect and yet seems to make sense. Gotta see if I can work corn into one of my desserts :P

  • At 5/28/2009 12:27 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    HAHAHAHAHHAHA i KNEW people would get sick of seeing me!!!

  • At 5/28/2009 2:24 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anon - I hadn't realised that the inclusion of pics of Suze was such an intrusion! I'm flattered by your comments that pics of people aren't needed, so thank you for your comment - I will keep it in mind! :)

    Hi Ali B - Oh I hadn't realised the controversy. This site has become more personal over the years, and in some ways its a reflection both of my increased comfort with readers, plus my friendships with fellow foodbloggers.

    Sudden use of lol's? Do you mean in the posts themselves or the comment replies? I tend to keep them out of posts, or so I'd thought! I haven't been kidnapped, but I am intrigued about people not wanting people photos! Food for thought!

    And ha, I wonder if Zumbo has patented the use of the phrase "Anzac moisture" :)

    Hi Simon - I know that sweet corn is quite popular in Asian desserts - with sweet rice or sweet bean soups. I also have quite a thing for sweet corn ice cream - have you tried it? It's really very good!

    Hi Chocolatesuze - lol. Where is the love? Don't worry, I won't get sick of seeing your crazy poses!

  • At 6/04/2009 3:01 pm, Anonymous harcoutbreton@yahoo.com said…

    omg... these pastry are so colorful... they are so inviting... thanks for sharing...

  • At 6/04/2009 6:32 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What is that dish where you inject the jam into the small cake? sorry i cant describe it any better?


  • At 6/07/2009 5:08 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi harcourtbreton - Glad you enjoyed the post. I can tell you're a sweet tooth :)

    Hi sydneyguyrojoe - Do you mean "The Younger Years"? I don't think it's on the cafe menu anymore :(

  • At 6/07/2009 9:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i beleive it was called younger years,your right!! but t is stil there because i got it the day you were there!!


  • At 6/08/2009 11:42 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi sydneyguyrojoe - lol. You definitely have to say hi to us the next time you see us! Don't be shy!

  • At 6/09/2009 7:01 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ok i wont be shy but i dont know what you look like haha while chocolatesuze has her face all over her website......


  • At 6/09/2009 11:22 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi sydneyguyrojoe - lol. Just say hello to Suze and if I'm anywhere near, she will take great delight in finding me. Trust me. She always does :)

  • At 3/05/2010 8:55 pm, Anonymous PastryPrincess said…

    oh good lord, i went there on monday and spent a fortune!!! im almost thankful i as late and most things were gone coz i would have never been able to decide and would probably be bancrupt right now! it was so much fun examining all the crazy, innovative creations and they looked and tasted great. loved the macarons too - that macarons day would have been heaven for me! gonna post about it soon too. ;)

  • At 3/15/2010 2:25 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi PastryPrincess - Oh decisions in a pastry shop are always my downfall. Sometimes it does make it easier when there's less choice on offer! Glad you enjoyed it and the macarons at Adriano Zumbo are usually my personal highlight :)

  • At 10/11/2010 8:55 pm, Anonymous Cath @ Moo-Lolly-Bar said…

    What a wonderful array of pictures. They all look great and have made me really hungry now!


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