Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bordeaux Bakery: Scrumptious Temptations

I've been so busy lately time seems to be flying by - the whole year seems like a bit of a blur, really (how is it September???) but the last couple of months in particular. I love being busy but there's a balance somewhere that I haven't quite hit. Anyway, this event was a few weeks ago, as part of Wellington on a Plate - so apologies for my tardy informing.

Scrumptious Temptations was hosted by Feast and Vine, and all I needed to hear were the words "watch their acclaimed p√Ętissier demonstrate a scrumptious chocolate temptation" and I was scrambling to book my spot (that we'd get to take a chocolate treat home with us helped too!).

Bordeaux Bakery was set up with a demonstration table when we arrived, and we were welcomed warmly by Donna of Feast and Vine. Once everyone was assembled (there were perhaps 15 of us) Jean-Louis let us into his inner sanctum - the kitchen!

Jean-Louis is an extraordinary man who is clearly passionate about what he does, and he starts baking at 1am (before some people I know go to bed!) each morning to ensure his product is fresh each day for all his bakeries. Most of his equipment is imported from France, and as you can see he has some fairly impressive machines - you could sit in that mixer bowl if you wanted to! I was amused by the baguette shaping machine - it had never occurred to me such a thing would exist, but I daresay shaping them by hand gets tiresome when you make hundreds at a time.

There were dozens of racks of croissants proving, taunting us with their buttery goodness (he showed us a box of the butter he uses - a box weighs 25kg. The glory!). I was a little gobsmacked that some of the ladies attending didn't know how to keep their hands to themselves, and prodded at the pastry - a bit disappointing but I guess there are greater crimes.

Once we'd seen the kitchen we moved back into the cafe area, where Nicola Belsham (owner of the Wineseeker shop) talked to us about wine and food matching while we sipped on Bordeaux Bakery's sauterne and munched on a (well-matched!) mini fruit tart. I really enjoyed Nicola's explanations, and in particular liked her attitude that everyone has different tastes, and that really it's what we enjoy that we should drink. That said, there are general guidelines - you should try to pick wines that balance and complement flavours in a given dish. The sauterne is very sweet, which offset the tartness of the blueberries - perfect!
You can get both from Bordeaux Bakery on Thorndon Quay if you want to try for yourself. ;-)

The final element of the evening was for Jean-Louis to show us how he makes his duchess cake, which is his most popular cake. He starts by making meringue, which is cooked very slowly into discs, then a rich chocolate mousse is piped into the centre, they're chilled, then finally more mousse is spread over each cake and they're coated in chocolate flakes. Enough chocolate? Just right, I reckon. ;-)

It was a lovely evening and very interesting to get the behind-the-scenes view - it was a bit shorter than advertised, but it didn't feel rushed - Jean-Louis does speak quite quickly though! Feast and Vine do similar things from time to time and have a Christmas high tea event coming up in November, which sounds like a fun afternoon out.

Sadly, the duchess cake didn't last long after I got home - that's a common problem with chocolate things in the Cake household - they don't stick around. For that reason I've decided to abstain from chocolate for the rest of the month. Every once in a while I realise it's becoming more a dependency than a treat, and a period of chocolate famine resets my cravings to a more managable level. ;-) So if I seem a little grouchier than usual in the next wee while, you'll know why! Do you ever withhold specific treats from yourself to blitz cravings or am I the only one with this problem?

Mrs Cake attended Scrumptious Temptations as a guest of Feast and Vine. Bordeaux Bakery is located at 220 Thorndon Quay, Wellington, ph 04 499 8334. For info on similar events check out Feast and Vine's website.


  1. Looks like a good little event! How big is the duchess cake? A 1-person size? Might have to pop down to Thorndon Quay!

    I have a very sad habit of eating too many fairy marshmallows (yes, the lollies for children). Definitely have to have periods without them!!!

  2. Ooooh, the ignorance of some people amazes me. The fact that someone is letting people into their workplace doesn't mean people can do whatever they want. Grrrrrr

    I don't really have a sweet tooth. I can take chocolate or leave it. Cheese...on the other hand...well, I guess that's my chocolate ;-)

  3. Jemma, the duchess cake comes in individual and "family" sized portions - I do love it, very rich and chocolatey delicious. Could be the start of a new addiction...

    Kaz, I know, I couldn't believe the pokey ladies! Cheese is pretty good too... Too many good things in life!

  4. Pokey ladies are the bane of flower shows and open garden days, too. They think it their right to grab stuff and inspect or sniff it. And there are even those who pinch themselves a cutting, because they can. Grrrrrrr.

    If it doesn't belong to you, keep your hands in your pockets. Or I will smack you, and that's a promise.

    (Sorry to be so grumpy, Mrs Cake - you're on the side of the angels! But I was just involved in a flower show at the weekend, and.....)

  5. That sounds like my kind of evening, wish i could have one of those Duchess cakes right now

  6. There is something quite special about a proper patissere. I like nothing better than to cruise the counter in Bordeaux just to see the work of culinary arts.

  7. So wish I had made it down to time... :)

  8. Daleaway, glad I'm not the only ones appalled at the pokey ones. I can't believe people would take cuttings, that's dreadful!

    Peasepudding, they are so good. I'm sure with your skill for recreation you could invent a close imitation without too much difficulty. :-)

    Domestic Executive, the pastries and cakes are wonderful, aren't they? I yoyo between wishing I went there more often and being thankful I don't have the chance. ;-)

    Mairi, you should definitely make the expedition next year! :-)


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