Who would have thought making macarons with Adriano Zumbo would be so fun? Whenever I cook food, the only fun part is the eating bit. I’m the furthest thing from an aspiring pastry chef… or any type of chef for that matter. When given this invite to attend Adriano Zumbo’s Master Class (hosted by Renault), I quickly picked up my phone and contacted my foodie-friend Sarah. There was no way this invite was going to the non-sweet eating boyfie. Yes I hate his self-control too.
Now being a huge advocate for health and fitness, I had to figure out how these macarons and a high tea at Fancy Nance was going to fit my macros…
So the next step was to try figure out how I could find some serious self-control from within and attempt to eat in ‘moderation’. Eating in moderation is always easier said than done, especially when accompanied by a close friend and good people who enjoy the taste of food as much as you do. I find that if I follow the 80/20 rule, I don’t worry so much about times like these where I can let my jaw drop and shovel those sweet tastes in my mouth, like I’m a naïve child again. Eighty percent of the time I eat clean, natural foods and the other twenty percent of the time I indulge in things like Zumbo’s macaroons. Yay for twenty percent moments like this one!
There’s a first for everything.
Saturday morning Sarah and I were picked up by our very own driver. Thanks to Renault, a very sporty two-door Megane picked us up and chauffeured us to The Urban Kitchen in South Melbourne. Our driver Cameron, said he was very impressed with the car and said he felt like a race-car driver. Sticking to the speed limit, we arrived at our first destination. After some introductions and a lovely gift from Renault, we popped on our aprons and were set to work!
Now this is the bit where I am meant to say I got down and dirty; elbow deep in baking goodness. But unfortunately for Sarah, she was left to ‘manage’ our baking sensation, while I did some serious monitoring. Adriano was very supportive through the whole ordeal and encouraged each and everyone of us along the way. He would demonstrate what was required, make it look easy-peasy, then he would direct us back to our cooking stations for us to mimic his instructions. Sarah did such a good job of putting the ingredients together. And I did an exceptional job at following her orders. The only communication break-down was when she told me to add in the lemon juice. So when I realised we had lemon juice left over, we quickly splashed it over our ingredients that were setting in a tray, when no-one was watching.
Making Macarons with Adriano Zumbo
From failure to fulfilment
After watching Adriano effortlessly squirt his perfect pink round macaroon circles on his flat tray, Sarah took a leap of faith and offered that I ‘squirt’ my own circles onto my own tray. First time round ended in tears. A combination of laughter and that feeling of failure. Like any true loser, I held my head up high and pretended my circles were perfect. Sort of like a pet lover looking at their squishy-faced bull dog; you have no choice. Amidst the laughter, Sarah decided to take my humiliation to the next level by showing the macaron king himself my tray of disaster. Disgusted that I had turned his art work into some sort of cheap imitation, he politely asked that I start again. Head down, tail between legs, I scrapped the tray clean and started again. This time Sarah instructed me all the way with ‘yes, no and stop squeezing now Pia that’s too much!’
From rags to riches… and to cut a long story short, Adriano praised my second attempt of macarons and even uttered the words ‘she is the new macaroon king. Long live the king…’ as he walked past my pretty desserts.
A little bit Fancy Nance
Two macarons later, we arrived at Fancy Nance, Adriano’s High Tea Kitchen in South Yarra. No need to worry about trying to save room for dessert; as dessert is your main and your main is your dessert. Sitting with some great company and having Sarah to entertain us, we waited anxiously for that next sugar hit. Just before I hit my come-down, a lovely waitress began to dish up our sweety-goodness.
My top three favourite plates were the barley, raspberry and strawberry eucalyptus gum parfait with vanilla vinaigrette. This looked like olives and fetta. But when you put that first spoon full into your mouth, your taste buds were thrown out the water. Amazing. A very close second was the chai panna cotta, pear cremeux, ginger and honey. This was served in a black cylinder, so when you dug your spoon deeper into the cylinder, you were hit with so many layers of surprises. Last, but definitely not least, the scones. Call me English, but you can’t go past a soft scone with jam and cream. But there was a catch to these scones, you were given your jam and cream and then in separate ramekins were replicas of what you would assume was more jam and cream, but it wasn’t!
You will have to visit Fancy Nance to find out what tasteful concoction Zumbo’s wonderful chefs put together.
Just a nice guy who likes sugar
Thanks to Sarah’s boisterous personality she wooed Mr Zumbo over to our table for a hot seat ‘Q and A’. No seriously. Her invitation to Adriano went, ‘would you like to sit with us for a Q and A?’ Politely Adriano sat in the hot seat where we started off asking the all important question on everyone’s mind that day…
Q: Why do you have Willy Wonka tattooed on your arm?
Smiling, Adriano explained that Willy Wonka made the unthinkable happen. He is inspired by what Mr Wonka did and created with food. He then went on to tell us about his upbringing in a small country town in NSW, his Italian parents who inspired the names Fancy Nance and Little Frankies (situated next door). Adriano shared the fact that he loves lollies and always did as a little kid. He use to sneak a few bags into his pockets at his mum and dad’s shop, when his parents weren’t looking. And he talked about how he loves to create a relationship between foods like never before.
Overall, this macaron king is just a nice guy who likes sugar.
Something that day we were all grateful for.
Thanks for having us!