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Zumbophiles – Adriano Zumbo’s Winter Collection 2009

Zumbo. Zumbo. Zumbo.

It’s a name that I kept hearing within food blogging circles. So much so that it makes me wonder what all the fuss is about. For those that have experienced Zumbo, there was nothing but fanboy/fangirl-like fanaticism. For those that had not, it was high on their list of things to experience. For me, I never got the whole Zumbophilia that had swept Twitter and the Sydney food blogs. Well, that is until recently.

“What the hell is this Zumbo that he keeps referring to”?

Surely, you jest…

Adriano Zumbo, the man behind the mania, master artisan of the self named Adriano Zumbo Patisserie . Before we get into the works of art that are Zumbo, let’s have a little look at the man himself.

Adriano presents himself as a bit of a quiet fellow, a little shy and perhaps still getting use to his niche celebrity status. The attention he attracts with his works of art draw hordes of food blogging fans and gushing women alike (he’s somewhat popular with the ladies). However, once he opens up and gives you a little insight into the man and the ideas behind his creations, you start to see the genius behind it all.

However, I only ever caught a glimpse. When he lets you in on the inspiration behind one of his creations or a future idea, he’s like a kid, snickering as he lets you in on the secret details of a hilariously ingenious prank. However, even when he does so, there’s a nagging feeling that there’s more to the prank than he’s letting on, as if he’s only telling you part of the joke while he alone is privy to the true depth of genius behind it all.

His ideas are as playful as they are clever, going places that I would have never contemplated or thought possible. Yet somehow he’s able to not only pull it off, but does so with style and an air of fun. The kind of fun that takes you back to your preteen years when life was all about playing, eating lollies and going on adventures, free from the burdens of society and responsibility.

Before we move onto his winter collection of cakes, an apology in advance for the poorly executed flash photography to come.

Thanks to Reem, a number of food bloggers gather at Cafe Chocolat to sample the recently unveiled winter collection entitled “40 Days and Nights in Paris“. Numerous platters such as the photo above and below are laid out within the cafe for the gathered food bloggers to fawn over, photo and later sample and/or take home.

As there is much variety and artistic appeal in the appearance of the various cakes, so too is there an equivalent variety and appeal in the flavours and textures of these desserts. However, there are still tweaks to be made with the final presentation and flavours of his latest collection. There are also names to be sorted out as well.

The cake are (clockwise from the top) 6/11/81 (after Zumbo’s birth date), Ed Rock the Cradle, x, z (ingenious combination of olive, olive oil and citrus flavours), …….., m a.k.a. Upside Down Cloud, v and Escape from a Colombian Rain Forest (centre).

See what I mean? :)

V (millefeuille) – Macadamia praline mousse, macadamia dacquoise. vanilla chantilly, pear tartin pallette, macadamia feulletine.

Carrot & seaweed tea cake with walnut and sesame seeds.

If you’re wondering, yes that is a sheet of nori wrapped around the cake and yes, it is meant to resemble a maki sushi roll. The combination of carrot and seaweed was inspired by a Japanese salad that Zumbo once had. It’s an ambitious combination of flavours, especially in dessert form.

Though I liked the taste of what was essentially a dressed up carrot and walnut cake as it is, there is more that could be done with this. The seaweed within the caked lends a subtle flavour to the overall cake, which was nice. However, I felt that the nori sheet wrapped around the cake could have done with a little work. As it was, it make it hard to cut the cake and was difficult to portion pieces of the nori sheet as you’re eating the cake.

I’d raised the suggestion of toasting the nori, making it more brittle to get around this problem, as well as add a crispy texture and slight smokey aroma. Regardless of whether he takes up my suggestion, I’ll be curious to see how this cake evolves. I’ll be certainly be keeping an eye out for this one over the coming weeks! :)

D – Smoked toasted marshmallow & chocolate cake. A cake that was inspired by the flavours of toasted marshmallows over a camp fire.

It’s a moist cake that has an unmistakable pleasant smokiness to it. A chocolate marshmallow log tied in a knot sits upon greyish-blue sugar confection that resemble coals. Embedded within the top of the cake are more marshmallows, lending a gooey contrast in texture to the rest of the cake.

S – Tea & passionfruit soaked pears and savarin, lavender saffron mascapone creme, crumble, raspberry jelly, coconut rehydration pipette. Not to be confused with S – Tomato, chocolate, olive oil upside down cake.

S looks to be an interpretation of a trifle. The coconut rehydration pipette is not only an interesting novelty but likely a way to get the sponged soaked just right so that it’s not too soggy at the point of consumption. Attention to detail. Nice.

The price includes the glass, which you get to keep. Bonus!

A shot of my take home selection (individual shots and descriptions below).

W – Chocolate pop rocks & popcorn disc, vanilla almond chantilly, dulce de leche, flourless chocolate sponge, almond feulletine.

This one is spectacular! Everything is great about it; from its visual appeal, to its flavours as well as its textures (especially with the pop rocks). The incorporation of pop rocks introduces a surprising popping sensation to the unwary, which can be a bit much for some.

Ed Rock the Cradle – milk coffee cheesecake with chocolate cheesecake base, coffee scented caramel creme, Italian meringue.

I hear that this is the latest Ed-ition to the Ed series which includes Ed Knocked Me Up and Ed, It’s Twins but… With Ed Rock the Cradle, though visually it appears to look like a baby in swaddling clothes and a milk bottle on top of what I imagine to be the cradle, the flavours are inspired by the humble Chokito chocolate bar.

A slice of the carrot and seaweed teacake. Goes well with whipped cream and a cup of green tea.

6/11/81 – Milk passion caramel mousse, lime creme, passionfruit marshmallow, coconut crunch & brownie.

As stated above, this one was named after Zumbo’s birth date. The variations in flavour, texture are quite interesting as each layer brings with it a distinct flavour, texture or both. Though there are distinctive layers, they harmonise well with each other.

X – Pine nut guanduja mousse, dark chocolate creme, pate feulletage caramelise, sacher sponge.

This millefeuille was a popular one with the crowd, with flavours that are not too challenging to the palate. The flavour and aroma of the pine nuts are reasonably subtle but are also not lost in amongst the other flavours.

A big thanks to Adriano Zumbo, Rachel and the staff at Cafe Chocolat. Thanks also to Reem for organising this event and a shout out to the attending food bloggers Karen (Citrus & Candy), Trina (Foraging Otaku), Anita (Leave Room For Dessert), Belle (Ooh, Look…), Lili (pikelet & pie), Stephanie (raspberri cupcakes), Susan (Something to nibble on). A special thanks to Chris (the way it crumbles) for saving me having to hunt down all the names and associated blogs! :)

Rather than my usual Google map, I’ve just borrowed the image from the Contacts page on the Adriano Zumbo website as it looks far more interesting. Click on the Contacts page link for specific details like address, phone number and trading hours.

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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Helen (AugustusGloop) May 26, 2009, 3:17 pm

    Sounds like you all had a blast, and ha, you couldn’t resist making another South Park avatar could you!

  • Iron Chef Shellie May 26, 2009, 11:03 pm

    oh my, everything looks so delicious! Carrot and Seaweed sounds a little weird but I’m sure it’s amazing! Wish I could come to Sydney for a culinary tour!

  • Ellie May 27, 2009, 12:00 am

    I share the same sentiments. What’s all these hypes about Adriano Zumbo? I am one of the few who hasn’t been to Zumbo lol! Although I am very very tempted to get down there after reading your post, I am on a diet in preparing to my trip back to Malaysia next month to eat my ♥ out.

  • Simon Food Favourites May 27, 2009, 2:28 am

    The ‘W’ does look and sound good. might have to try if i’m in the area.

  • billy@atablefortwo May 27, 2009, 10:01 am

    so you were wondering what the fuss is about zumbo. So is it worth it? The conclusion?? Are you a fanboy now? :P

  • howard May 27, 2009, 11:13 am

    I think he is a fanboi! the choc pop crackle one looks superb.

  • FFichiban May 27, 2009, 12:21 pm

    Yeah you can tell he is one now from the SP avatar :P I really really… really really want the Columbia one

  • Belle@Ooh, Look May 27, 2009, 12:59 pm

    Believe the hype, Zumbo is god. I’ve now had 3 of the ‘S’ in the glass since Sunday. Not enough, want MORE! Nice to see you there, too, Simon.

  • Forager May 29, 2009, 1:13 am

    You weren’t alone. I lost my Zumbo virginity too! ;)

    Nice to finally meet you in person and THANKYOU for letting me have the Cola dessert. Very kind of you!

  • Anita May 31, 2009, 12:01 pm

    Great Photos!! I loved the experience, there was something for everyone – yum! Great to meet you! :)

  • Yas May 31, 2009, 6:29 pm

    Wohooo
    I’m supposedly finishing up one of my disastrous project this week, and I’m planning on visiting this weekend :)

  • Leona @ Pigged-out June 8, 2009, 4:35 am

    WOWW these cakes look like it was a lot to give someone diabetes and I Love it!

    A SUSHI ROLL CAKE!!!! YUMMMM Carrott and seaweed sounds sooo unique! That would have to be something id love to try heh.

    Im still the only one that hasnt tried Zumbo LOL!

  • Simon June 18, 2009, 1:46 pm

    Hi Helen! Totally, and totally! :)

    Yeah, heaps of fun finally "getting" the whole Zumbo thing and meeting up with more new faces.

    Hi Iron Chef Shellie! The carrot seaweed cake was pretty good. If you ever do decide to come up for a tour, we'll have to organise something for you. Including Zumbo, of course :P

    Hi Ellie! When you've blown yourself out in Malaysia and get back to Sydney, before you kick into a dieting regime, give it a try. It's worth the hassle of parking and the extra kilos :)

    Hi Simon Food Favourites! The 'W' was good and something worth trying. Hopefully by the time you try it out, it'll have a propper name by then.

    Hi billy! To answer your question – it's worth it, most of the cakes are great and I wouldn't quite go so far as fanboy… :)

    Hi howard! 'W' (the one you described) was fantastic. Great flavour and textural components to it.

    Hi FFichiban! To let you in on a secret, the SP avatar was really there to mask an ugly spot on the photo I couldn't work out of the image.

    I really, really, really want to Colombia one too. Definitely on the purchase list the next time I go there!

    Hi Belle! Wondered where all those went…

    It was a pleasure to meet you at the event and put a clear face to a blog :)

    Hi Forager! I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it so much and thanks for the mention on your post! :)

    Hi Anita! Pleasure to finally meet with you!

    Hi Yas! Have you had a chance to go since the disaster project, or are you still on it…?

    Hi Leona! Hehe :)

    Hopefully he'll still have some form of the carrot and seaweed cake available. Will have to check it out some time to see, cause I'm curious to see what the latest version of it is.

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