CCU Undercover: Cake, Bake & Sweets Show Part #3

And here we are, finally, after so long, writing the end of this show. It did go on for three days, so just be grateful I am only writing on one day, otherwise you would have a 9 part series 😉

Following on from my last Cake, Bake & Sweets show post, I had just finished lunch and my mumsical and I were wondering where to hit next.

Suddenly, I got a phone call and being part of the ‘media’ finally gave an advantage. I HAD AN INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY WITH ERIC LANLARD!!!

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The guy I had just seen make a caramel masterpiece was willing to talk to a lowly, makes average cakes blogger like me *swoon*

No, no… I had to keep my cool. So I went up to the totally exclusive green room where there were other staff members relaxing from the stress of running this show! Kicking back with tea and coffee, the publicist who had taken me there kindly told us to feel free to get fruit or coffee from the refreshments table.

So we did 😀 – and that pineapple tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth 😀

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I was kind of nervous. After all, when I high tea-ed with Peter Kuruvita, it was more him explaining all about the tea as opposed to a specific interview Q & A. Here, I was running the conversation! My mum told me to speak in French starting off, but of course I didn’t.

My French is as rusty now as that old wheelbarrow in all your sheds that no one uses.

Yikes!! 😛

So we introduced ourselves, I tried to pretend his accent was not making me grin super wide and thus, the interview commenced (wow, just thinking back over this, I can feel my palms beginning to sweat again… such a TMI – too much info – moment)

It is so nice to meet you Eric! I was going to ask actually why you chose the Salted Butter Caramel Cake to demonstrate, but you already explained it was so popular, you had to! Any reason behind your slight lack of interest in salted butter caramel?

*insert French accent* You know when something is becoming too fashionable? The thing is, I was born in Brittany, France and it is one of the few regions which uses salted butter in everything (stresses that). The rest of France uses unsalted butter, so I became accustomed to that certain salted butter taste in toffee, commonly in pancake syrup, well before the rest of the world discovered it. I enjoy the flavour no doubt, but I am just used to it, is holds no surprise for me anymore.

I was also turned off from putting a recipe containing salted butter caramel in my recipe book, Chocolat, because everyone was pressuring me to, considering how popular it is now, but I like doing my own thing, so I came up with a slightly different recipe to incorporate it. The book actually sold out here!

Well, it was obviously causing everyone to fall in love with it! Is chocolate then your favourite ingredient to work with, considering the title for your cookbook?

Well, it has always been one of my favourite ingredients, yes, and I have always been fascinated about it, how it comes from hanging on a tree and turns into a bar of chocolate. I went to a plantation in France, where I used to work for free, where they used to make it from scratch. Now that was 20 years ago, a lot more areas as such have sprung up, but before, knowing the process was quite rare, so I would go there to see the machines transforming the roasted beans into chocolate.
It is common that in France, anything with chocolate is an immediate best seller, any pastry or dessert. The British love it, but the French even more so.

Is there any particular reason that you decided to set yourself up in London, UK as opposed to somewhere in France?

Actually pure coincidence, and being in the right place at the right time. I went to London for a year, to improve my english, but I wanted to keep travelling the world. One year turned into five years while apprenticing under the Roux family, and then I got promoted. Also, this was right during the food season changing in the UK. Before it was just frozen meals and tins from the supermarket, no fresh vegetables and all. To this day, my mum sends me packages of food because she still believes the UK has no decent food, and I keep telling her it is much better! (Cue the awwwww!!!)

But I got lucky in that I was there at the right time to take advantage of that change, start a business! (I tell him that when I went to London, I thought the food was good, but after going to France, it shows that London has a long way to go!!! He chuckles and I grin because I made a celebrity chuckle!)

What inspired you to start your television series, Baking Mad?

I had been fighting for many years actually. Every time I saw people, at shows or whatever, people would always tell him how much they loved baking and asked him to do a TV show. I spent a lot of time going to publishers about this idea, but they believed firmly that no one had the interest, or desire to bake, only doing main meals and entrees if they had to. This especially applied to the women’s institutes! I was head butting to the wall and knew truly people were interested.

I wanted to pass on the knowledge that you don’t need a lot of time or super expensive ingredients to enjoy baking, or expensive equipment. Every time on TV, I want to show baking is accessible to people, and FINALLY, they agreed! The whole inspiration was wanting to show people about the aspect of cooking not involving chef’s whites or fancy, just good food to share with family and friends.

In France, it is customary to never reproduce what a pastry chef displays at home, it is their domain, they are treated as royalty and the people buy from them as opposed to making their own. Whatever desserts they do make, are more rustic style, for intimate gatherings. For instance, you would never see a French person making a macaron, not dare to, as they can buy it from the patisserie. The respect given to pastry chefs is incredible. I am trying to show that there is an easier side to baking then, you do not have to do it like a pastry chef!

A lot of young people look at fancy cakes, and try to start at a high level, which results in a disaster, and then they lose the will to bake. I am trying to show that there is a simple level to start at. Otherwise they may not bake again.

When making innovative new recipes, what inspires you? Your French culture, or your family?

I have been baking since I was 6 years old, semi-professionally since I was 18, so an awfully long time! What inspires me is that there is always something new occurring in the baking world, such as a new chocolate type, new techniques, new equipment. Customers come in with crazy ideas, and you can’t say no (though you regret it initially!) Travelling is a mass source of inspiration for me, I travel both for work and for pleasure now and just look around, I will find a texture, technique or something that I will take and use in my next recipe.

I never copy and paste, that is cheating (pronounced as sheeting which was awesome!). In leisure, I try different things because I am relaxed, try recipes I see in restaurants in my own way, so I don’t think I will ever run out of inspiration.
Each recipe though has a classic base, such as cake base is always the same technique.

Ok, so last question. What is your absolute favourite dessert, as in, if you could choose just one?

Oh, that is an easy one (surprised moi!) it is the tarte tatin, straight from the oven, see the steam coming out when you turn it out. Favourite is with pears, and I only make it at home, I have stopped ordering it because it is done so badly!. It has quite an interesting story behind it, see two sisters very well known for their baking were making an apple tart once, but one sister dropped it on the floor! She had to scoop it back, there was no time, even though it was turned upside down, but it caused the apples to caramelise, and as they say, the rest is history!

It is so delicious, and I love how you don’t have to care whether it looks good, because it is a rustic dish, it is just a brilliant dish with a side of creme fraiche. If I was to die tomorrow (which I can’t because I have a show!), I would ask for a tarte tatin!

Bonus Question via Mum: Do you have much of an interest in South East Asia, or Asian desserts, have you ever considered travelling there, trying them? 

I find the Middle East and Asian spices quite intricate and inspiring, but as far as trying them, they are all too sweet for me, with the sugar syrup and all. I find the flavours complex, and enjoy them, but cannot eat them due to the high level of sweetness. If I was to recreate them in some way, it would have to be at a much less sugary level, but still take into account those flavours.

And then we had a photo, because it had been an awesome interview 😀

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You won’t believe it but I was messing around with filters and accidentally saved this black and white version on top of the real photo 😛 – but you get the picture any way no?

And that was the longest I have been without photos in writing like… ever. Shall we remedy that as I tell you all about the end of the show?? 😀

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It was getting close to leaving time now, so we decided to stock up on some goodies from the show 😀 – There were many stalls we still hadn’t hit, containing spices and delicious ingredients!

At least it gives us a reason to go back 😉 – We even saw the Biglolly stand, an Australian lolly company I reviewed ages ago!

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We dropped by an oils and spreads store called Pukara Estate as well. They had a range of different dips, toothpicks and white bread which were tried.

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Mum said the virgin olive oil was ok, but I rather enjoyed the flavour – to each his own!

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It was in these last 20 minutes or so that we had left, that we went on a bit of a ‘hitting store’ frenzy! I mean, right, left and centre, we were buying products and trying delicious new things!

We dropped by Adora chocolates againthough I will show you a little later what we bought 😉

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Yes, they were selling chocolate shots. As opposed to Vodka, I much prefer that kind of burning sensation down my throat 😉

We also stopped by Lush Berries, because I was feeling picky again by this stage! I got a massive strawberry, coated in milk chocolate with a drizzling of white chocolate.

DSC_0154But I easily could have had more – it was rich and creamy, and so indulgent. I also spotted skewers of chocolate coated marshmallows, but I am pretty sure my mum was rolling her eyes at me by then. You would think I was making a high court decision or something…

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Naah, this was more important 😉

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I swear, the next shop we visited was going to be our last. But then, just before we reached there, we ran into this stall for the Blue Mountain (BM) Food Co-Op

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It had jams, lemon curd, and all kinds of dips imaginable, just sitting there, calling for us to try it! And lots of smoked nuts too of course!

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So we did. We got some biscuit-toasts and had some sour cherry jam spread on them.

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Needless to say, that sour cherry jam definitely came home with us. It was sweet, but with a fresh cherry taste as opposed to that medicinal taste it is associated with. And there were chunks of the cherry in the jam, making it an even bigger keeper!

Our last visit was to Charlie’s Cookieswhose stall once overflowing with cookies, especially melting moments, had dwindled considerably! We managed to get a packet of the original lemon flavour cutie-pie mini MMs, but they had chocolate and mint, chocolate and salted-caramel and so many other flavours!

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Definitely should have visited them first!

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As per tradition of course, I can’t let this post go on without showing you some more amazing cakes. Only one photo this time but I think in my first post and second post, I have emphasised the scale of awesome 😀

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These cakes were from the Wedding Cake Walk (Again, the only good thing about more weddings is that you get lots of beautifully designed cakes… choice choices 😉

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And thus ended, one of the coolest festivals I have been invited to in a long time!

Why did I enjoy it so much? Despite not seeing Zumbo because it was too packed, I saw other demonstrations that were equally astounding, such as Eric Lanlard’s and Duff Goldman! I had the choice of being part of a baking masterclass to teach me new skills!

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There were free samples GALORE everywhere, and on entry, you received a Bonne Maman bag of goodies as well (which I am about to share with you!)

I also loved the emphasis on Australian businesses in this show – sure, we saw Costco, but the majority of businesses there with stalls had Australian roots 😀 There was a lot of eating and coffee facilities (despite not knowing about them earlier) and it was well organised, with majority of events running on time!

Most importantly, we got to experience the amount of baking skill that we have sitting in our own backyard, be it in the cake decorating world, or other baking skills –> I may as well start singing the anthem now, I know! I know I will be going back next year though, the question is though…

will you all come with me? 😀

Before I let you guys leave this post, allow me to just share with you the goodies we brought home with us 😀 – I can just imagine them, sitting in the kitchen, and now I have some real cravings 😉

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We received a complimentary Bonne Maman, which is actually a company of reserves and delicious spreads!

It contained two of its famous spreads, an apricot and a strawberry (legitimately, my favourites!)

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A large box of Billingtons‘ natural light muscovado cane sugar – their focus is on unrefined sugar adding to the depth of sweet flavour, and Eric Lanlard swore on his heart that their’s is the only sugar he uses. He uses it in even meringues to give it that nice light coffee colour and rich flavour – I am so sold!

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And it is healthier too!

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Now, for our own purchases! We returned to Christen’s Gingerbread Home (terminator style but sans guns), and bought my customary gingerbread, which I am going to sincerely enjoy at uni with a cup of tea 😀

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As I mentioned earlier, we also stopped by the wonderful Adora’s Handmade Chocolates stall, and bought the sampler pack – it did indeed include the butter truffle

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I dutifully tried it just to show you guys as soon as I got home 😉

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Here are our melting moments and jam, that I mentioned above – I am genuinely contemplating dipping the cookie into the jam, eating it and inducing a sugar coma…

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And of course, what would I have done if I had not bought home some macarons – I think I would have been a pretty bad food blogger right???

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Sorry I should be specific, zumbarons – To see their review (of all the flavours), check out this link 😀

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Have I put you in a food coma yet? Well I know my hand is numb from typing… so I guess I am doing something right 😉

Till next time mes amis!

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Disclaimer: Go Bake Yourself (and guest) attended the Cake, Bake & Sweets Show via invitation of Thrive PR, but she attended only Saturday, and all her thoughts and opinions of stalls, talents, companies etc. are her own. She also paid for her own purchases and was sponsored in no other way.

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59 Comments

  1. Pingback: I’m A Newni Student! | Go Bake Yourself

  2. Hotly Spiced says:

    There’s so much in the post my head is almost spinning. I think I’d have to buy the Charlie’s brand of goods. And as for those zumberons, they look so perfect and pretty. It sounds like you had an excellent three days – what a great experience. I will try to get there next year xx

  3. Sugar et al says:

    That was such an amazing experience! Almost sad that the series is over:-( Loved the interview and the picture with Eric Lanlard. The mini melting moments are so cute.

  4. Veronica says:

    What an amazing opportunity to be able to do an interview with Eric! You did so well. What a very cool show to be able to attend – so much yums!! And that Bonne Maman jelly/jam is popular here too – it was neat to see a familiar sight amongst the things you brought home.

  5. Barb Bamber says:

    Excellent interview skills, CCU! And did I read correctly that you speak french? Incredible.. you’re a hard working student, a writer, you speak french, make decadent recipes, you’re a blogger and from that photo you’re a natural interviewer as well! Bravo!

  6. Cris says:

    Good job with the interview! You look great in the pic with Eric Lanlard! And all those gooodies…:x I am in a food coma:X Great job Uru!

  7. You landed an interview with Eric Lanlard! Awesome! I just love watching him make desserts. I bet he was just as equally interested on how early you started your budding career as baker and blogger. Take Care, BAM

  8. I loved the cake bake and sweets show and bought wayyy too many things! I originally thought the Adora chocolate shots was actually hot chocolate – and struggled to finish the shot but it was sooo good, haha! How exciting to interview Eric and love the pic of you two!

  9. Lisa says:

    How exciting to interview Eric Lanlard! You really did a stellar job, Uru! I’m so jealous of all those drool-inducing goodies you got to try, especially the Zumba macarons! That said, I love your new blog design and you are beautiful! 🙂

  10. A_Boleyn says:

    Great interview and again, lovely and very tempting pictures. I actually have some Bonne Maman preserves in my pantry right now … cherry, though I’ve tried several others of the flavours as well. So very good.

    All those sweets made me wish I still had some pieces of the home made walnut baklava I made last weekend in my fridge. I guess it’s time to bake again.

  11. Wow, you are heading up there. Glad and so happy to see that you’re meeting famous people and invited for wonderful events. I love all; the fabulous dishes and the shots are so good too.

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