Have you ever been to a dessert tasting? Neither had I. Till Wasamedia (thank you so much!) invited me to one at one of Sydney’s up and coming Italian restaurants. To dine, blog and enjoy the company of others while in the vicinity of desserts that blow my mind.
Now, I want you to picture this – Italian Desserts. A wild and hungry CCU.
Hold me back, I says, hold me back!
Because after you see these desserts, you will see why I went a little crazy that night 😀
Candelori’s Ristorante e Bar isn’t located in the heart of the city, or overlooking the Harbour Bridge. Tucked away in the heart of Smithfield, it is a hidden gem. Or at least, it was for me because I hadn’t actually been there before this event!
I feel like they bring some fine city dining to the western suburbs, and I live in the northwest so thank you! 😀 Oh no… you know where I live… 😉
When you step into this restaurant, you are greeted with shimmering silver lights (no sparkle, only beautiful glinting), an open kitchen to the far left and fine dining tables as far as the eye can see. Candelori’s actually remodelled their entire restaurant and I have to say, coming from someone who once aspired to be an interior decorator, the wooden floors were polished, reflected in the silver decor and it was lovely together 🙂
As I made my way to the giant blogger table organised by the fabulous George and Laura from Wasamedia, I chanced upon very awesome seating. Next to Christie & Matt from Snapshots of Food and Olivia & Alex from Mademoiselle Mange A Sydney, it was brilliant!
Needless to say, after going to into sugar comas together, we really did bond 😀
And I totally did not fifth wheel 😉
While we waited and chatted for other bloggers to arrive, the atmosphere was very relaxed! Servers going around and filling our water (sparkling or still), politely asking if we wanted white or red, while I lamented over my decision to drive!
Before the dessert tasting started, the event was organised as to not overdose us on sugar alone. So to make sure we left beyond satisfied, we also sampled some of Candelori’s pizzas before the new dessert menu was introduced!
But first, the bread. It was slightly chewy on the inside, with a crusty exterior and when dipped in the oil, made me feel I had entered the lifestyle section of my Greek and Roman history books.
We didn’t have to wait long for the pizzas to arrive afterwards! Christian Candelori, current owner and son of the original owner, was kind enough to come by and introduce us to all the pizzas so we knew exactly what our tastebuds were being introduced to!
Made with natural yeast, the pizzas here actually focus on living up to the true Italian style – considering the taste is still fresh in my mind from when I went to Europe last year, I have to say it was pretty similar!
First to come our was the classic Margherita – tomato, bufala mozzarella, basil and extra virgin olive oil ($20). They actually import their buffalo cheese from Italy, way to add authenticity! The pizza base was extremely thin, with a chewy wood fired crust, and it was generously slathered with sauce as well!
I was expecting chunks of buffalo on top, which I am not a fan of, so I was glad they were all melted down into the sauce, adding extra saltiness and texture 🙂
Next (or at least, in my photos order) was, (I do believe), the Teramano – bufala mozzarella, thinly sliced mushrooms, prosciutto and truffle oil ($23). This pizza looked SO pretty – the prosciutto delicately topping it was the equivalent of fairly floss in desserts!
My favourite pizza of the night was probably their Lazio – tomato, fresh zucchini flowers, stemmed artichokes, roasted eggplant, roasted capsicums, bufala mozzarella and pepper ($27). A gourmet vegetarian, the chosen toppings worked very well together, and I especially liked the roasted capsicums 🙂
I also felt that despite eating quite a few pieces, I still felt light – apparently this was a result of the yeast not being synthetic! I was also surprised that a vegetarian pizza was one of the most expensive ones on offer, when usually, it is the other way around!
There were two more pizzas to go (I know, meat eaters, how do you do it?), with the next one being the Salsiccie e Funghi Porcini – fior di latte, taleggio, housemade pork sausage, porcini and chiodini mushrooms, basil, pangrattato and truffle oil ($25). It almost reminded me of the famous Italian meatballs in spaghetti!
The final pizza took a bit of a twist and took on the traditional-contemporary Italian pizza form, which was introduced 50 years ago – the rectangular look! It was the Pizza Quattro Otto – bufala mozzarella, speck, scarmoza smoked cheese and wild rocket ($23). I remember this because someone yelled out ‘OMG I love Speck!’ and I thought ‘Now that’s passion!’ 😀
Now, done and dusted with the main meals, it was finally time *DRUMROLL*… for the dessert testing!!!
I swear, looking at the menu alone was enough to get me salivating – though I believe, I have been conditioned to do that automatically – like the bell is to Pavlov’s dog, the menu is to me #whippingoutpsychology
There was a giant range of desserts, and thinking back, I don’t know how I drove back without falling into a sugar coma 😛
The first new dessert being introduced to the menu is the Cannoli Ananas – pineapple cannoli + pineapple mousse + crushed meringue + blueberry + mint.
If refreshing came out and won the Miss Refresh of the Universe award, this would be its form. Wow, that was awful, but I need to convey to you how light my mouth felt after this dessert 😛
The pineapple salsa to the side went very well with the light mousse, and the crushed meringue added and extra sweet touch. I didn’t really taste the blueberries, but the mint was strong and I really liked the slightly chewy dried pineapple topper – looked beautiful!
The next dessert was the Cassata Negativo – A deconstructed classic Sicilian cassata. A cassata is often in rectangular form, a gelato full of dried fruits and jellies that make it taste like heaven. Here, they served it as scoops with some soft bread (reminded me of banana bread but I wasn’t too sure) and topped generously with Persian fairy floss. To modernise, there was also a splash of ricotta milk running through the centre.
All the elements of the cassata were deconstructed (DUH!), so segments of dehydrated mandarins surrounded the bread, as well as delicious, juicy cherries! I really enjoyed how they deconstructed it, though the fairy floss was my favourite part (quoting my inner 5 year old to be honest!) 😀 There were also caramelised figs (to die for) and a grating of Belgian chocolate to bring out the lemony flavours!
Now comes my all time (new) favourite dessert 😉
The Ferrero Rocher Sbagliato – Dark chocolate mousse + caramelised hazelnuts + chocolate brownie + fior di latte gelato. I’m sorry, but hazelnuts + chocolate has always been the best thing in the world – um, HELLO? Nutella? But this was… wait for it… even better 😀
The brownie was soft and moist, on the fudgy not cake side, and studded with nuts! With the gelato generously dripping down it, made it even better! The creaminess just brought out the intense chocolate flavour 🙂
The mousse was exquisite – soft to touch with the spoon, and very creamy. The chocolate flavour I didn’t find too intense, which made it go well with the brownie. I also really liked the praline crisp and hazelnuts on its side, added a bit of crunchy texture.
Of course, the presentation was stunning, Pools of chocolate-coffee sauce as a bed, what could possibly go wrong?
After devouring this heavenly concoction, we also enjoyed the Semifreddo Arrancia Rossa – Blood orange semifreddo + Negroni pearls + toasted marshmallows + red sorrel. I personally didn’t find the blood orange taste too strong, which might have been better, but the creamy semifreddo went excellently with the plump, juicy pearls to the side.
The toasted marshmallow was slightly chewy on the outside, but wonderful soft and fluffy inside *melts* 😀 I also like how precise the dish was in decorations, with the blood orange segments exactly placed – it gave it a really classy aesthetic appeal!
At this point, I am pretty sure I was not the only blogger battling! But, for the sake of all that is delicious and pure in the dessert world, we strived to continue our quest!
The next dessert we tried wasn’t a particularly innovative one, but a classic delicious Bombolini – Warm ricotta & lemon donuts + honey + pistachio nuts + vanilla bean gelato. They were so crispy and sugary on the outside, and while I didn’t get a taste of lemon from them, I did get a heavenly experience of biting into a soft, doughy inside that melted.
Drips of vanilla gelato just took it to another dessert level! Oh Italy, even your donuts are better!
Not in the correct order, but the final dessert I want to tell you about is the Pannacotta – Hazelnut pannacotta + roasted hazelnuts + ginger crumbs + strawberries + Italian tear drops. Now, I have been conditioned to enjoy hazelnuts with chocolate so to see them in this new arena threw me off a little!
But not for long. Delightfully nutty, the pannacotta was served in an innovative jar, with strawberry salsa fresh on the side. I really enjoyed the ginger crumble, and never would have picked it to go well with the hazelnut flavour 🙂
Followed by a few customary coffees then, it was finally time to heave our stomachs outside and keep heaving them home!
- Excellent staff – poured our drinks, consistent asking if we needed anything
- Changed plates between courses
- Lovely interior
- Traditional Italian style cuisine
- Has just been picked as one of the best restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne according to the Gault & Millau Guide
Now, my exchange is being finalised while I write this, so fingers crossed!
As much as I hope you enjoyed this review mes cheris, I hope I have time to bake or cook for you soon xx
Disclaimer: Go Bake Yourself was invited to attend this event courtesy of Wasamedia. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and her own.