Pierre Hermé, Pastry provocateur

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In the heart of Covent Garden is a rather special boutique,  Pierre Hermé Paris, which boasts the most beautiful display of macarons and my husband and I were off there for a tasting experience.  We had won a competition on Twitter, I’m partial to a competition and this was an incredible prize!  Pastry provocateur Pierre Hermé began his career at the age of 14 as an apprentice.  Heir to four generations of Alsatian bakery and pastry-making, Pierre Hermé has invented a variety of tastes, sensations and pleasures. With his original approach to revolutionise entrenched traditions he is always revising his own work, exploring new taste territories and revisiting his own recipes.

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We were greeted by the Store Manager Sara, and she sat us outside at the bright pink table, my husband was wearing a similar coloured polo top on that day, which I thought was quite comical so I teased him a bit!

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She explained how we would be presented four plates showcasing a variety of delights.

The first plate was presented.

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From left to right,
  • Caramel Mahogany, caramel candy with mango
  • Absolument chocolat au lait Mathilda, an almond praline and lemon zest,covered  in Pierre Herme’ milk chocolate 45%
  • Calisson, almond paste and candied orange flavoured with melon
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  • Macaron Eden with peach, apricot and saffron
  • Cake Satine, a pound cake with candied orange and passion fruit, kept moist by adding cream cheese to the mixture
  • Pate de fruit Satine, with orange, apricot and passion fruit
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  • Macaron Infiniment Chocolat Paineras (a brasilian pure origin, 64% cocoa, with spiced aromas, roasted cocoa nib notes and a long bitterness)
  • Drinking chocolate Cannelle de Ceylan, flavoured with cinnamon from Ceylon, prepared with mineral water and served cold.
  • Bonbon Chocolat Ampa, a pure origin from Madagascar, 68% cocoa, with citrus notes of passion fruit, baked caramelised pineapple and a biscuity aftertaste

The cold hot chocolate was soooooo rich and unbelievably was just made with water! Because of the quality of ingredients it doesn’t need milk.

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  • Bonbon Chocolat Chuao, a dark chocolate and blackcurrant ganache, matched with the parfum Milena for the aromatic and balsamic notes of the blackcurrant.
  • Glace Milena, fresh mint ice cream and red berry sorbet
  • Macaron Milena with fresh mint and red berries (a compote of wild strawberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrant)

You can see for yourself the products here are absolutely beautiful, so photogenic with such gorgeous colours.  The tastes were amazing.  Here are a few of more favourites.

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Aren’t the Macarons stunning? The one on the left had peach, apricot and saffron, middle chocolate and right mint and red berries.

The saffron gave the macaron a slight savoury taste in contrast to the sweet fruits.  My favourite was definitely the mint and berry.  As well as  looking magnifique the taste was delicieuse.  The fresh mint and berries worked so well and the amazing flavour was also replicated in the combination of ice cream and sorbet.

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Another of my favourites was the candied orange and passion fruit cake.  This cake is just amazing, the sponge is so light and fresh and the icing is so smooth and melt in the mouth.  It’s topped with tiny little macarons and its such a beautiful creation.

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To finish we were given a plate with four of the Veloutes selection.  These are made with yoghurt.

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From top left, Yogurt, Rose, Litchi and Raspberry.  Yoghurt and Grapefruit, yoghurt and banana and yoghurt and Lime.  These were delicious.  The yoghurt gave the macaron a slight sour taste, but it worked beautifully.

My husband and I really enjoyed our afternoon, who wouldn’t enjoy this amazing opportunity?! Thank you Sara for your incredible service, and thank you Pierre Hermé Paris for treating us to this fantastic experience.

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Chocolate covered cookies! 

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Hands up, who likes Oreos?
Ok. Who likes chocolate?

And hand up who likes chocolate covered Oreos………………………..?

Well chocolate covered Oreos are actually a thing and I can testify that that are as good as you would imagine!

So I was dreaming away at work in a meeting and when I returned to my desk there was a gift from the gods. A bold and brash yellow paper bag had been delivered and inside a windowed gift box proudly displaying CHOCOLATE COVERED OREO COOKIES!!!!!!

   

  
  
  
I proudly showed them off ( leaving colleagues thinking I had an admirer) it was actually switched on Comms who had delivered them! But I selfishly didn’t share, I took them home for my nearest and dearest. Naturally my daughter chose the pink biscuit, my son the gold and my husband and I waited till they were in bed before we enjoyed ours! Verdict? Well the kids devoured them, “more, more” they were shouting. My son was impressed that buy letting it slightly melt it turned his hand gold! Kids! 

My husband and I were also silently shouting “more, more” in our heads after we’d savoured every crumb! The chocolate covering is so generously thick and smooth and creamy and melt in the mouth.   

The biscuits have just been launched in Selfridges food hall by artisan baker Sangita Anand from La di da Sweet Treats. You can grab ’em at the bakery counter on the ground floor. Be quick though, at only £1.20 they already sold out on their highly anticipated debut!  
 

 

 

 
 

T2 Regent St tea party 

Pop Up Experience

T2 is Australia’s leading tea retailer. T2’s iconic brand has been brewing over the last 18 years, and they now sell enough tea per month to make 9 million cups! With over 50 stores in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the UK and now they have a brand spanking new store on London’s Regent Street. I was invited to their launch night party by Switched on Comms. Who doesn’t love a tea party?! 
The party started at 6 and I arrived to a long queue of people eagerly awaiting behind the red ropes. The queue was made up of PR invitees and T2 tea society members, which is a loyalty club for their devoted tea drinkers.  

I was greeted at the door with a cold Fruitalicious flavour tea in a cute little plastic bottle. The store is absolutely gorgeous. The iconic orange boxes which house the loose tea and contemporary teaware beautifully decorate the walls. There were temporary pop up stations set up within the store.

   
 A matcha ceremony took place at the back of the store with a matcha guru.    

  
I do drink green tea, but I’ve never had matcha, which is powdered green tea famed for its antioxidants. I can’t say I’m a massive fan, I prefer it with a bit of mint, but I enjoyed learning about the Ceremony of how to make it from the Matcha Guru.  

Hot Chai tea was being brewed and the intriguing aroma was attracting people over to the station, as well as the gorgeous girl serving it up.  

  
This tea is amazing, the smell made me salivate. Chai tea is literally a hug in a mug, it’s such a lovely warming comforting drink, and there’s so many different types at T2 including choc chip and strawberry chai. 

There was a create your own fruity ice tea station and there was a counter serving up tea cocktails! Yep alcoholic iced tea cocktails! 

   
   
There were two different types, I tried both for the purpose of this blog! 😉 What a great alternative to pimms, and a novel idea for a tea party. 

My friend and I chatted to various T2 staff and each one of them was so enthusiastic and passionate about their beloved tea. They were genuinely happy and proud to work for T2 and had been part of the team for years. The passion is definitely reflected in the products. 

 My friend and I walked around sniffing all the different teas and admiring the beautifully delicate glass cups and teapots. 

   
  

To be honest a few weeks ago I was not aware of the T2 brand but now I am, I’m definitely a fan and I’m signing up to be a member of the Tea society right now! 

It’s such a fun shop and I’ll be coming back when it’s less busy and have a thorough look round and sniff a few more teas. I’ve got my eye on a mesh ball infuser which I’ll be coming back for ………. and some chai teas …… and maybe a few more things I had my eye on too!  

  
T2 Regent St 

292 Regent St, London, W1B 3AP. England

Monday – Wednesday: 9:30AM-7:00PM

Thursday – 9.30AM-9.00PM

Friday- 09.30AM-7.00PM

Saturday: 09.30AM-7:00PM

Sunday: 12:00PM-6:00PM

Phone 02 075806360

Tasty Tasting menu at Northbank 

Blog post by Restaurant, Dining with the Husband, Non Michelin Restaurants

I was given the opportunity by squaremeal to write a blog post about Northbank. The prize included a cocktail on arrival, 6 course tasting menu and paired wines.  
Northbank opened in 2007 and offer modern Cornish influenced British cuisine. Ingredients are sourced from Falmouth and surrounding areas of Cornwall. And the daily delivered fresh fish is sourced off the Cornish coast.

Northbank is located near the Millennium bridge. I had walked from Victoria so was quite parched and welcomed my recommended cocktail of the week, an Amaretto Salisa. My husband had a Pear of the Caribbean. Both cocktails were absolutely delicious, they were so good they were gone in less than 60 seconds! Priced at £8.50 I think that’s very good value for such a great tasting drink. 

  
We were seated at a romantic table for two at the window. Northbank have a prime riverside location. From our table we had a great view of the South Bank, Shakespeare’s Globe, Tate Modern, The Shard and Millennium Bridge. This side of the river definitely has the better view.  

  
I adore the wallpaper here, it’s a modern twist on the willow pattern (the old fashioned blue and white painted porcelain). The print is on the menu too. The green images remind me of the lyrics to Lily Allen’s song LDN.  

  
We were given bread and an amuse bouche of carrot, honey and ginger soup. The bread was freshly baked and so lovely and warm.  

   
 First course of the tasting menu was Devon red beef carpaccio with red wine braised octopus and sweet baby onions

  
Traditionally carpaccio is thinly sliced raw meat. This was a generous chunk. The braised octopus was beautifully soft and served as a whole tentacle. I love the way you can see each little sucker. Baby onions were spot on. It was a great modern twist on a surf and turf.  

Second course Pan fried Seabass with cockles, clams and seaweed crumb.  

  
The skin on the fish was incredible, perfectly crispy and crunchy I almost thought I was eating chicken skin. It was amazing! Seabass is one of my favourite fish as it’s not overly fishy. The addition of the cockles gave it the fishy kick, I must admit I sneaked these onto my husband’s plate as I’m still a bit fussy with seafood.  

Next up Confit rabbit, foie gras and chorizo terrine with fennel salad and vermouth cream. 

  
The terrine had a very meaty texture so the cream on the side made the texture smoother. The foie gras was quite subtle but the chorizo had a lovely tingly heat. This was a really good dish, it’s nice to see rabbit on a menu as its such a great ingredient but not seen that often.  

Next course was the Cornish catch of the day! Consisting of Sea trout and crab gnocchi.  

  
The fish again had a perfectly crispy skin. The gnocchi was delicious. The crab gave it such a lovely sweetness. Definitely a highlight of the meal.  

Roasted guinea fowl with smoked bacon, gem lettuce and broad beans was the next course.  

  
This dish tasted great and looked fantastic. The pink bacon and green lettuce look so good together on a plate. This was a great combination of flavours, colours and textures.  

Next desserts, there were two to choose from so we ordered one each.  

I had the Bakewell soufflé with cherry sorbet, hubby had the Perry jelly with summer fruits and elderflower ice cream.  

  
Perfect soufflé and a gorgeously cherrytastic sorbet. I loved this dessert. And after all that food it worked well as it was light and fresh. The jelly dessert was lovely too especially the accompanying ice cream.  

My husband and I declined coffee as we had a train to catch from Blackfriars, which is conveniently a five minute walk away.  

Our Northbank experience was fantastic. The staff are all so happy and enthusiastic which is reflected in the attentive service. Each of our courses was matched perfectly with wine. A wine paring is not offered with the tasting menu but can be arranged on request. I always go for this option as its a great way to try out new wines. The location is amazing, riverside in the city, what more could you ask for? On the opposite side of the river are the generic chain restaurants, I almost wanted to shout to their customers to cross the bridge for some decent food! 

  
Our tasting menu was priced at £55 per person. This is incredible value and the portions are huge compared to most tasting menus.  

I can’t recommend Northbank enough. Good value, great location, amazing food and attentive service. My husband and I were made to feel like VIPs.

Thank you to Square Meal and Northbank for the complimentary meal, this has no reflection on my option of the restaurant.