Wednesday, October 22, 2008

australia eats. chocolate cafés

Lindt Chocolat Café
104 - 105 Cockle Bay Wharf

Darling Harbour

Sydney, Australia

Tel: 612 9267 8064


Max Brenner

Shop 2187 Level 2 Westfield

159-175 Church Street

Parramatta NSW 2150

Sydney, Australia

Tel: 61 2 9635 7566


Darling Harbour is a part of Sydney's city landscape which I like very much. Somehow or rather, just being there; whether I am looking at the clear waters or watching the people go by, makes me feel very peaceful and happy.

During my visit to Sydney about 2 months back, I was back at Darling Harbour and found myself sitting at Lindt Chocolat Café. Surely many are familiar with the world famous brand of chocolate but I believe this café concept for Lindt in Sydney is a first in the world. Seems like chocolate cafés thrive in Australia having seen successes in Max Brenner and Guylian.

D & I spent close to 2 hours sitting around enjoying the hot chocolates we ordered. I'm not usually a huge chocolate fan but I must say that I was won over by the richness & the smoothness of the chocolate. That being said, the cold weather did really help to make the hot chocolate so much more comforting than it already was.

I really liked how the hot chocolate was served to our table as well. It was sort of a DIY hot chocolate; we were given an empty cup, a cup of melted chocolate and a little jug of hot steamed milk. We could decide how much chocolate or milk we wanted to put and how rich we wanted it to taste which suited me really well.

It was quite a different story at Max Brenner. Firstly, they didn't have as beautiful a location as Lindt at the Darling Harbour. However, there was a whole lot more of variety in their chocolate beverages. They also had quite a number of nice desserts such as waffles as compared to the more classic cakes served at Lindt. I had the nice hot white chocolate beverage with crunchy chocolate wafer balls called 'Choco-Pops'. It was really nice and comforting but a tad sweet and milky just because it was white chocolate that was in it; not any fault of theirs.

If one is looking for that DIY factor similar to what you get at Lindt, Max Brenner has one called 'Suckao'. The 'suckao' is actually a utensil that is designed as a stirrer and a straw for sipping the chocolate all up. Rather interesting and worth a try in my opinion just for novelty's sake. Taste aside, I especially love the mugs they use to put their regular hot chocolate in. Known as 'hug mugs', they're meant to be held in the palms of both hands, almost like hugging the mugs. They retail these mugs in their shop and I think they make fantastic gifts for friends.

That's about it from me here. I'm not going to start going into details about how good the quality of the chocolates are. To be honest, I really don't know how to differentiate between good and better chocolate because I'm not really a chocolate connoisseur to begin with. All I know is when I'm back in Sydney, I won't be missing out on return visits to both cafés.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

happy birthday d!

It's D's bday today so Mum cooked some birthday mee sua for him today. Family tradition.

She tried out using mee sua from Xiamen which was much finer than what we're used to having. Texture was somewhat reminiscent of the outer layer of the dragon beard candy. Had a sneak tasting and thought it wasn't too bad because it wasn't clumpy and starchy like the usual. That aside...


I'm over the moon now cos I just won a bet on the winner of the Shanghai Grand Prix. Yay for Hamilton and free lunch tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

jamie oliver's Pass It On movement.

I really enjoy Jamie Oliver's recipes. His programmes are always a joy to watch just cos he always presents his food in such a casual way that makes cooking easy and fun. I also admire his efforts in making a difference to people's lives through food; setting up the Fifteen Foundation to help disadvantaged youngsters such as the homeless, unemployed and those suffering from alcoholism and drug problems so that they may build successful careers in the kitchen.

He has always made it his mission to make sure that people eat right. One example was when he started going into schools to attempt to change the food that kids ate so that they'd stop eating all the junk and processed foods. Honestly, I was thrown off when I saw that schools in Britain were providing all that processed and unhealthy food to kids at such a tender age. I think Singaporean parents will flip if their children were fed that way in school.

Jamie Oliver is now embarking on a new project called the Pass It On movement. It works like the 'pay it forward' concept. Basically, this is to inspire people to get started on cooking and making food from scratch. After one has learnt a recipe, the idea is to pass it on and teach 2 other people to prepare the same dish. If it works, it should create a ripple effect. Theoretically, it should work but it really is tough work to get people started. Nonetheless, I hope that Jamie O's hard work to make a difference will pay off eventually.

Since I've been trying to spend more time in the kitchen and hope to share more recipes here on my blog, I've signed up for this movement and I hope you all will too. You may register at I may not be doing this in the same way as how Jamie Oliver had designed it but at least, I'm doing my little bit. So, let's all join in for the cause. Who knows, you might discover your talent in the kitchen.

Have fun you all!