Le Cordon Bleu Paris – Day 17: Who Doesn’t Love Chocolate?

The day I’ve been waiting for has finally arrived – the first of our chocolate recipes!

There were two recipes demonstrated – soufflé au chocolat (chocolate soufflé)  with crème glacée à la pistache (not ice cream) and chocolate sauce, and moelleux chocolat – a soft-centred chocolate cake with a vanilla crème brûlée filling. I was very excited for these to be finished because really, who wouldn’t be? I only know a couple of (weird) people who don’t like chocolate at all. Like they would never eat chocolate because chocolate is “disgusting”. Question: What’s better than a slice of chocolate cake? Answer: Warm chocolate cake.

 BUT… the soufflés were a failure! They were lopsided and the tops were cooked but everything below was a disaster. It spilled from the sides and made such a big mess. This was the first time that we had an unsuccessful recipe during the demos. I guess the chefs can’t always be perfect too. However, we couldn’t let all that chocolate go to waste, so we ate it anyway and it was still delicious and we wiped out everything. As for the moelleux chocolat, we were expecting something like a lava cake, but when it was cut, there was no flow at all. We all thought it tasted just like a brownie, so it was a little disappointing that we were making “brownies” this far into our course. This was a new recipe for the programme apparently, so I’m sure they will try to improve it.

For practical, we would be plating the moelleux chocolat with a vanilla mascarpone whipped cream quenelle and chocolate sauce. This was a pretty uneventful practical. The team leaders this week had to make the vanilla crème brûlée filling and chocolate sauce for the whole group, so we only had to make the chocolate cake batter. Someone else made the whipped cream too so… Yeah, nothing much to do! At the end, we simply plated our desserts. This was the first time ever making a quenelle, and the first time I did it, it was decent but the whipped cream was too soft and I decided to redo it again. It looked much better after the the cream was cooled a little.

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

Processed with VSCO with a8 presetVanilla crème brûlée filling 

As I mentioned, it tasted more like a brownie. It was still delicious, but it was just that. I brought them home and refrigerated them, and actually, they taste better a couple of days after, and cold! Haha! What was I saying about warm chocolate cake? We didn’t get the molten centres, but Group A did. So jealous!

After this relatively easy-going practical, we had our written exam. I WAS SO PISSED OFF. We had been told that we would be tested on our theory lessons – eggs, milk, cream, butter, flour etc., but we got questions mostly on recipes that no one actually studied for. I only flipped through all the recipes once before the exam. Thankfully, I have quite an extraordinary memory (thanks, SMU). There were some problems with the questions that I wasn’t very happy about. As the paper is written in French and English, obviously I only bothered reading the English part of it. I remember there was a question about choux pastry, but they were referring to chouquettes and if you didn’t read the French version, you would’ve answered wrongly for sure. Fortunately, a caught that at the last moment and I changed my answer. Also, the last section was a little unfair because it was a list of French culinary terms that most non-French speaking students would struggle with. I made some intelligent guesses and I think I got everything right. I think. I hope! Will definitely feedback to the academic department.

Our 7pm lesson was a demo for another cake. Chocolate. Again. At this point, we were all pretty tired as we had started the day at 8am. The Alhambra cake is a chocolate cake named after a place in Spain. It consists of three layers of hazelnut sacher soaked in coffee syrup, and filled with dark chocolate ganache. It is then glazed with chocolate. Very chocolatey, very yum! I’ve had Sachertorte in Austria thrice, and not because it was good, but because I just had to. The first time I had it was when I just got to Graz with my mum and we went to Café Sacher. We both agreed that it was very underwhelming. The second time I had it was with Cindy in Vienna at the original Hotel Sacher. It was even drier than the one we had in Graz. The third time I had it was with DJ in Graz again. Still, we were not impressed. Then Alex sent me an entire Sachertorte via post from Austria and I had it in my freezer for quite some time. I decided to heat it up one day, just for fun, and actually, it’s pretty nice when it’s warm! This is another cake which is just famous because of the story behind it. I don’t think I’ll ever eat it again. I might make my own though.

Ok, so anyhow, this cake was so good! I can say that it is one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever had. I loved the hazelnut sacher sponge. It was not dry at all, even without the imbibing syup, it was still moist and tender. I think I was really wowed by it because the quality of chocolate used was excellent. I believe we were using Cacao Barry in class that day. I’m also a big fan of dark chocolate. I’m one of those people who loves to tell anyone who tells me that white chocolate is their favourite that white chocolate isn’t even chocolate. What a snob. I know.

Tomorrow, we make our Alhambra. I can’t wait!

Le Cordon Bleu Paris – Day 17: Who Doesn’t Love Chocolate?

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