Last week I was invited to a food and coffee matching event at L’atelier des Chefs by the wonderful people at Cafédirect. Along with other members of the London blogging community, I was challenged to create a dessert to match one of the single origin coffees in less than an hour. We were set to work in groups of two and I was paired with another blogger with the same name, April of Rhubarb and Rose, to work on this challenge.
The ingredients April and I were given included honey and vanilla and we were asked to make a dessert to compliment Cafédirect’s Mayan Palenque coffee. April remembered a recipe she had for a honey cake so we set to adapting it. We needed it to be quick, easy and make use of the limited ingredients that were available so we decided to divide the recipe in half and switch some of the ingredients up to make baby Spiced Vanilla and Honey Cakes.
The large kitchen became a hive of activity. It was a great atmosphere and we were having fun, but I think we all felt nervous by the idea of our desserts being judged later on. After what seemed like only a few moments, the desserts were in the oven and we were invited to sit down for a coffee tasting led by Thierry, Cafédirect’s resident coffee expert. We learned about how coffees are tasted by the professionals, and how to get the true measure of a coffee’s fragrance, aroma, body and flavour by using a technique called cupping.
There were some self conscious giggles as we were encouraged to ‘slurp’ the coffees off the spoons in order to get the best of their flavours. There is so much more to coffee than I ever realised, and I learned that some of the finer single origin coffees are almost as highly prized as fine wines.
And then it was time for the judging of our desserts by André, the Head Chef of L’atelier des Chefs and Thierry from Cafédirect. We all rushed round plating up our creations. April whipped up a glaze for our cakes, and we sprinkled mixed spice over top to give them some colour.
We had some very stiff competition….
so we were very pleased and surprised when our cakes won!
The lovely people from Cafédirect gave both April and I each a huge hamper containing all the teas, coffees and cocoa products they make. We were absolutely delighted. However, no one went home empty-handed, and goody bags containing lots of lovely Cafédirect products were given to everyone when they left.