Give me the chance to give you the latest list of must-gives as we head into the giving season.

Posted by & filed under Bakery, Booze, Dessert, Eat & Drink, Food/Wine Books, Foodie Diary, Greek, Produce, Wine.

Give me the chance to give you the latest list of must-gives as we head into the giving season.

Debonair Head Pastry Chef Pierre Gobert gave generously of his time during my recent grilling regarding his dangerously good macarons. Well, he does have more time than he used to! The shiny new Baroque Bistro Patisserie kitchen is equipped with a ‘depositor’ to lay out his little lids in two hours instead of nine hand-piping hours! This leaves him with more time to come up with exciting new parfums (flavours). After a liberal sampling, I can attest that Pierre’s macarons have an extraordinary depth of flavour. He makes the jasmine beauties from brewed jasmine tea! They transported me to my childhood – a hot summer night when the creeping waft of jasmine heralded the arrival of the southerly that would eventually cool us to sleep. It’s lucky you can buy them in boxes ($10 / 100g gives you four) because I was also captivated by both Olive Oil and Vanilla, and Salted Caramel. Pierre alluded to a “lemon explosion” in future months – my mouth already waters in anticipation.
88 George Street, The Rocks (02) 9241 4811

Give Aussie Cheese a Chance
Last month Slow Food International President (and founder) Carlo Petrini told a captivated audience at The Sydney Opera House: “We must allow Australian cheesemakers to make their cheese with raw milk. When you pasteurise milk you deprive it of its soul.” We already allow raw milk hard cheeses in from France and Italy, so it hardly seems fair that our own artisan cheesemakers are handicapped by not being allowed to make Australian cheese from raw Australian milk. Slow Food Australia will be petitioning the House of Representatives, but they need your help (and signature) to give Aussie cheesemakers a chance:


Cake Cures Kids
I’d raise my eyebrow (somewhat hopefully) at any suggestion that eating cake could cure sick kids, but on Saturday 5th December, 2009 it’ll actually be true! Young Chef Leanne Beck will be generously donating all proceeds from cakes sold at her Woolloomooloo bakery, Sweet Infinity, to the Sydney Children’s Hospital. Beck’s own childhood was full of wonderful Christmas memories so it seemed fitting to her to help out “kids who aren’t so fortunate and spend this special time of year fighting serious illness.” Buy up big at between 7am and 3pm!
Sweet Infinity, 53 Riley Street, Woolloomooloo.


Manly Gifts
George Calombaris needs no introduction; his cheeky smile was beamed into our lounge rooms night after night throughout the first thrilling series of MasterChef Australia. George’s new book, Greek Cookery from the Hellenic Heart (RRP $50.00) would be a great way to lure your own ‘master chef’ back into the kitchen. The recipes represent simple Greek home-style cooking, interspersed with photos from his convivial taverna, Hellenic Republic; and from George’s valued family time. I’ve left my copy open on Galaktoboureko (Milk Pie) as a broad hint.


Hats Off to Tharen’s
Fantasy, fun and fine food are on the menu for fifty parents of seriously ill children courtesy of Tharen’s. Owner/chef Bobby Jewell is working with the Starlight Children’s Foundation to enrich the lives of the parents with a three-course dining experience in the lead up to Christmas – much the same way that the Starlight Express Room does for their children. If you’re after a Christmas party venue of your own, his Parisian-inspired dining room makes for a rollicking good time.


Last Orders
After all that giving, you might need a drink. When I drink, I am partial to a bit of pink. The newly released Aja Blush (RRP $20) landed in my glass this week. It’s described as a ‘refreshingly sweet, lightly sparkling Moscato.’ Now I did a bit of probing, because it’s bigger than your average Moscato, and there’s a touch of Shiraz in the mix. I personally won’t be trading in my favourite easy-drinking picnic Moscato just yet, but I will be taking a bottle of this next time I eat at my local Thai. With Asian flavours caressing your palate, this inexpensive wine comes up roses!