Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Odd-ysey (aka The Return to Zumbo).

I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to get Adriano Zumbo down on a couch. No, no no. Not the sort of couch you lascivious little lot have in mind, Jesus, I really need a less gutterminded readership. I mean a shrink's couch. You know the kind I am talking about: dark room, padded floor, dim lighting, me sitting back in a chair (the cushy expensive kind that can lean right back) with a notebook, pen poised, legs crossed, all a personified question mark. Beckoning him, in a serious, professional murmur to get comfortable, to sink in, to relax, to close his eyes and to think...think back to where it all began, the very first of flavours, the very first of memories...the brilliant, the burgeoning, the burnt toffeed beginning...

...Oh, My. Cake + Knifelings, each and every tantalizing time I am gifted by the lusciously oddball, edible brain babies of this incomprehensible, indomitable imagination, I begin to wonder. I wonder about the mind that the imagination dwells within, and all of the things that make it turn and tick, and most of all trick. Because this is straight up FoodSugarSexMagik, and yet another visit to the Darling Road Patisserie and Cafe have left me this enduring impression. What's it like, deep in there, Adriano? Way out back? In the far recesses of your sugar mad mind? Bottomless bowls of kooky candy? Honeyed caramel chandeliers and shag pile carpeting made from silky, vanilla-ed meringue? I guess we'll never know...

Your combinations are anything and everything, from the dazzling and the dangerously bizarre, to the downright ridiculous, and this new collection reiterates that HighUpInTheSkyApplePie Set standard. Some of the concoctions are the culinary equivalent of having a tiny, caffeinated Jet Li pulling crazy and erratic martial arts moves in your mesmerized mouth, you don't even see the next move coming. Try sampling the treats before you read their ingredients, it makes for a more innocent and astounding experience. Half the fun is stumbling over the more subtle flavours after getting lusciously slapped in the mouth with the heady fullness of others.

Zumbo is not all fun and sass, though, there is a lot of palpable meaning and heart that flows from the mind, through the hands and into the creations. Each and every dessert is like a little autobiography, there are stories in all of them, private jokes too. It's deliciously referential food. Oh, Adriano. We are eating your story and we are living and loving every teeny, tiny bite. Zumbo's genius comes from an overwhelming absorption of ideas that is brilliantly comprehensive, he has always thought outside and beyond the Cake Box. Mundane, Every Day Type LunchBox Like flavours are ruthlessly reincarnated when paired with something more sophisticated or exotic, or when presented in a form we would never expect them in. It's HighBrowLowBrow cake, and I would never have it any other way.

If this were the 19th Century, they would erect statues of you, Adriano, in all of the market places. They would sing songs in your name. The King would commission all of the best poets from all over the kingdom to compose humbly in your honour, and they would be weaving and winding words that echoed the vivid and boundless sweetness of your fluid flavours. 

It may be 2009, (and I can't sculpt or sing to save my life) but like that was ever going to stop me. Adriano, this one's for you...

Once Upon A Time, There may have been cake,

But never the sort, That made you violently shake.

Oh, the gluttons did sulk, and the gluttons did weep -

'Til the oracle, he promised, but the blackest of sheep.

One in whose hands, sugar would breathe new soul,

Oh they heard the oracle, and they gobbled him whole.

Yet in a faraway land, this boy came to be.

To put a definitive end, to Sarah Lea.

A boisterous, a magical, a most fearless head,
And all just like the oracle said.
This head would come to be quite shorn,
Almost as much as the day it was born.
But beneath that scalp, so smooth and bald,
some of the greatest imaginings, would one day unfold.
The case, it was for but a dainty sake,
The cause was sweet and the cause was cake.
And so to dreary sponge, he turned his nose,
And this is how his story goes.

He looked up, Then he looked down,
Oh our Adriano, he looked all around.
For new ways, to make old chocolate sing.
And for passionfruited cream, to awaken to zing.
How else could caramel, cast its toffeed spell?
How could vanilla, so pure, be as sexy as hell?
Crazy ideas, from all over the place,
On just how to reinvent, The Stuffing Of Face.
He liked his dancing fruit, he loved his dangerous spice,
The toffee so sticky, the peanutbuttercream, so iced.
In every bow of rain shade, that boy macarooned,
And the gluttons they bit, and the gluttons they swooned.

In Chocolate, In Orange, in the Earlest of Grey!
The gluttons, they ran, there could be no delay.
Blackcurrent! so purple, of such lurid zest!
Or the popcorn in salted crunch, do i love thee best?
But there's pudding riced! And even cherry choc'ed,
Those hardy gluttons, they felt their appetites mocked.
How much more, did he expect them to take?
Their pancreases wanted him burnt, at the proverbial stake.
Pear! Mocha! Chestnuttedpassionfruit!
To Young Mr Zumbo, they groaned a foodie salute.
CaramelledSalt, oh, mandarins...
So many more macaroons, than dark, deadly sins.
So luscious, so gentle, so breathless to behold,
Forever adding to our bellies, yet another fold.
Oh, Macaroons! What about little cakes?
Then stop macarooning! for Goodness Sake.

Like a Lazarus, then, Into some Sugared Insomnia,
With a bit of escape, from a rainforest in Columbia.
She was gluten free, and so beauty-full
That flourless sponge in Chocolate, Oh, She made them drool,
Admist a DarkDarkDarkChocolatey disc, all a fizzy
And Cherry Cola Jelly, to make them dizzy.
CherryColaSlurp! Chocolate Sabayon Mousse!
The flesh of those gluttons! It was growing so loose!
They needed some action, Away from the ladle,
But along came Ed, and he rocked that cradle.
Cheesecaked, they were! In coffee and milk!
The gluttons, they knew they were of that ilk.
ChocolateCheeseCakeBase, CoffeeSoakedCaramelCreme,
In Italian meringue, it's a glutton's wet dream.

And Amanda Made The Cut, Or so it was said, 
And not a thing in this treat, For a taste bud to dread.
MilkedPassionedCaramelledMousse, With a Smack of Lime,
And PassionMarshmallowedCocoCrunchBrownie, a Caloried Crime.
From that wicked man, They could take no more!
Their bellies, so full, their pockets, so poor!
Nor once did it occur to those gluts, as into their beds they were tucked, 
That if he ever retired, they'd be totally....

Sinking To New Depths, That's how it done. Cheers, Adriano, Thanks for the Yum and the Fun. And to Erin P (or soon to be Erin M?), for a damn fine morning.

Zumbo still happens at 296 Darling Rd Balmain, 9810 7318. 8-6 Monday til Saturday, and 8-4 Sunday. For the original Zumbo piece, go here.

Don't let them eat cake, let you.


Karen | Citrus and Candy said...

Holy jebus, someone should be writing an ode to you for the way you write. Pure poetry.

You weave your words as dangerously as Zumbo weaves his magic on desserts.


Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Loved it. I'm sure Zumbo will too :)

Trisha said...

I am now a fan - both of you and of Zumbo (although I haven't tried the sweets yet, but after this post, I am now a convert).

Chris said...

"Odd-ysey" indeed! A lovely ode to Zumbo, you remind me I need to pay a visit again soon!

OohLookBel said...

What a way with words! And pictures.

e said...

I'm descending from the dizzying high of a Zumbo sugar rush and I delighted in every moment. Amanda makes the cut but the Strawberry and balsamic macaron took the cake ...
soontobemrserinm xx

amanda said...

thanks guys, those made me smile!

dannygoldstein said...

beautiful baby

Mardi Michels said...

Check out my blog on July 26th (I have post dated it as I will be away) for a Zumbo visit - thanks to your blog, I found macarons for my mum to try in Sydney!!! I don't write nearly as beautifully as you though...