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.
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.
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.