Apart from the Asian Pastry Cup, the Food & Hotel Asia 2012 also played host to a series of culinary events like the Imperial Challenge, an international Chinese banquet culinary competition highlighting the finest of Chinese cuisine where top chefs specialising in chinese cuisine pit their skills against each other. There’s also the FHA Barista Challenge which aims at advancing the barista profession. And there’s FHA Culinary Challenge which has several categories – Dress the Cake, Free-style Wedding Cake, Petit Fours and Pralines, Plated Desserts, Plated Hot and Cold Appetisers as well as Chocolate and Sugar showpieces. All the competitions were going on concurrently so there’s no way one’s able to attend all these altogether. The FHA Culinary Challenge is held in the same hall as the Asian Pastry Cup so it seemed the most logical for me to swing over for a look. And I’m so glad that I did! Many many inspiring creations which one can analyse and admire up close, literally just inches from the competition pieces. Jamming my lens into them as I shot away, I could literally smell the aroma of all that chocolate and fruit, raging those salivary glands, on the brink of an outburst. Alas its can see, can smell but cannot touch. So near but yet so far, life can be such a bitch!
There’s very description on the pieces as I did not take photos of the tags that came with them. But do enjoy their designs, some of which are the most intricate that I’d seen so far. Hopefully you would be inspired by them as I have. 🙂
This is the beginning of a series of reviews meant to be up much much later. Well, they really ought to have been done up long time ago. Life’s such an irony I know. Just earlier, I read an entry on someone’s visit to Pierre Herme in Paris and his take on the French pastry master’s macarons, analogising it to one of life’s many first times, those viriginal encounters which change one’s perspective of things and never to look back at the old ways again. That most certainly struck a chord which resonated deep within as I recall those precise moments, one of which was fairly recent. Not with Pierre Herme though, but at Sadaharu AOKI’s dessert boutique in Taipei last year.
We planned the trip way before the actual date, as we do with most of our overseas excursions, ensuring that our itineraries would allow us to maximise the experience with the minimal amount of time we had. Been to Taiwan for a number of times now, this was my first visit to experience the country’s pastisserie scene. We had a number of places in mind, from smaller and more local dessert shops and cafes, to international names like Joel Robuchon and Jean Paul Hevin’s joints which recently anchored in Taipei. However, top on our list were the two dessert salons by Sadaharu Aoki. As some of you already know, I’m a big fan of his work, with attempts to reconstruct some of his creations. But his pastries and desserts remain elusive and somewhat mysterous, with very little recipes in circulation. Even those which are going around the internet and even publications are somewhat dubious in terms of their genuinity. So this trip to Taipei was the perfect opportunity to experience firsthand how his masterpieces are like. And sampling we most certainly did. This would definitely go down as one of life’s many first times. Konnichiwa Aoki san, Hajimemashite, dozo yoroshiku onegaishimasu!