Saturday, 8 December 2012

Week beginning December 10th - What we did one night

When I started working in hospitality, one of the great training days you always looked forward to was wine tasting, especially in Hospitality College as a 20 year old from the outer suburbs whose taste for alcohol had mainly consisted of bogan Aussie beer and cask wine. Yay! Wine! In class!

The poor lecturer, trying to teach us all about the different varieties, regions, styles and of course taste and aroma. Anyone who has done this will probably remember their first time too. Lecturer 'now, what does the wine taste like?' Student ' Grapes!' (fall down laughing)

The palate over time adjusts and learns to identify with different flavours and of course in many ways the same is with coffee. But when you start off, it is also very hard to pick out all the amazing flavour profiles that a well made coffee does produce. Lecturer 'what does this coffee taste like?' Student 'Coffee!' (fall down laughing)

But when you start to get it, when that memory or taste sensation picks something out and hits you and you are like 'wow, that really tastes like strawberries!'. it's amazing.

So the other night, two of our baristas Shaun and Blazej conducted a training session to help develop our taste palates and it was one of the best training sessions we have had. It reminded me of the days when our wine lecturer brought in straw and grass and oak and tobacco to help us recognise these qualities in what we were drinking.

They made up 12 different solutions with water, which all had a different taste profile, lemons, apples, bananas, hazelnuts, cherries, chocolate etc etc. We then had a form to fill in and had to taste each solution and try to pick what the flavour was from 1 to 12, moving down the line, slurping from our spoons. Not only that, but they put food colour dye into some of the solutions, so that we might 
be tasting and thinking blue water, but it tasted of bananas. Tricky. And we all ended up with blue tinged teeth.

Some of us got up to 7 out of 12, others only got three or four, but when we found out the answers and then tasted them again, that memory recognition kicked in and you knew that's what it was.

When we finished, we also did a blind tasting of four different hot chocolates and then we did six different beers. Really very interesting taste profiling the delerium tremens from Belgium against an English lager.

I do not believe it is that totally important in the grand scheme of things to be able to pick out for example the persimmon flavour in an espresso, what is important is that it just tastes really amazing, was served efficiently and professionally and that you enjoyed the overall experience. But when you do get that flavour recognition, or your staff do, and their faces light up with enthusiasm, that is a wonderful thing indeed.

Enjoy the menu this week, because we have enjoyed making it and will enjoy serving it to you.

Traditional bircher muesli with rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.50
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses and rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.50
Fruit salad (pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passionfruit, peach) 3.70
(add 30 p for granola or yogurt)
Ciabatta roll with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 4.90
Ciabatta roll with courgette omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 4.90
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach & plum tomatoes 4.90
Croissant with gruyere cheese and plum tomatoes 4.00
Seven seed bakery bloomer toast with homemade preserves 1.70
Coffee, cherry and walnut toast 2.30
Banana bread 2.40

Porridge - Served with rhubarb and raspberry compote, chopped nuts, muscovado sugar, golden syrup or honey 3.00

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissants 1.80
Pain au chocolat 2.40
Almond croissants 2.80

Baked Treats
Raspberry and White Chocolate sweet muffins 2.20
Red Onion, Gruyere, Mustard and Thyme savoury muffins 2.20
Red Current friands 2.20
Super moist chocolate brownies 2.40
White chocolate blondies 2.40
Portuguese tarts 2.00
ANZAC cookies 1.80
Whoopie pies 1.80
Christmas Mince Pies 2.00

Soup - Chicken, Ginger and Spelt 4.50

French retro baguettes 4.90
Ham, Apple Butter, Gruyere, Gherkin, Rocket
Smoked Salmon, Lime Soft Cheese, Cucumber, Red Basil, Watercress

Foccacias with sea salt and rosemary crust 5.00
Turkey, Brie, Cranberry and Orange Jelly, Spinach
Mushroom, Chestnut Stuffing, Onion Marmalade, Mature Cheddar, Rocket

Salads 5.50/6.50
Slow Roasted Beef with Black Mustard Leaf, Pear and Gorgonzola
French Yellow and Green Beans with White Wine, Tomato and Butter Sauce, Garnished with Toasted Almonds
Brussels Sprouts slowly braised in cider, with cobnuts and rosemary

Tart 4.00 or 7.50 with salad
Ginger Pastry with Baked Lemon Ricotta and Golden Saxifrage

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