This man definitely knows how to A-cha-cha or two.
His name is James Sarcasmo, and you probably have seen him at the Paddy's market or the occasional farmers markets around Sydney during weekends. But little did you know that he is actually one of the first Achacha grower in Australia. Neither do I until a small contingent of food bloggers were invited to the media launch at the newly opened Baroque Bistro and Patisserie to get to find out everything about this golden amber fruit from the Amazon called Achacha.
Achacha (pronounced as Ahh-cha-cha), a native fruit to the Bolivian part in South America, is now commercially grown in Burdekin, North Queensland and the first harvest will hit the all the local fruit shops in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisband in Jan - Feb 2010. Countries like Hong Kong and Singapore will also have the opportunity to taste this exotic fruit some time next year.
What does it taste like? Achacha is from the same family and is similar taste to the mangosteen. I believe not many Australians are actually familiar with mangosteen. (~shame on you!) But then, I don't blame you as they are pretty expensive at $2 a pop last time I checked. The achacha has sweet white flesh with a flossy stone in each segment. There is also a delicate sorbet finish which reminds me of another tropical fruit called langsat.
At the launch, where we not only get to try the achacha fruit, but also presented with cocktails mixed with achacha, accompanied by Baroque canapes prepared by chef Yann Fontaine. We are soon greeted by three friendly "cha-cha" ladies dressed in leopard prints bikinis, kindly offering to show us how to eat a achacha. "Fingernails helped", as she makes an incision with her nail on the achacha's skin and splits it open, revealing the white flesh inside.
The goat cheese tarts are some cute delightful morsels, a nice crusty shell embedded with sweet confit cherry tomato resting on a dollop goat cheese which is surprisingly palatable.
Seems like I have missed out on the croque monsieur, toasted triangle sandwiches with gooey cheese melted all over on ham slices inside. Fortunately I get to try the duck rillettes eclairs to make up for it. The puffy choux pastry is jam packed with tender floss of duck rillettes and glazed with balsamic which has a sweet tang. It would be perfect if the eclairs are served straight out of the oven.
One of my favorites is the quiche tarts with escargots. The just-out-of-the-oven hot quiche tarts are soft and creamy while the tender escargot brings out an earthy undertone.
The gazpacho of red cabbage and green apple are a vivid hue of purple in shot glasses, with whipped cream floating on top. It has a very strong cabbage flavour which almost taste like garlic. The waitress introduced the cube of roquefort butter with brioche crumbs to everyone as the "marshmallow lollipop". I was expecting it to be something sweet but the strong pungent blue cheese flavour totally took me by surprise.
The desserts are the highlights of the night. No surprise at all since Baroque Bistro is the new bistro counterpart to one of the most popular patisseries in The Rocks, La Renaissance Patisserie. I feel like I was 3yo once again when the waitress brought out a full plate of dark glossy chocolate domes. The dark rich velvety chocolate ganache is sheer indulgence on every bite. But wait, there's also white chocolate dome!
I can feel Christmas is just around the corner. These vanilla bavarois in white chocolate domes are simply too pretty to be eaten. They tasted just as devine as its look!
Chef Yann Fontaine had also been playing with the idea of using Achacha as an ingredient in his work, and this achacha granita and jelly on chocolate sable biscuit is a perfect cool refreshing palate cleanser.
Keen an eye out for the achacha at your local markets in 2010. Grab a few if you can and get "a-cha-cha" with it!
[ A table for Two attended the media launch event courtesy of Achacha Australia. Thanks to Bruce and Andrew for invitation. ]
Baroque Bistro 88 George Street,
The Rocks Sydney
P: +61 (02) 9241 4811