Those with a sweet tooth have something to celebrate this Christmas. The Phoenicia Culinary Institute has been cooking up a whole host of festive treats for the winter menu, created by French pastry chef Laurent Allereau.Shared during a club tasting event Wednesday, the new offerings aim to put a fresh twist on traditional classics, blending familiar flavors with dashes of experimentation.
“We present some of our special edition desserts and sweets for Christmas, and we’re basically turning around to childhood, so we have fruit pastilles, nougat, pain d’epices (spiced rye flour and honey cakes) and Christmas loaf cakes,” Allereau said.
“We have the traditional Buche de Noel but with pistachio and cherry, and one with chestnut and whiskey.”
Ginger and chocolate loaf cakes are also on offer, alongside marzipan-filled stollen, nutty meringue drops, cinnamon cookies and mugs of mulled wine to wash them down.
A new take on the creamy Swiss roll seemed to be a winner with the crowd. “This is something totally different, to bring something new to the table,” Allereau said. “It’s made with passion fruit and mango, which is very refreshing at the end of a meal.
“At Christmas, we eat too much and it’s very heavy foods, so this ends with a very light, easy to eat dessert,” he added.
“People always want the same thing every year, because it’s memories and traditions, so to make something new is a big step to take.”
Launched alongside the tasting was the new Phoenicia Gourmet range, featuring handmade treats, cookies, chocolates and orange blossom macaroons, all neatly packaged to enjoy at home or for the perfect gift during the festive season.
The Phoenicia Culinary Institute is a recent project that hopes to expand in the coming year. Formed in April 2017, the institute aims to bring the Phoenicia’s culinary expertise to a new generation of chefs, both professional and amateur.
In addition to offering classes and workshops, the Phoenicia hopes to attract established chefs to Lebanon - both to hone their skills, and experiment with new techniques and flavors from the region.
“It’s a platform to raise the level of our chefs and to organize cooking trips, to be more interactive with our clients,” Phoenicia chef Frank Page told The Daily Star.
“We’ve been organizing two to three cooking sessions a month and will have trips. A month ago, we went to visit an olive oil company.
“Last week, we visited a place for gourmet mushrooms in Byblos and did a whole menu around mushrooms,” he added.
“We’re expecting more members in the coming year and to develop our talents more and give the right opportunities to become a great chef. We have an Italian chef now, so we want to include this cuisine and to extend to have other types of food too.”
This article has been adapted from its original source.
Copyright © 2019, The Daily Star. All rights reserved.