Canelés at Seven Seeds

April 15, 2011

114 Berkeley Street, Carlton

Situation: Friday, law test on contracts at 10 am (It’s Friiiday, Friiiday, gotta get down on Friiiday. FUN FUN FUN FUN)

Time: 8-03 am.

Location: Law Building Foyer

State of being: hungry and sleep-deprived

Solution and subsequent action: displace self to Seven Seeds for coffee and pastry.

Coffee, as usual, was very good. No fault. Today I want to talk about what I ate.
While I was waiting in line to order my coffee, I looked across to their display case to see what baked goodies they were offering, and what should be sitting there all cosy-ed up but canelés – delicious, delicious canelés. To me they look a little bit like volcanos, but it’s open to your own interpretation. This is more of a cake than a pastry, really. It’s moist and soft inside, I think it’s a sort of custard. And it wasn’t very sweet, which was perfect for so early in the morning. The outside is slightly bitter, it’s got a burnt butter/toffee taste. Simply fantastic.

Without doubt the best thing about food is when that first, blissful bite reminds you instantly of something else, of a place, or a time, or a person. It’s such a wonderful thing, when food reminds you of something. Heston Blumenthal goes on and on about the fantastic ability of food to conjure such vivid memories and feelings. That’s exactly what my canelé from seven seeds did to me – it harked back to a family holiday in Normandy and, more specifically, to these scrumptious buttery pastries from a chocolate shop – caramelised and flakey on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. And so, so buttery. They’re semi-hard, not soft like a croissant, but not crunchy, just sticky and chewy and sweet. Incredible. I’ve included a photo at the end of this post.

This is the place in Honfleur, France. It’s called Maison Larnicol, and it is like a dream. Bowls of chocolates and  caramels and fêtons pâques and biscuits and macarons and galets and bonbons and amandes au chocolat. The pastry-like things I’m talking about are called Kouignettes, and they’re less cake as above and more pastry, sticky and chewy and rolled into little snails. And they come in different flavours – nature, framboise, chocolate, pistache, praliné, pomme, caramel au buerre salé, noix de coco, citron. I could have eaten bags and bags and bags of them.
In light of all this, all of these smells and tastes and memories streaming through my mind, suddenly studying contracts isn’t so dull after all!