Saturday, February 22, 2014

Cooking up Cacao with Christian Faure

Cacao Barry's ambassadors are known for their exceptional master chocolatier skills and artistically creative talent in pastry. And Christian Faure is no exception.  He makes the most complicated desserts look easy to create, and can instantaneously turn a simple cake into a beautifully layered masterpiece. Anyone who has stepped into his pastry shop, Maison Christian Faure in Montreal, or attended his pastry school will tell you so.

Mr. Faure also has a very impressive resume.  He has worked in pastry at many of France's top hotels, and later became the  Executive Pastry Chef at the Hotel Royal Riviera Palace. More recently, he has showcased his talents at the VIP villages of two past Olympic Games and was also guest of honor at the G8 G20 Summit in Toronto. And he was awarded with the ‘Best Pastry Chef of the World” title by The American Academy for Hospitality Sciences" (ref).

To top it all off, Mr. Faure divulged during the demonstration that he sculpts ice on the weekends!  Now that is a man overflowing with creative talent!

So when I was invited by Cacao Barry to attend a demonstration by Christian Faure last Wednesday, I excitedly jumped in the car and made the seven-hour trip from Manitoulin Island to Toronto. And I can tell you that it was worth the drive!

Christian Faure wowed the large group that filled Humber College's auditorium with several chocolate demonstrations. He started the class with a dark chocolate ganache using fresh blackcurrant purée (purée de cassis). Then he very quickly made large chocolate 'petals' that were to be filled with the spongy flourless chocolate cake and luscious chocolate mousse that he demonstrated next. By the end of the class he put everything together to create a beautiful cake that looked like a chocolaty flower on a plate. And by adding Italian meringue pieces, icing sugar and beautiful chocolate fans, he created a winter-style cake masterpiece layered with richness beyond the imagination.

At the end of the class, we tasted some of the delicious treats.  My only regret was that I could not taste the chocolate crème Anglais that he magically made in the last 15 minutes of class (I knew I should have swiped a jar when I had the chance!).  I guess I will have to make the 10-hour drive to the Maison Christian Faure shop in Montreal for that experience. Or I will just have to learn to make it myself.

Overall, Cacao Barry hosted a lovely seminar and treated us to an abundance of chocolate for tasting, including the new Purity from Nature line of fine chocolate, as well as organic and regular origin chocolate. I will write another article in the coming days about Cacao Barry's chocolate - available to both professionals and amateur chocolatiers and bakers through online suppliers like www.vanillafoodcompany.ca.

For more information on Maison Christian Faure in Montreal or the man himself, visit: http://maisonchristianfaure.ca/en/.

There are a few more pictures on the Maison Christian Faure Facebook page, including one of me getting my picture taken with Mr. Faure: see here.

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