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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

Last year, a pop-up bakery took Vancouver by the storm with a cookie made with the Asian White Rabbit candy. This summer, Chef Andrew Han turned his pop-up into a cafe. Kouign Cafe is now open in Chinatown.

Since its opening, many have followed the white rabbit and tried the various cookies and pastries Kouign Cafe has to offer. The original vision for the cafe was to offer dine-in options with the addition of sandwiches and beverages. At this point, they are only offering pastries to go. I suspect Chef Han’s plan, like many others, was disrupted by COVID-19. The shop has been very popular, though, and some items would even be sold out before closing. While I was in the area, I swung by and purchased one of everything that was available at that time. I’ve never bought pastries from their pop-up shop before so this would be my first time trying them.

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Ever since our Taiwan trip last November, I’ve been thinking about those tasty yam and taro balls from Jiufen. They were bouncy, chewy, and full of yam and taro flavour. You can find them here at Taiwanese restaurants such as Meet Fresh and Sweet Memory, but the texture just wasn’t the same. The ones here tend to be softer and you can’t really taste the root vegetables. Now that we are home all the time, we looked up different recipes to make these taro and yam balls. Turns out it’s not complicated at all and super easy to make. You can adapt it to other root vegetables or even red and mung beans. After a couple of tests and some adjustments, we finally came up with a recipe that worked to our liking.

Here is the recipe to make three flavours of these chewy balls, using purple yam, yam and taro. All three flavours follow the same instructions but the measurement of ingredients varies because of the water content of the root vegetables. In fact, we found that you don’t need to add water to the yam one, but more tapioca flour is needed. You will need to gauge the use of water and tapioca flour as you make the dough.

Ingredients

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When it comes to fruits, we always choose what’s seasonal, and when possible, local. Recently I discovered muscat grapes from Chile, and I must say, I love these grapes. And it’s not even being made into wine!

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The Chilean Muscat is now in season, till about early May. I got them as part of the Signature Farm Box at Kin’s Farm Market, where for $60 you receive a box full of high quality, fresh produce.

The Chilean Muscats are nice and round, with a beautiful gradient from green to pink. The grapes are very juicy, and it’s sweet and floral. The fruit may be on the smaller size but it’s super easy to eat. I think I ate the entire bunch in one seating!Obviously, these would make a great addition to a charcuterie board, or simply snacking on them with a few cubes of aged cheddar. I also found suggestions online about grape salads or bruschetta. I was trying to come up with other interesting ways to enjoy the grapes, and here are two things I did:

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Another hot chocolate stop I’ve made was Chez Christophe in Burnaby. I remember meeting Christophe at a work conference years ago when he was doing cooking demonstration. That was before he opened his shop in Burnaby. Since then, I’ve been there a few times for pastries, but this was my first time trying their hot chocolate fest creations.

Both of Chez Christophe’s creations are inspired by popular fantasy stories. First, the Ruby Slippers was true to its name, donning a pretty hue of pink thanks to the use of ruby chocolate. I could taste the fruity, acidic note in ruby, combined with the fragrant, floral note of rose water. The two notes actually complemented each other very well. The ruby covered macadamia nuts were a nice combo of sweet and salty.

The Golden Genie was a tumeric white hot chocolate with turmeric, served with a macaron with caramel cardamom ganache.

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While Dine Out Vancouver is happening, did you know there’s also Hot Chocolate Festival? In fact, this is the 10th annual Hot Chocolate Festival. 44 different locations offering more than 110 flavours over a 4-week period, up until Valentine’s Day. Of course, I take this opportunity every year to discover local chocolatiers and find whimsical, creative hot chocolates.

First stop this year is the new 1931 Gallery Bistro at the Vancouver Art Gallery. They have recently renovated the bistro space upstairs from the art gallery and renamed it. They are also part of Dine Out Vancouver but I thought its $45 menu wasn’t quite worth it and they didn’t make it on my list.

Anyway, onto the hot chocolates. I was very intrigued because all their creations were inspired by art. Unfortunately, they were having technical difficulty so at the time of my visit they could only offer 2 of the 4 creations listed on the official website. As per my usual, I ordered one of each.

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