Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Phillippa's Evening of Easter Treats

Phillippa's hot cross buns and candied orange peel

Phillippa's
15 Howey Place
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9671-4030

Last night I attended an evening event at Phillipa's CBD store in Howey Place, showcasing her well-regarded breads and Easter treats.

As you will know, I love entertaining and cooking for friends, (really Sarah, really?), and one of my favourite aspects of attending these bloggery/media events - apart from tasting new foods, of course - is seeing a party come together, and being inspired by the little touches that go towards making an event special and unique.


The table was set up in a rustic fashion, complete with wooden boards and charmingly mis-matched crockery, old-fashioned tea towels, vibrantly purple irises, tealights and beeswax candles.  I loved the bounteousness of the spread - whole boules and loaves of bread; a giant hunk of gorgonzola; big pyramids of bread and butter, all cut up and ready to be eaten; and piles of hot cross buns and chocolate truffles.


These rather gigantic round loaves (boules), inspired by the loaves at Poilâne in Paris, take longer to rise than a smaller loaf, which, according to Phillippa, means the finished product has more complex flavours.


Soft Paris Creek butter with organic sourdough boule? Don't mind if I do!

I must admit that prior to this event, I wasn't too familiar with Phillippa's breads, and appreciated the opportunity to try out the range.  When I was younger I often ate the green olive pane Toscano (a rustic white loaf studded with green olives), but seem to have stopped eating it over the years as I developed a taste for darker, more toothsome, hearty breads.

The boules were delicious, as was the 100% rye sourdough, which got the "It-tastes-like-real-bread" tick of approval from German Sandra.  I also liked the fig and anise sourdough, which, whilst a little too intense for me to eat on its own, would be great on a cheese platter. 

As it was an evening event, drinks were on hand, poured by Bress' winemaker Adam Marks.

Now that I'm a cider afficionado (hee-hee), I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try a new one, and I really enjoyed the refreshing Harcourt Valley Cider Brut.  Phillippa partnered with Bress for the evening because they share a similar outlook and philosophy on food and winemaking - focusing on traditional, age-old methods.


Some delicious canapes were on offer that night, each one using a different bread from the Phillipa's range as a crostini-style base.  I thought this was a rather elegant way of showcasing the breads - letting everyone try the different varieties, without filling up on bread, as it were!

Vinefruit & Rosemary bread - duck rillettes, cornichons & apple chutney

Olive Toscano bread - steak tartare & fried baby capers
I often find the intensity of steak tartare overwhelming as a whole dish, but in bite-sized canapes on a crispy base, it was just perfect.

Organic Sourdough - scallop ceviche, roast pear & red endive

Wheatmeal Bread - salt cod brandade, preserved lemon & fried basil

Fig & Anise Sourdough - whipped goat's fetta, fig, orange & mint

Pane Francese Naturale - truffled cannellini beans, shimeji mushrooms & fried sage
Fried sage!!  I thought the tiny wedge of candied orange was an unusual addition, but it really perked up the earthy flavours of the mushrooms and truffled beans.

Pane Francese Rye - crab spiced hummus, bacon crumbs & rock chives
I wouldn't have thought to add crabmeat to hummus, but they matched well, with the graininess of both chickpeas and crabmeat complimenting each other.  Bacon crumbs and chives were a (huge) bonus.

Mini Phillippa's Hot Cross Bun puddings
These puddings, whilst small, were very decadent, with a layer of rich, smooth custard underneath the hot cross bun.  I'd love to have a go making these - but I never, ever, have leftover hot cross buns!


Here's that hunk of gorgonzola I mentioned earlier, to be slathered on the pain d'épices (gingerbread) and drizzled with gorgeous chestnut honey.  (It was also pretty delicious spread generously with that Paris Creek butter!)

Yum...
Pain d'épices, gorgonzola, chestnut honey

Simnel Cakes
The very traditional Simnel Cake - a fruit cake topped with 11 marzipan balls to represent the true disciples of Jesus.  As far as I'm aware, Phillippa's is the only commercial producer of these cakes in Melbourne.  In fact, the only other place I've seen them is in books.  (Nigella's Feast, to be precise.)

Chocolate truffles

Honey Bunny biscuits

Below we have the very passionate and dedicated Phillippa Grogan herself, speaking about the Easter range and the Phillippa's philosophy.  She was really lovely in person, and a great host - making time to talk to everyone, making introductions, and ensuring sure we were all well fed.  (And as you can see from the above pictures, we definitely were!)


Incidentally, I found a interesting interview with Phillippa and her husband Andrew on breadmaster Dan Lepard's website, which gives some insight into the trials and tribulations that Phillippa and Andrew have faced in growing and developing the business - a great read.

Thanks to Phillippa and the team for putting on a great night!

Phillippa's on Urbanspoon

Sarah attended Phillipa's Easter event as a guest.

5 comments:

hungryandfrozen said...

Love the sound of those breads! I enjoy a good dense dark bread too these days. Looks like Phillippa definitely knows what she's doing :)

Nic@diningwithastud said...

Everything looks delicious! Especially those rillettes. AND the amount of butter :) love it haha

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