Saturday, January 1, 2011

A farewell to 2010

Happy New Year everyone! Hope that you all got to farewell 2010 in whatever way made you happiest and that there was some good food and celebratory drinks thrown in for good measure. I had a fantastic New Year's Eve, deciding against the big party/crowd vibe and going for something a bit quieter and definitely tastier! We headed off to one of my very favourite Sydney restaurants - Restaurant Atelier - for a special NYE degustation menu.

We enjoyed Chef Darren Templeman's superb food, teamed with some pretty awesome wine selections. Being regular diners at Atelier over the years, I have got to know the staff as well as the Chef pretty well, and it is always lovely when you can walk into a place and feel so at home. They get to know what you like and they deliver it in spades. Last night when we arrived, we were warmly greeted by the lovely front of House Manager/ Sommelier/ Head Waiter Bernadette who advised us that she had reserved our favourite table for the occasion. It is just this kind of attention to detail and personal touches that make a visit to Atelier an absolute delight every time.

We kicked off our New Year celebrations with a glass of fine French champagne from Devaux -  a NV Devaux Blanc de Nouirs from Bar-Sur-Seine. Nothing says celebration like champagne and it was the perfect way to start ours!

Then, over the following hours we feasted on this stunning menu:

Alaskan Snow Crab & Mango Salad with a Spiced Mango Chilli Salsa, Unpasteurised Ocean Trout Roe & Baby Coriander
Served with Black Caviar on a Mother of Pearl spoon
Wine: 2009 Ocean Eight Pinot Gris, Mornington Peninsular, VIC

Twice-Cooked Boneless Poussin filled with Foie Gras &
Herb Mousse, Soy Bean Puree,
Yellow Oyster Mushroom Salad, Jus Gras
Wine: 2010 Massena Roussanne, Barossa Valley, SA

Roasted NZ Pure Angus Fillet with Confit carrot Puree, Fresh Peas 'Paysanne', King Brown Mushroom & Sweet Bread Croquettes
Wine: 2007 Mon Redon Rouge, Cotes du Rhone, France

Cheese plate: Ashgrove Cheddar (Aust)
Dolce Latte Gorgonzola (Italy)
Cremeaux (France)

Strawberry Jelly with Strawberry Espuma

Tropical Fruit Souffle, Ginger & Lime Leaf Milkshake, Coconut Sorbet
Wine: 2007 Grande Maison 'Cuvee des Anges', Monbazillac, France

What a wonderful way to see off the end of the year - and what a year it was! Thinking back over my culinary experiences alone, it was full of so many adventures and new tastes. For starters, it was the year that I fulfilled a long held dream to study cooking in Paris. May 2010 saw me happily ensconced in a kitchen in Montmartre, aproned up and learning from Master French Chef Pino Ficara. I walked out of there with a whole new enthiusiasm for food and for fresh produce, some new skills to add to my repitoire , including the ins and outs of cheesemaking, how to make creme patissiere and some of the finer points of French butchery! A truly life changing experience. Check my entries in May to read all about my culinary adventures in France.

2010 was also the year that I enjoyed what is probably the best meal I have eaten in my life so far - I finally got to experience the genius of Tetsuya Wakuda's amazing talents in the kitchen. What a memorable experience that was - made even more exciting by the appearence of the man himself during the final dessert course. (For a review of my experience at Tetsuya's, see my Enrty on November 25)

This year was a big year for travel - I visited 7 countries all up and everywhere there was amazing food. I ate fried crickets and grilled river snake on a stick in Cambodia, sat in the dirt on the side of the road eating delectable caramelised pork in Saigon, ate chilli for breakfast and real Korean Bulgolgi in Seoul, drank cocktails from teapots in an Alice in Wonderland themed bar and devoured beautiful jade green New Zealand mussels in Wellington, sipped whisky on the banks of Loch Ness as I enjoyed the finest Scottish seafood, delighted in raspberries warm from the sun on the steps of Sacre Coeur and Confit of Duck, raw milk cheese and Cafe au lait in Paris and ate the best kebab in the world in Stoke Newington, London. There were just so many special food moments this year and so many of them were the result of my travels. I am very grateful to have had such wonderful opportunities this year.

I would like to thank all of you who have visited Gourmet Goddess this year, and who have offered feedback and comments, cooked my recipes, sent me jokes, shared your own cooking adventures and have generally encouraged me all the way. I have really enjoyed putting my love of food and all things culinary out there, and I have been blown away by the number of visitors to my site from all around the world - more than 20,000 to date. Thank you for sharing Gourmet Goddess with me, you make it all such a pleasure.

Can't wait to see what 2011 will bring!

Love to you all

AKA The Gourmet Goddess


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