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I never actually got a chance to visit La Belle Miette on Hardware Lane in the city since my work place is so far out. Luckily, they had a pop-up store in Chadstone Shopping Centre before Christmas. I believe it’s still there but I’m unsure as I haven’t ventured to Chadstone SC for a few months.

I’ve heard good reviews about their macarons so it seemed like a great opportunity to give these ones a try. At the pop-up store, they had quite a number of flavours, I think around 15. Some of your standard like Vanilla and Hazelnut but some very interesting ones which you’ll see below.

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Here we have the Raspberry flavoured macaron, it was pleasant tasting as it had a slight tanginess to the filling with a crispy and soft inside. Nothing too out of the ordinary though. Luxbites Raspberry macaron I felt was way more flavourful and had a very nice zing (probably due to the fresh raspberries).

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Here’s where it gets interesting, La Belle Miette’s Bastille has a  Moet et Chandon and Blackcurrant filling which was absolutely delicious. You can really taste the champagne in the cream, and my golly do I love it. The blackcurrant jelly adds texture and berry sweetness which is delightful to eat.

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La Belle Miette calls this one the Mariage Freres Earl Grey Chocolate and the tea flavour is strong in this one. If you like that slightly musty tea leaves taste (Earl Grey basically) you will definitely like this one. The chocolate isn’t too sweetness, I think they use dark chocolate or a higher percentage cocoa which in my opinion is preferable. I never really like milk chocolate all that much.

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For something a little more tropical, they have a Mango and Coconut macaron, I found the mango tasted a bit artificial but I would think they would use real mangos to make the filling. So I’m not sure why it tasted a a bit off. This coconut flavour was quite nice, it complements the mango well. A tad pina colada so it’s not really to my liking.

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While I was tasting this I was like what am I eating? Several minutes later, ding! POMEGRANATE. They call this Pimm’s & Pomegranate and I don’t really know what to think of it. It certainly isn’t too sweet, it has that fruity flavour but over than that I wasn’t too overly excited by it.

Impressions

I say La Belle Miette macarons are one of the better ones around. I do really enjoy the variety of macarons and that Moet macaron, although is pricier then the rest is one of my favourite macarons ever. Give them a try because they are bite sized punches of flavour.

La Belle Miette on Urbanspoon

La Belle Miette

Melbourne CBD

30 Hardware Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000

Chadstone Shopping Centre

Malvern East VIC 3145 (Next to Seed/Sass & Bide)

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I heard so many good things about LuxBite that I had to force myself (not too hard, obviously) to make my way to their South Yarra location. LuxBite serves primarily sweet desserts and confectionary, but they also serve coffee, breakfast and lunch too! What makes LuxBite slightly different is that they have a slight Asian influenced to some of their desserts, for example one of their macarons has a Kaya filling. Kaya is a Malaysian term for Coconut Jam and homemade Kaya is absolutely delicious.

Their store is quite close by to South Yarra station, so it makes it convenient for those without cars or car-averse.

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In the above picture, hopefully you can see their selection of macaron flavours. There are your popular flavours such as Salted Caramel and Hazelnut have more interesting flavours like Rose and Ribena Lemonade.

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Their store has quite a number of sweet delights to choose from, with many having that French flair ala Elcairs as shown at the bottom of the image.

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It was really hard to choose a couple of desserts to try because they have so many on offer! We were still heading towards the city for the day so I couldn’t choose anything that needed to go to the fridge quickly so that helped.

As shown above, we chose the Chocolate Hazelnut Macaron. It’s this plus sized macaron with chunks of hazelnut pieces and a hazelnut and chocolate ganache. I quite enjoyed the macaron, it’s as you would want from a macaron. Crispy, slightly chewy and sweet. The hazelnut flavour of the chocolate and nuts really helped blend everything together. A real treat.

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We chose the interesting Lemonade Ribeena and Kaya Toast macarons. The Kaya Toast macaron has kaya as it’s filling. I think it’s homemade, but their kaya was unfortunately too sweet for my liking. I would even have preferred the Kaya jam jars you can buy from an Asian grocer with pandan. Even that jam is less sweet. For those that haven’t tried Kaya before may like it though but for me it lacked the coconut flavour and was way too sweet to be enjoyable.

The Lemonade Ribena on the otherhand was very interesting. It has this cream based lemonade flavour filling but inside there is what I believe (or remember) a small Ribena jelly cube. The Ribena jelly was delicious and made that macaron one of my favourites because it had such a pleasant flavour and was different to things I’ve tried before.

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Last on my list was LuxBite’s Lychee Raspberry Macaron. I love all things Lychee too so I couldn’t help to be intrigued by a Lychee and Raspberry Macaron, plus it looked amazing.

Inside this macaron, there is a whole lychee, but the salmon pink filling as you can see in the image was also slightly Lychee flavoured. The combination of the sweetness of Lychee along with the sourness of the icing sugar dusted Raspberries worked a treat. It melded together really well as the freshness of the Raspberries cut through that sweetness of basically everything else. A joy to eat.

Impressions

LuxBite impresses with its well crafted pieces that look amazing and taste great too. It’s no wonder people keep coming back for more. I really do recommend giving LuxBite a try.

LuxBite on Urbanspoon

LuxBite (Menu)

38 Toorak Road
South Yarra VIC 3141

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 I love lemons and when I make something new, if there is a way to add lemons to it I will. I made Lemon Macarons with Lemon Curd and they turned out quite well if I don’t say so myself. I remember making macarons again and again but never could get those damned feet until I switched to the Italian Meringue method. This was my only success with French Meringue. Check out the recipe from Tartelette Blog with the Lemon Curd recipe from Taste.com.au.

Lemon Macarons (Tartelette Blog) with Lemon Curd

French Meringue Macarons

Ingredients

Makes 50 to 60 shells, for 25 to 30 filled macarons.
2¾ cups (8.8 ounces/250 grams) almond flour
2¾ cups (12.4 ounces/350 grams)
powdered sugar
1 cup egg whites (from 7 or 8 eggs),
at room temperature
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons powdered egg whites, if weather is humid
¾ cup (5.3 ounces/150 grams) superfine granulated sugar
5 to 7 drops gel paste food coloring (optional) (I used 2 teaspoons lemon zest instead)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (325°F for a non-convection oven) 150°C, and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Blend the almond flour with the powdered sugar in your food processor to make a fine powder (or sift together, discarding any large crumbs and adding a bit more almond flour and powdered sugar as needed to compensate). Then sift the mixture through a strainer until it is as fine as you can get it. This keeps crumbs from forming on the macaron tops as they bake.

3. With the wire whip attachment on the electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt and the powdered egg whites (if you are using them), starting slowly and then increasing speed as the whites start to rise. Add the granulated sugar and the food coloring. Beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks and your meringue is firm and shiny.

4. Pour the beaten egg whites onto your almond flour mixture and gently fold them in, using a rubber spatula. Move your spatula from the bottom of the bowl to the edges with one hand, using your other hand to rotate the bowl. Now slap the sides of the bowl until the batter falls in a wide ribbon when you raise your spatula. When you can’t see any crumbs of almond flour and the mixture is shiny and flowing, you are ready to start piping.
The French have a special word—macaronner—to describe the physical action of mixing all the ingredients for macarons. This has to be done by hand. You cannot do it with your mixer—you must be able to feel the consistency of the macaron batter.

5.  Fit your pastry bag with a number 8 tip and fill with batter. Start by squeezing out a small amount of mix onto a parchment-lined baking sheet to form a 2½-inch circle. Be sure to leave 1 inch of space between macarons so they will not touch each other while they bake.
If the peak that forms on the top of the macaron does not disappear after piping, it means the batter could have been beaten a little more. Tap the baking sheet on the tabletop, making sure to hold the parchment paper in place with your thumbs.
Let the piped macarons rest for 15 minutes.

6. Bake for 14 minutes at 300°F/ 150°C. After the first 5 minutes, open the oven door briefly to let the steam out.
Let the macarons cool completely on a rack before taking them off the parchment paper. Press the bottom of a cooled baked macaron shell with your finger; it should be soft. If the bottom of the shell is hard, reduce the baking time for the rest of your macarons from 14 minutes to 13 minutes.
Using a pastry bag requires some practice. It may seem awkward at first, but you’ll soon get the hang of it.

Prepare the bag (if it hasn’t been used before) by cutting about 2 inches off the narrow end—just enough so that when you insert a number 8 decorating tip, about a third of the tip extends outside the bag. Push the tip firmly in place and spoon in your filling, leaving enough room at the top to twist the bag shut. It is best to fill the bag with half of the batter at a time, that way it is not too heavy. To make it easier to fill your pastry bag, place it upright in an empty jar or other straight-sided container. This will help steady the bag while you fill it with batter.
Squeezing the bag slowly, pipe each macaron shell out in a single dollop. Lift the bag quickly to finish.

Lemon Curd (Taste.com.au)
Ingredients
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar (Half sugar to 80g)
1/3 cup (80g) chilled unsalted butter
Zest and juice of 2 lemons

Method
1. Whisk whole eggs, yolks and sugar in a saucepan until smooth, then place pan over a low heat.
2. Add the butter, juice and zest and whisk continuously until thickened. Strain through a sieve into a sterilised jar. Lemon curd keeps, covered, in the fridge for 2 weeks.

Impressions

This was the first time I made macarons and they came out with feet! I don’t know what happened with the proportions for the shell because I recall reducing the icing sugar to half but it ended up extremely sweet anyway! Maybe I didn’t reduce the sugar at all haha. I loved the lemon curd, it was perfectly sweet and sour with that lemon aftertaste tang. Lovely.

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I’ve already reviewed Gânache Chocolate Macarons, now it’s time to try their cakes. Well… cake (no s) for the time being. One step at a time!

I bought the above pictured cake at their Collins Street, Melbourne CBD store. I heard from a few friends that their Passionfruit cake is pretty darn good but I was instantly drawn to their Hazelnut Fan Slice aka Hazelnut Mousse Cake. Being a fan of both Hazelnut for its tasty nutty flavour, and mousse as it’s so soft, light and delicate it seemed like a fantastic combination with chocolate.

Their mousse cake has a couple of layers as your can see. The bottom layer is this biscuit base that has elements of nuts mixed through it, I found it to be absolutely delicious. They call it a sponge but I usually identify sponge as light and fluffy, but this seemed more like biscuit to me.

The next layer is a hazelnut praline, which is basically soft hazelnut chocolate that’s similar in texture to Nutella. Hazelnut overload yet? I think not!

Apparently there is a layer of Paillete feuilletine, which I have had no experience in tasting nor could I recall eating it but it was there…I think.

The next layer, more like huge chunk, is the chocolate mousse which was beautifully light and melts in your mouth instantly. It’s what I’d call a perfect mousse.

The top layer is a chocolate glaze that is so soft and tasty, it really just blends well altogether. As edible decoration on top, we have a tempered chocolate curl that has that fantastic snap required. To finish the whole dessert off, there is hazelnut pieces to complete the Hazelnut cake.

Impressions

I’ve got to hand it to them, they really know how to create a cake for Hazelnut and Chocolate lovers. It’s almost as if this dessert was made just for me!

The mousse along with that strong hazelnut flavour really creates this pleasant not too overly sweet treat. Of course it’s sweet, but it’s not sickly sweet. Now I’m really tempted to try their Mango/Passionfruit cake for a less rich option.

Ganache Chocolate on Urbanspoon

Gânache Chocolate

245 Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000

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In Rye, across from the pier, there are a couple of ice-cream stores ready to fulfil your sweet desires. Cold Rock Ice-Creamery is one of the notable stores, but appears Vulcano Gelato has won the hearts (and mouths) of many visitors and locals alike.

You can see droves of people entering this very pink store but when looking in the other ice-cream stores, they are almost bare. I’ve taken some pics of the range of flavours below. Take a look!

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Vulcano Gelato serves a great variety of gelato and ice-cream flavours, most are your standard flavours you’ll find amongst most gelato stores.

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In this picture, you can see their own flavour, aptly called Vulcano. I didn’t get a chance to try it but it appears to be a choc full and looks likes devilishly rich.

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As you can see there are your nice chocolate flavours, yogurt, mango, coffee etc.

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I tried their Hazelnut and Pistachio flavours, being a nut flavoured ice-cream fan myself. Their Hazelnut one was quite nice, it definitely reminds me of Ferroro Rocher flavours like you’ll find in Il Dolce Freddo in Carlton.

To be honest it was nice, but really nothing too special about it. I’ve read reviews of Vulcano Gelato and it definitely is a favourite for most. Maybe I chose the wrong flavours. I’ll definitely give it another try if I’m ever in Rye again. Of course, any ice-cream is fantastic in a warm day. Well, even in cold weather gelato works a treat to brighten any day!

Vulcano Gelato on Urbanspoon

Vulcano Gelato
2387 Point Nepean Road
Rye Vic 3941
T: 03 5985 1800

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