I first heard about Ian Burch and Darren Purchese last year during Masterchef when they made a spectacular fruit carnival dessert for a Masterclass episode. Ever since, I have been itching to find more out about them and their fabulous creations.
In April, they opened their first Sweet Studio on Chapel Street in South Yarra. The studio is a multi sensory retail space specialising in sweet creations, desserts and treats perfect for spontaneous indulgent moments through to that very special dessert extravaganza for an event or dinner party. Selling individual and multi-portion cakes as well as jars of curd, jams, chocolate spreads, bars of chocolate, fudge and honeycomb, there is something for everyone in this purveyor of sweet treats.
Formally from the UK, pastry chef co-owners Ian Burch & Darren Purchese have built a reputation worldwide for their dessert wizardry; they fuse science and art with sugar to create an exciting and individual array of delicious tastes and textures.
Walking into Sweet Studio off the bustling craziness of Chapel St is a real treat. It's unlike anywhere else you've been, a place where you can always expected the unexpected. There is almost a serene tranquility to the studio combined with the crazy whackiness of Alice in Wonderland. The day we were there they had the most amazingly light lemonade marshmallows on tasting - now I'm not a marshmallow fan but these were incredible. Soft, light puffy clouds of sherbetty goodness. I almost went back for a second.
I was initially very keen to taste their desserts but after walking in, I had to take home some of their condiments, jams and sweet treats for my pantry. I knew Mr K would grumble about how much I bought but I couldn't resist.
First to the cakes!
Our first choice was the Chocolate, mandarin, salted caramel. Made up of Kendari 60% chocolate
mousse, Murray River salted caramel, burnt mandarin cream, St Clements marmalade, aerated
chocolate shortbread and chocolate mirror glaze this creation was simple but sublime. The textures were wonderful and the mousse, the hero of the dish, was gorgeous. I would have loved a bit more of a mandarin hit to the dessert but it was a small small thing. So delicious.
Our second choice was the coconut, passionfruit ginger mint. It was my favourite of all the desserts we tried. It was sweet, luscious and tangy, reminding me of hot summer tropical holidays. The dessert is described as coconut mousse, passionfruit curd, coconut caviar, passionfruit jelly, salted oat and ginget crumble, white chocolate mint wafer, ginger macaroon and brilliant white chocolate spray. It's simply delicious. This is a must try if you are in the area and it's worth travelling for.
Our third and final dessert was described as a rhubarb apple crumble cheesecake. It suffered somewhat in comparison to the coconut and passionfruit dessert that came before it - the lightness and delicacy overwhelmed by the tangy freshness of it's predecessor. However it was stunning in it's own right - the sharpness of the rhubarb perfectly complements the supple unctuous cheesecake. The crumble was a great textural foil for the softness of the other elements of the cake.
All three desserts were fabulous. Our problem was that with only the two of us, we had to limit ourselves to the number we could try. It's a very small first world problem, let me tell you. Everything was phenomenally good and we'd have no qualms about giving up dessert in a three hatted restaurant for a chance to eat more of the selection at Burch & Purchese.
In addition to the wonderful desserts, Burch & Purchese also make wonderful confectionery. I purchased a very small selection of items.
Not sure what I am going to do with the raspberry and white chocolate clay I bought - if anyone has any ideas please let me know!
How FABULOUS are these gold ingots? Made from real gold dusted dark chocolate, they are filled with salted caramel. Now that's my idea of heaven.
Or perhaps this is - salted caramel in a jar. Me + this + spoon = one amazing afternoon. Maybe I might share with some vanilla ice-cream.
Passionfruit curd was an absolute must buy, especially once I tried the coconut dessert above. I see me using this in a fabulous pavlova with berries and softly whipped cream. I'm not sure what I will do with the chocolate hazelnut spread with raspberry jam, but I'm thinking a baguette and I should just give it a whirl. I know it will be unbelievable.
All in all an amazing trip to a purveyor of sweet goodness. Highly recommended for a visit.
Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio
647 Chapel Street