Monday, February 17, 2014

Magnum Presents - Drench Your Palate In Gold

I remember in the early 90s, when Magnum first made it appearance in KL, it was around RM1.90 a stick.  A funny conversation transpired with my sister, and my dad in the background.  I said something like, "wah, Magnum price went up to RM2.50" to my sister.  My dad overhears the conversation, and says, WHAT?  You mean the price has dropped so much?  Better buy quickly.  My sister and I give him a puzzled look, then we say, "we're talking about the ice cream ya?" and my father says, "OHHHH, I thought you were talking about the share price" (of the public listed counter, MAGNUM).  Since then, I've always had fond memories of Magnum the ice cream, and have followed their progress with great interest, and still love their Belgian Chocolate range.

Fascinated was I by the idea that they were going to infuse GOLD into the iconic magnum ice cream, and was rather curious to see what it was all about.  Held at Nathalie's Gourmet Studio in Solaris Dutamas (aka Publika), the attendees were also given the opportunity to try their hand at making gold leaf infused desserts, hence theme, Drench (though it was hardly drenching) Your Palate In Gold.  As someone pointed out, it was an ancient form of torture to pour molten gold into the opponent's throat.  These days, given the price of gold, I don't think anyone will resort to that form of torture.

Boxes and boxes stacked as high as a 6'3" tall tree greeted us at the reception table, so there was no doubt I was at the correct location.

Mr Shawn Tan, Category Head (Ice Cream) ...gosh, it must be every kid's dream to have a title like that...CATEGORY HEAD (ICE CREAM)!!! Unilever (M) Holdings Sdn Bhd, addressing the crowd.

Magnum has been around for 46 years, (I'm sure it hasn't been around that long in Malaysia), and in 2011, Magnum introduced the all new Magnum made with Belgian Chocolate.  I was actually at that event, held in KL Hilton, back in 2011.  You can check out the post HERE.

They have gone one notch up, and now Magnum wants to share their expertise and bring it to a whole new level with Belgian Chocolate infused with gold.  And to do that, we had the privilege of award winning Chef Nathalie Arbefeuille instructing and guiding us in making a couple of fine luxury desserts using chocolate (Belgian, of course) and gold leaf.

We were divided into several work stations....

Lovely bits of Callebaut Milk Chocolate ... to make Gold Lava Cakes.  Sounds exotic huh.

I am sure these people are local celebrities, though I am not sure who, because they look so glammed up.

The participants are melting the butter, and chocolate, ...not exactly rocket science.

Nathalie gave a very useful "tip"... you should clip the tip of your pastry bag when filling it with batter, so that it doesn't flow out freely.  Actually, such a simple tip, but it saves a lot of grief when filling the bag.  While she pours the batter into the bag with one fell swish, it proved a bit more challenging for the others....

Then it was time to fill the silicone moulds with the batter.   An excellent recipe, which you can actually make ahead of time, and freeze.

Again, the master fills it with great ease....

While the disciples...not great ease, but managing...

There's that gold leaf, plonked on top of the batter.

The following few pictures are courtesy of Salina & Associates, as I had to leave the event after seeing my team mates pour their fondant into the moulds...

 The parfait looks yummy actually, what a pity I didn't get to try it.  I guess I'll just have to follow the recipe that was in the press kit and try it out myself, sans the gold leaf.  WHERE DOES one buy gold leaf?  Can't be from Poh Yik Tai right..."Hi, I'd like some gold leaf...ha? no, not for my wedding ring la, to eat la woiiii".

 Pouring the parfait mixture into the moulds.

 These celebrity types huh, people all sweating and slaving away in the kitchen, their hair and make up all still intact.  How DO they do it!

There you have it...the parfait and the chocolate fondant.  I didnt see any pictures of the chocolate lava flowing out of the fondant like an erupting Mt Vesuvius, so either.... they overcooked it, and there was no more lava, or everyone was too enthralled by that river of chocolate that they forgot to take pictures.

Back to my own pictures now....

The cute PR team from Salina & Associates.  Unfortunately, I had to leave the event early, so I did not get to see or taste the final products of the desserts class.  But, ...I did get to take home with me TWO (I know, only TWO, in that huge ass ice box right!) special preview Magnum Gold Bars. ...

...which I opened immediately to try once I was out of sight from the event...

Selfie of the Magnum Gold...

Verdict? Well, belgian chocolate, gold, and magnum, you can't really go wrong can you???  I liked it, although I thought it tasted a bit sweeter than normal, or maybe gold is sweet...

Watch out for the launch of MAGNUM GOLD, which should be hitting the shelves pretty soon. The official launch is on 27th February, so I am guessing it will be available to the yearning public after that. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

All Kansai Festival, Kansai Kaiseki Dinner on 19th, 20th & 21st February, Kampachi Pavilion

Those who follow this blog would know that I have developed a new found fascination and love for Japan and all things Japanese, and I've made up my mind to save all foreseeable future holiday money for the exploration and discovery of this fascinating Land...of the Rising Sun.

When Makan Fairy Godmother waved her magic wand again, and secured me a place for "lunch" (it was actually lunch, but at 4pm) at Kampachi Pavilion, for the All Kansai Food Festival, I was over the moon, ...and Sun, because I knew for a fact that all the ingredients for that meal were freshly flown in that very day, and there was no room for any extra person ...fortunately, (for me, but not for him), Cumi of CCFoodtravel could not make it, so there I was, partaking of a splendidly fresh and palate gratifying meal.

Kampachi Restaurants in collaboration with All Kansai Food Promotion Committee and TheKansai Food Export Promotion Cooperative, will be bringing a special culinary promotion featuring the finest from Kansai region from 15 – 23 February 2014 at the Kampachi Pavilion.

Taste of Kansai
For the uneducated (like me), the above map gives you an idea where Kansai is, in relation to Japan, and Honshu Island. (It's the dark green bits)

Kansai is also known as the “Food Mecca of Japan” because of its culture in adhering to refined, taste and variety when it comes to food. The abundance of food resources from the mountains, sea,rivers and lakes of the region are where the gastronomical journey of Kansai cuisine begins,making it a truly unique food culture unlike others.

On 19, 20 & 21 February, for a limited seating, Japanese Chef Koji Tamaru will showcase the
purity and uniqueness of Kansai cuisine through a nine-course kaiseki dinner by selecting the finest seasonal
ingredients and focusing on bringing out the actual taste of ingredients.

We were privileged that evening to try several highlights from that 9 Course Kaiseki,....

Sakizuke, a fresh Hiroshima Oyster With Ponzu Vinegar Gelee.  Just look at how plump and juicy that oyster was, and looked like it was still soaking in the brine that it was swimming in earlier that morning, in the sea of Japan.  To describe it as fresh would be really an understatement.  Oh, not to mention, the oyster is rather huge too.  Nothing in that dish is there just as a garnish, each component plays a role in enhancing the flavour (although it needed little enhancing) to really maximize the gratification from sliding that wonderful bivalve mollusc down your throat.

The newly renovated interior of Kampachi in Pavilion

Ah, glorious freshness from the sushi/sashimi bar.

The affable Chef Koji behind the sushi counter.

Next we had the Suminomo, clear soup with clam, Japanese Mustard Spinach, Julienned Leek and young Japanese pepper buds. "The clam is underneath the vegetation", says Ciki.  Duhh, state the obvious.

Well, this succulent clam makes our lalas look like clam roe... this clam is HUGE, and very tasty.  The texture is amazing, and the best part to me is actually that little piece of tendon that connects the clam to the shell.  And by virtue of the size of that clam, that little tendon piece is almost like a mini scallop in itself.

Sake makes us happy any time of day.

Tuna, Arkshell and Yellowtail.  Arkshell, ..such an exotic name.  An arkshell, if you were google it, actually looks like a big cockle, and this is the flesh within the shell.  The texture is like a mollusc, chewy and clammy, but the taste is almost like fish.  Really quite a treat for the senses.  The yellowtail of course is always my favourite here, melt in the mouth goodness with no hint of fishiness.

Box Sushi With Seabream, Prawn and Conger Eel.  I missed the demonstration at the sushi bar, when they were preparing the box sushi. Sanshoku Oshizushi, a beautifully handcrafted box sushi that is a technique and specialty of the Osaka prefecture incorporating luxurious seafood such as sea bream, shrimp and conger eel. Prefecture, I love that word.  I live in the prefecture of bliss, in the state of hysteria.

The toppings were certainly very different from your everyday run of the mill sushi offerings.  The bream and the prawn had a gelatinous type of seaweed cover, and the rice seems to be rather extraordinary.  Does not taste like your usual sushi rice.  And the conger eel tastes like a more refined and delicate unagi.  Popped these three dainty morsels into the mouth and they were gone before you could say sush...i.

Grilled Yellowtail With Teriyaki Sauce, Garnished With Shishito Green Pepper.  In the actual Kaiseki menu, the fish served will be Wild Amberjack, which I am told, is stunning.  The yellowtail, according to Chef, due to the absence of fat, made the filleted piece slightly on the dry side.

At RM300++ per person, guests can enjoy the wonderful Kaiseki Menu.
Fresh seasonal Kansai ingredients will also include colourful spring vegetables such as the Kujo
leek, Kintoki sweet red carrot and Manganji Togarashi green peppers. Unique only to Kyoto
prefecture, these vegetables are robust in flavours compared to vegetables grown elsewhere.
Cooked in a multitude of ways, these simple ingredients will be elevated to an artisan level by
Chef Koji Tamaru. (pic)

To finish off a perfect meal, Yuzu Mousse.  A refreshing tangy mousse that cleanses the palate and gives a feeling of wellbeing.

The lovely Sarah and Umei of CCFoodTravel.

The handsome Yujiro Takano san, (who doesn't really look Japanese), Makan Fairy Godmother and Me.

At RM300++, considering the freshness and quality of the ingredients, I'd say this kaiseki from Kansai really kicks ass, and is totally worth it!!!

The Kampachi restaurant is located at Lot 6.09.00, Level 6, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and is open
daily for lunch and dinner form 11.00am to 10.00pm.

For reservations, please call tel: +603 2148
9608 or email:

Other standalone Kampachi restaurants are located at The Troika (tel: +603 2181 2282), Plaza33 in
Petaling Jaya (tel: +603 7931 6938) and Johor Premium Outlets (tel: +607 590 9277).