Honestly, it is rather tough to find a good authentic scone in Singapore. The scones at Caffe Beviamo didn’t look too appealing, but we decided to give it a shot. Keeping our fingers crossed, we opened the take-away plastic box… and immediately there was a strong buttery smell which whetted our appetites. Surprisingly, the scone tasted pretty good and is considered one of the better ones in Singapore. It was soft and fluffy, a little warm as well. Scone lovers would be able to tell that this scone has the authentic taste and texture similar to the ones in England. But at $2.60 per scone, it seems pretty expensive.
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Hediard Cafe and Restaurant - a little French shop tucked at a corner of Tudor Court, just beside Tanglin Mall. We have walked past it countless times, but never once did we step in to take a look. And yesterday, the day which marked our first visit to Hediard, turned out to be the turning point in our relationship with French macaroons.
Other than its own cafe-restaurant, Hediard has its own boutique store, which sells a wide variety of food items, e.g. foie gras, bottled soups, bottled sauces, tea leaves, pralines, chocolates, coffee beans etc. Being our first time there, we were quite impressed with the spread of items Hediard offers. And just beside the boutique store was a little cafe-restaurant. The selection at the cake counter was pretty limited, but what caught our eyes was the huge French Macaroons!! Each macaroon spanned a width (diameter) of 6cm! Sprinkled with gold dust and topped with a little “H” chocolate, the macaroon looked so enticing! We have never been fans of macaroons, in fact, we disliked macaroons. The biscuits of the macaroons were usually too sugary, airy and overly sweet. The buttercream sandwiched between the 2 layers of biscuits was just sweet, with no distinct taste at all (no matter what flavour). It was a confectionery with absolutely no substance at all.
But we were so tempted by this huge macaroon from Hediard that we did not hesitate one bit and immediately picked the Chocolate and Earl Grey flavoured. And this decision changed our relationship with macaroons forever. The Chocolate and Earl Grey macaroon from Hediard was essentially a “Chocolate Burger”. The “conventional layer of buttercream” in macaroons was replaced with a thick generous slab of chocolate fudge. It was a very dense layer of filling. Rather than just being sweet, every bite of the macaroon revealed dense chocolate fudge complemented with a distinctive earl grey taste. And this thick layer added chewiness to the entire macaroon. The biscuit was not that airy, but was more flaky instead. For many macaroons, the typical taste would just be pure sweetness, with no strong flavours. Hediard’s macaroon is a macaroon with substance, and not just air.
This 6cm diameter macaroon is a definite hit with chocolate lovers. It will totally change your opinions about macaroons. Forget about macaroons from those commercialized cafes/bakeries, try this one at Hediard. After which, you would never try another macaroon from anywhere else.
At $6.20, this macaroon is on the expensive side, but the surprise and substance which came with it, this is definitely worth the money.
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The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf – the place we go for good ol’ cheese cakes! No doubt CBTL has been around for pretty long; no doubt CBTL is not uncommon and can be found in many places; no doubt CBTL seems rather commercialized – but if you are looking for simple good ol’ cheese cakes, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is still the place to go. There are many new cafes around which offers cheesecakes; there are many Italian, French, European, Japanese restaurants offering cheesecakes; there are many unique pastry shops specializing in cheesecakes. But to us, one of our all-time favourite cheesecakes has to come from CBTL.
The Espresso Cheesecake is this month’s featured cake. And just like its cheesecake counterparts, the Espresso Cheesecake has a smooth, velvety, sticky and dense texture which we love. We simply enjoy the feeling of having the cheesecake stick to our throats as it slowly slides down towards the esophagus. The first bite revealed a strong burst of sourness of the cheese. After which, a mild bitter taste from the Espresso started to emerge. But this bitterness wasn’t too overpowering and did not hide the sourness of the cheesecake. The crust was a bit spongy though, so that added a little disappointment. Nevertheless, we love the cheesecakes from CBTL. It is always the place to go whenever we have a cheesecake craving.
Do not overlook the cheesecakes from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. In no way will it lose out to any French or Italian bakery/cafe.
We ordered the Chocolate Pistachio Cake - chocolate truffle layered with almond, pistachio sponge that is made of egg white only, it is a great treat for serious chocolate lovers. It was a pretty small slice for $6; it looked pretty sad. But it did come in a nice and interesting packaging. Taste and texture wise, we felt that it was more of dark chocolate fudge than truffle. It was much harder and more chewy than conventional truffle. The sponge did not have any pistachio or almond taste, it was pretty light butter sponge. It was the top garnishing layer which was filled with pistachio nuts. Overall, the cake wasn't too sweet, but if the alternating layers of sponge were to contain more nuts or a more obvious nut taste, this cake would appeal to both chocolate and nut lovers.
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We dropped by Canelé Pâtisserie Chocolaterie at around 10 plus at night. The staff were starting to pack and clear up, but they still allowed us to take away our cakes. We chose our favourite Caraibe and decided to give the Triple Chocolate Cheese Cake another try.
Triple Chocolate Cheese Cake – Walnut chocolate fudge cake, chocolate chip cheese cake and a layer of dark chocolate Chantilly. Somehow, we feel that the walnut chocolate fudge cake tasted more like a walnut brownie, and this brownie did not go well with cheese cake. The cheese cake had a velvety, smooth and dense texture. But the cheese cake taste was kind of ruined by the bitterness from the dark chocolate Chantilly. Overall, the conclusion is that the 3 layers did not complement each other well. No doubt there were creativity and uniqueness in this cake, we felt that a simple cheesecake on its own is better than this.
Yes, our all-time favourite chocolate cake – Caraibe, made of 66% Valrhona dark chocolate cream, 66% Valrhona dark chocolate cake and hazelnut nougatine covered in a layer of almond chocolate glaze. We have come across cakes which use Manjari and Guanaja, 2 popular kinds of Valrhona chocolates. But this is so far the one and only Caraibe cake we have seen and tried. If you are a lover of dense and rich chocolate cakes, Caraibe is a great choice. It is equivalent to eating a block of chocolate, with a few pieces of whole hazelnuts scarcely dispersed within it. It is rich, dense and thick. There wasn’t much taste of cake, sponge or anything else. It wasn’t as hard as a chocolate bar or as soft as chocolate mousse. Rather, the texture is similar to that of very thick fudge. A great way to satisfy a chocolate craving.
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