Bloggers’ banquet, Melbourne

Last night (12 Nov) saw a get-together of some of the Melbourne foodblogging population. What a lovely bunch! I arrived late due to work commitments, so a good deal of the savoury edibilia had already been lifted from the long long table of goodies which people had (mostly) cooked up. The pics (from other bloggers) show all the stuff I missed and one or two that I actually got to sample. It was great to put names and faces to the people behind Eating with Jack, Deep Dish Dreams, The Day of the Expanding Man, Melbourne Gastronome, A Goddess in the Kitchen, Where’s the Beef, Vida, Get Real!, 1001 Dinners 1001 Nights, Ned-with-impending-blog and numerous others who I didn’t get to do more than smile at.

My own contribution to the long long table of goodies was a box of salted caramel macarons (macarons being a type of almond meringue, properly known as macarons de Paris, with two discs sandwiching a creamy filling of any flavour you might like). The photo is, alas, not mine, but sourced from the photos others took of the Bloggers’ Banquet.

– DM

45 thoughts on “Bloggers’ banquet, Melbourne”

  1. Hi Duncan,
    I never got to try the macarons – you may have heard me asking if they were macarons and then got distracted with barramundi and chocolate & banana pizza. they were truly beautiful aesthetically and am sure they tasted even better.
    It was lovely to meet you.

  2. Hey Duncan, lovely to meet with you last night… thanks for the macaroons too, I sadly only got one but it will stay with me for a long time, too delicious… Vida x x x

  3. Good to meet Duncan. I only ate one (I think) but they were amazing. i didn’t get to ask you about them. Did you make them or buy them? Where can I get more?

  4. Yep, those were lovely macarons! I’ve previously only tasted a few over-sweet, over-coloured ones but now I get what the fuss is about.

  5. Thanks to you all for the lovely comments on the macarons! Ed, they were made by me. “More” is not an option without serious sucking up. LOL. Katie, I can’t believe you missed out (though I remember you asking me and then it was a blur). If you or Vida want a hitlist of people who ate three or more, it can be provided:P

    Cindy, the salted caramel really does it doesn’t it! I think there are sweet fillings that work well too, but striking the balance can be tricky. I had hoped to do violet ones as well but ran out of time — they would have been too sweet for some people, I’m sure.

  6. Hi Duncan, Cannot recall whether we formally met last night. I did see your macaroons, but didn’t try one, sigh 🙁 they looked great though.

    Was great to meet a whole pile of people and put names to faces.

    Cheers, Jon!

  7. Hi Duncan,

    Lovely to meet your macaroons… I mean you, sorry, yes lovely to meet you. I agree, great to put names to faces. Did you do anything with the left over tart shells for the other flavour??

    All the best,


  8. Duncan, I just read tagged bit and I think we were seperated at birth!!!! The fish thing, the chocolate thing, I mean really I think we are long lost twins!!!! Vida x

  9. Wow! Lots of comments. @Jack: I think that’s about the wonderfullest compliment I’ve ever had, thank you!

    And greetings Jon and Josh. @Josh: I have a tray of violet shells in the fridge which I’ll just have to munch through as biscuit-ersatz with my coffee. I’d better not tell anyone where I live or there might be macaron-monsters at the door, yes?

    @Vida: we’d have to compare birth certificates:P For those who aren’t sure what Vida’s talking about, the food-facts-about-me post is here.

  10. Well, there goes my next questions (re: address, and there is no need to call me a monster)… Nobody ever knows what I am talking about, not even me!!! I have spent ages reading your blog and I think if I knew before what I know now, I doubt I would have ever spoken to you!?!?! Please be kind in your review of me as Eglish is my second language… No birth certificate I am afraid, it’s back in the “old country” so you will have to take me at my word… isn’t that enough, you should never doubt your family… Vida x

  11. Hi Duncan
    Oh boy what a night. It stimulated more than saliva. It also stimulated a deluge of comments and blogging activity.
    I must confess to having two of those absolutely remarkable salted macaroons Sorry if it caused anyone to miss out.
    It was great to meet you all

  12. Ooh I’m chuffed that you picked my snap. Les Macarons: Little moments of heaven and the filling unexpectedly magnificent – tres fantastique! You were all I expected and more. Hope to have more time to chat again.

  13. @Elliot: Yes the comments have been flying all around haven’t they! No need to feel guilty about the two macarons… there were still one or two left just before I left.

    @Sticky: Was great finally crossing paths and will again I hope!

    @Claire and others: merci, obrigado, Danke, etc…

  14. Gosh, now I’m on a guilt trip in case I did eat more than I claim. The whole night is a blur now. I think quite possibly those macarons may have to be the best thing I ate this week for next Tuesday HS. Any chance you can blog the recipe so we can all try it at home?

  15. Hi Duncan,

    It was good to meet you at banquet. Bite size macarons were great way to test all senses. Remember that movie “Como agua para chocolate”?

    Cheers mate.

  16. @Ed: Thanks and glad they worked for you:) I’ve been planning a macaron piece and it’s scheduled for shortly before Christmas… Macarons are tricky buggers, so I’m being very careful to make the piece clear and reassuring (or comforting if it all goes wrong:P). So yes, there’ll be a recipe up, but probably not until mid-December… I could, however, just post pretty pictures here of others I’ve made (or eaten) if it would complement something you write in the HS… a tastebud tease in advance of December’s piece!

    @Ned: welcome! I love the film, and agree wholeheartedly about the size of the macarons being good for the senses. These were the smallest I’ve made – usually I do the slightly larger (but still ‘small’) ones, called gerbets by some French patissiers. The ‘normal’ size ones, 7+cm in diameter, are too much of a mouthful for me.

  17. Macaroons…..goood. I only had two, so I don’t think I overate my share.

    I hardly got to talk to you all night Duncan, just a few general group discussions. Next time if we all meet up again, I will find out more about you.

  18. December, who can wait til december, and mid december, could it not be the beginning of december… Vida x

  19. Ditto. I’ve found a few recipes but I’m not sure i can match duncan’s level of detail. I gather Laurent are meant to sell some sort of macarons but I haven’t tried any yet.

  20. Those macarons were SERIOUSLY delicious. Forget wishing for a never-ending packet of Tim Tams, gimme that salted caramel tang any day.

  21. I cannot tell a lie.

    I ate 2.

    And would have scoffed several more, if I had not reached a similar level of repleteness as Mr Creosote in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life!!!

  22. Duncan, you told Nathan and I where you live!!!

    for the right price I might reveal this detail to you vida…

    as i didn’t sample (damn the barra, damn the banana pizza), could someone please fill me in on “salted caramel”…

    apparently this blog post is a great reference to the macaron contemporary… credit to soisbelle at for this link.

  23. Hi grocer. The blog post you refer to is quite good, though I’ll have more to say about it and other things in the December Macaron Madness here 🙂

    Salted butter caramel is a tradition from Brittany. Very yummy, but I like to use salt crystals, rather than just a salted butter (in which the salt is dissolved). That way you get the transitions between sweet and caramel and salty, and the flavour enhancing effect of the salt then gives you a more diverse flavour ‘landscape’.

    I was trying out a new recipe today and looks like that’ll be part of December Macaron Madness too… fruity, salty…

  24. I should hope so too! I look forward to it.
    okay so I get it. it’s not salty salty. not like danish salt licorice.
    it makes sense if you think about the balances of sweet salt acid fat and heat…

    can i put an order in for christmas? do they travel?

  25. Ok I’m waiting eagerly for the December Macaroon post too.

    I’m with Vida, can’t you post it early December. That way, I can perfect them before handing them out as Christmas presents to everyone.

  26. @grocer: that’s right, not at all like salt liquorice… heaven forbid! You can put in an order, but it’ll have to be with yourself as they travel very badly. Fragile petals they are.

    @Thanh: I can do it sloppy or I can do it right… you’ll notice I haven’t yet stated an exact publication start date for the La Macaronicité series of articles, so if I can get it done earlier you can celebrate 😉 In the meantime, stock up on almond meal and icing sugar!

  27. Shannon, err sorry, I mean Duncan, I have a serious question to ask (please don’t answer in your squeaky voice) about the macaroons… how do you get them so uniform in shape, does that just happen, they are neve put into a pan like muffin or any shaped tin so how are they so uniform in shape??? Are you absolutely exact in your measuring out of the “spoonfuls”… or do they just take form in the oven??? Vida x x x

  28. Hi Vida… many questions will be answered more clearly in the month-you-know-when, but one of the reasons I tempted you to be a guinea pig with the Shannon recipe is that it differs from standard technique in many ways. I don’t know if his will come out lovely and regular, but if you’re game, I’m suggesting you could just see what happens 🙂 … I will also be writing about what to do with failed attempts (heaven forbid! touch wood, etc!). What I will say is that, like biscuit doughs and the like, most of these soft pastes do form a fairly regular shape in the oven, if not beforehand. 🙂

  29. Duncan, I will be your guinea pig this time! Another question, have you ever been to the Harvest Picnic in Werribee?? Is it worth going? I say every year that I will go and then I don’t so I could do with a little push to go or not to go. Vida x

  30. @grocer — on the surface, that’s very easy… it’s just the French word vs the English word. But in English people have tended to use the French word for the sort of beast that I made.

    @Vida — cool:) I look forward to the report. Alas, I’ve never been to Harvest Picnic. Public transport to it absolutely sux (or has done previously), so I never make it. I know people who enjoy it greatly, and others who are indifferent. Go once so that you can decide who you agree with!

  31. Duncan, please don’t ruin a good thing by trying any new recipes. Please! BTW, I have been unfaithful with a pistachio macaron at Baker D Chirico. Good but not that good.

  32. Good comment, Ed. (And thanks for the newspaper mention yesterday.) I knew D Chirico was doing them (haven’t tried them yet, so thanks for the info), and Laurent (disappointing), and I think [EDITED due to spam from the shop mentioned, name now deleted] does them. I wonder if people have had them in restaurants? I would assume that Fenix/VdM/Becasse get them right, given the talent (though that need not mean their published recipes are the real deal).

    Part of the reason I’ve encouraged Vida to try a different one is because there are so many factors that can influence success/failure in these, so the experiment is useful. Even experienced home bakers of macarons report occasional failures despite using the same recipes/techniques.

    @Vida: no, no driving for me.

  33. Noisette near Chateau Sticky in Port Melbourne make a yummy range of the petite Macarons in a range of pastel couloured flavours. The Patissier was Laurent’s head man until he opened his own venture in Bay Street.

  34. I am not a food blogger but definitely a big fan reader of food blogsites.. a true food lover will know that the pleasure is not just the end result but the journey taken to reach there..
    New in Melbourne (about a year) and find these Melburnian blogs very helpful ie places to eat, food tips, recipes, etc
    Love your style of writing and insightful reviews. However that knife looks a bit scary 🙂

  35. Welcome LeeLin. Glad you enjoy reading the various food blogs and thanks for the compliment. The knife is particularly scary when holding it in front of your eye during a photoshoot! LOL

    and for everyone else: La Macaronicité has commenced here!

  36. Just found your fantastic website through David Lebovitz! The macaronicite you pulled together is really brilliant!

    For the salted caramel macarons, do you just make plain shells? No additional flavoring? What is sprinkled over the top – crystalized sugar? At what point to you sprinkle over the shells to make them adhere? Thanks so much for any additional information you can provide.

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