Have you ‘herd’ of the #CAUnival?

I find it find hard to resist a hands on master class invite and it is the promise of making empanada’s and learning about Argentinian street food that lured me to CAU restaurant at Blackheath last week. A Buenos Aires inspired restaurant group CAU is located a short walking from the overground station facing the beautiful All Saints Church. The group is raising funds for the charity Action Against Hunger with the launch of #CAUnival a month long celebration of an ‘Friend’s Day’ or Dia do Amigo. A celebration of friendship this festival is celebrated in many South American countries. What better way to celebrate friendship that over a delicious feast which supports a good cause?!

 

 

Argentinian street food masterclass focusing on beef

Argentinian street food masterclass focusing on beef

As I walked up the hill to the restaurant, I walked past the pretty French Wine Bar – Le Bouchon, which I had visited for their opening a year ago, here is a my review.One has the  unmistakeable feeling of being in a smaller village with huge green spaces and village shops while walking along the high street. It’s rare to get such a feeling but I get that each time I alight at Blackheath station and walk into the area – must be a great feeling to come back home to from work in the busy crowded city.

I found my way in and sat down with two very friendly young ladies – Cherry and Brucine. It was a very warm summer evening and the chilled glass of sprite loaded with ice and wedge of lime was just the thing I needed.

#CAUnival , Action Against Hunger

#CAUnival , Action Against Hunger

 

The big cut of beef on each our tables seemed managed to do it’s job of whetting our appetite so while Dom the master griller took centre stage for the master class ,we were treated to various samples.

Master griller Dom explains the various cuts of beef

Master griller Dom explains the various cuts of beef

We then all got busy making empanadas with different types of stuffing, which we then took home to enjoy over tea. I baked my batch in the oven and enjoyed then with pipping hot cups of chai.

#CAUnival  making empanada's and sampling various cuts of beef

#CAUnival making empanada’s and sampling various cuts of beef

After our master class we were treated to a fabulous meal, here’s a quick look at what we sampled – started  off with a swordfish carpaccioa (£6.50) which I highly recommend – it is a great way to start a meal. Thinly sliced swordfish topped with capers, crushed chilli flakes and dressed with parsley and lemon oil – pairs well with a chilled classic mojito.

Swordfish Carpaccio #CAUnival

Swordfish Carpaccio #CAUnival

Inspired by the master class and eager to try a classic Argentinian steak, I was recommended the Lomito – a fillet of rump which is considered the finest cut in Argentina, it combines the flavour of rump and the tenderness of fillet. I choose to have my steak with a delicious spicy sauce – chimichurri instead of the blue cheese that is offered with Lomito. Chimichurri is definitely the best partner for an Argentinian steak – nothing compares!

Lomito with chimichurri #CAUnival

Lomito with chimichurri #CAUnival

I was seated with a bunch of foodies and we ordered sides to share – here’s a look a what we shared – in keeping with the spirit of ‘Friend’s Day’. Loved the baked sweet potato (£ 2.95), Onion rings (£ 2.75) and the grilled corn with chipotle butter,chilli and herbs (£ 3.95)

Sides at #CAUnival

Sides at #CAUnival

Well don’t just sit there and ‘stew’ get cracking and book yourself a table at one of the 12 CAU branches, after all you wouldn’t want to miss out on this ‘rare’ CAUnival now would you?

To book your #CAUnival feasting experience click here.  You can visit any of their 12 UK sites. For every meal ordered from the #CAUnival set menu, £1 from  will go to the charity Action Against Hunger.

*With thanks to CAU for an invite to a truly memorable evening. All opinions expressed are as always my own. No monetary compensation was provided for a positive review.

Taste ‘real’ this summer with the Häagen-Dazs Master Ice Cream Academy

Häagen-Dazs unveiled their Master Ice Cream Academy last week at Bloomsbury Square with a multi-sensory Haagen Dazs experience. I am always drawn to their luxurious ice cream because the ingredients are the very best and so ‘real’ – meaning no preservatives, no artificial additives and definitely nothing nasty!

Experience #realornothing

Experience #realornothing

To host the academy Häagen-Dazs brought together a panel of expert ambassadors ‘The Masters of Real’ – who helped create a unique experience for some select bloggers and members of the press. The academy is founded on the principle that ice cream should be made with high quality, carefully selected ingredients. That’s why Häagen-Dazswill always start with a base of four ingredients – real cream, real milk, sugar and eggs – no vegetable fat, no preservatives, and minimal air. The Masters of Real ambassadors all share Haagen-Dazs’ belief that Nothing is Better than Real. That is the carefully crafted Vanilla recipe by Häagen-Dazs hasn’t changed since they the company first started making it in 1961 – which is exactly what was the vision of their founder Reuben Mattus.

Häagen-Dazs strawberries and cream ice cream

Häagen-Dazs strawberries and cream ice cream

Hosted in a specially created dome we participated in a few simple yet interesting experiments that revealed how our senses react to various stimuli. ‘The Masters of Real’  – acclaimed Head Chef at Duck & Waffle, Dan Doherty , leading lifestyle blogger Rosie of ‘The Londoner’ and sensory expert Professor Barry Smith, helped bring to life the qualities of premium ice cream, encouraging us to explore our senses: aroma, sound, colour and texture, to discover how much they influence our indulgent moments.

Chef Dan explains the multi sensory experience

Chef Dan explains the multi sensory experience

Here is a video about a conversation between Professor Barry Smith and Rose Thomas discussing the science of taste.

Chef Dan Doherty crated a simple yet delicious treat for us using strawberries and cream Häagen-Dasz ice cream, topped with toasted almonds it was just the thing we needed on a warm summer afternoon.

Why not recreate Chef Dan’s peach melba float recipe at home this summer ? Experience and share the indulgent and luxurious taste of Häagen-Dasz with friends and family!

Chef Dan Doherty making a Häagen-Dazs peach melba float

Chef Dan Doherty making a Häagen-Dazs peach melba float

Häagen-Dazs’ Peach Melba Float

By Dan Doherty, Executive Chef at Duck and Waffle

Ingredients

  • Ripe peaches
  • Fresh strawberries
  • 1 x tub of Häagen-Dazs Strawberries & Cream
  • Rose Champagne
  • Toasted almonds

Method

Step 1: Slice the peaches and strawberries and place a couple of each in the bottom of a tall glass

Step 2: Add a scoop of Häagen-Dazs Strawberries & Cream ice cream

Step 3: Repeat both layers

Step 4: Sprinkle with toasted almonds

Step 5: Top up with Rose Champagne

I for one couldn’t stop scooping out the peach melba from the tall fruit laden glass but then we were given more ice cream to eat . This time it was to experience how the sense of touch alters our taste – comparing the feel of a soft silky piece of cloth to that of another that wasn’t as smooth – made all the difference on my taste buds! But as I began to peel off the lid of my ice-cream tub in greedy haste, salivating at the thought of another chilled treat, we were asked to wait just for a few minutes longer – to ensure we didn’t end up a broken spoon! Haven’t we all had that experience where we dug our spoons into a really tempting tub of ice cream only have the handle bend backwards or worse still end up with a broken spoon? To prevent that from happening always allow your Häagen-Dasz ice cream tubs to rest for about ten minutes so the ice cream can be scooped out easily.

I was most curious to learn about how music alters our experience of eating the very same food by affecting our mood and Professor Barry Smith played two very different types of tracks while we sampled the peach melba float. I was very keen to gain some more insight into the work done by Professor Barry Smith into his research into the science of taste. Watch this space for an interesting peek into the science of understanding our senses and taste with Professor Barry.

 If you are craving some ice cream then make yourself a very British dessert – Häagen-Dazs Frosty Eton Mess by lifestyle blogger Rosie. A delicious  recipe with a modern take on the classic recipe.

Here’s hoping you have enjoyed reading about the exciting journey my taste buds took with Häagen-Dasz and the ‘The Masters of Real’. Go get yourself a ‘real’ treat this summer – you know you want to.

The Masters of Real

The Masters of Real

*With thanks to Häagen-Dazs and Great British Chefs for the invite. All images are the property of Häagen-Dazs unless they carry the ‘travelsfortaste’ trademark.