In the unlikely event you’ve been fretting that Cake Girl can find contentment in merely oggling* dessert offerings, the reality is the pudding menu is always salivated over before any contemplation given to the savoury courses traditionally first up. And it was no exception when dining posh at the Mt Cook Hermitage. Somehow, fancy restaurants magic the humble (but essential) pudding into artfully-assembled edible showpieces.
Cake Girl’s choice was case in point: a triangular-shaped piece of condensed milk and feijoa custard, accessorised with grilled warm fresh feijoa and banana, and accented by ginger shortbread. So spectacularly good that I cannot recall the main course. And it was definitely not the sort of thing I’d whip up at home.
Speaking of which, Cake Girl’s partner opted for this chocolate fondant paired with champagne foam and blood orange icecream:
The basil centre of the fondant was perhaps too adventurous but the sliced orange garnish a most unexpected delight: crispy, shiny and bittersweet. Cake Girl briefly toyed with the idea of enquiring as to how these wafers of yumminess were created but the maitre d’ had the slight air of having granted a favour by permitting us to dine on his turf. Pursuing information may have tipped him off the ledge of customer tolerance.
* the only time that looking is sufficient is when someone bites into a chocolate and it is necessary to see what’s inside so you know which ones to avoid.
Sample of the Mt Cook views from the Hermitage.
A recent road trip of NZ’s beautiful South Island to take in the Autumn colours confirmed that cake doesn’t grow on trees. In fact, many parts of the country remain blissfully undeveloped and one has to be self-sufficient or perish. Fortunately Cake Girl had the foresight to pack a tin full of lebkuchen (German gingerbread), which was a sturdy traveller and aged gracefully into chewy yumminess.
At the Hermitage hotel in stunning Mount Cook, it was the buffet table that burst forth with sweet treats. Cake Girl is a smorgasboard snob - there’s something off-putting about eating masses of food that other people have picked over and, even worse, that children might have touched with their grubby mitts. So this left only the a la carte dining option in the more elegant restaurant, access to which entailed a passing encounter with the buffet table. The savoury offerings didn’t even register in Cake Girl’s vision but the dessert display called out to be admired.
And indeed the endless selection of pretty bite-sized treats was worthy of admiration.
Feeling content with the visual symphony imprinted in my brain, Cake Girl continued on to the proper restaurant and prepared to settle in for a delicious dinner.
However, it wasn’t long before the panic of forgetting the beauty of dessert buffet set in and the only solution was to rush back with camera in hand. Fortunately the diners in the buffet restaurant were too busy eating to notice my reappearance and snap-happy fingers. And Cake Girl was too happy to ponder the potential shamefulness of her actions.