Gaylord has been one of the most iconic restaurants in Mumbai. Established in 1956, Gaylord is known to be the first restaurant in India to introduce the concept of an open bakery. We have always hung out at Gaylord for their bakes and desserts. Their walnut pie and cheese straws are our personal favourite and we always make it a point to have these when we are in Churchgate. A few days ago we got an invite to spend an afternoon for high tea with Chef Lionel Villaron from France, and we were glad to be a part of it.
French dessert, in recent years, has taken Mumbai by storm. Everyone loves a well made macaron, and are getting more savvy with the intricacies of French desserts. With choux pastry and mille fueille now being popular, it was only fit for Gaylord to add a few signature treats to their iconic boulangerie.
Chef Lionel Villaron is known for his modern French pastries and has been the Executive Pastry Chef and Research & Development Manager at L’Opera in Delhi. His professionalism, expertise, refinement and impressive savoir – faire have been much appreciated both by the L’Opera team and by Delhiites. With 25 years of experience in pastry industry and having worked in France, London and Egypt, Chef Villaron had an interesting selection of desserts for us to try.
A few of the desserts we had were, Chocolate Crunchy Mousse, Cronuts, Raspberry & Blueberry Bavarois, Chocolate Choux, Coffee Choux, Baba Mojito, Vanilla Rosemary Mille Fueille and Chocolate Mille Fueille. We were also served sandwiches and coffee.
The star of the event was Baba Mojito, a creative twist to the classic Baba au Rhum. It is yeast cake, a batter richer than Brioche is baked and soaked in liquor, usually rum and topped with whipped cream. This one was soaked in Mojito syrup so it had a lovely twang of lemon and mint. It was soft and juicy, almost reminiscent of rasgulla and instantly it was love at first bite.
The Chocolate Crunchy Mousse was amazing too. Silky smooth moussefilled with honey and crunchy nuts and nougat, made it a sinful treat. The secret to the richness of this beautiful creation are Elle & Vire cream and Barry Callebaut chocolate which made it extraordinary. However the mousse was not able to hold up at room temperature and fell flat quickly.
We also loved the Raspberry and Blueberry Bavaois (pronounced as Bavarua). It is also called Bavarian Cream or Crème bavaroise, similar to Crème Patisserie or Pastry Cream but thickened with gelatin or agar agar. It was a classic Charlotte dessert with Boudoirs/Biscuits à la cuillère popularly known as Lady Fingers or Savoiardi cookies tied and held together with a pretty red ribbon. It had layers of Rasberry and Blueberry Bavarian Cream, distinctly flavoured to give you the best of both worlds.
The next one was an unusual combo, Vanilla and Rosemary Mille Fueille. We were not big fans of this pastry dessert but Chef Villaron incorporated the flavors of Rosemary and Vanilla very well. It was garnished with sprigs of rosemary and had the classic icing sugar dusting. The Chocolate Mille Fueille however was delicious, it had chocolate sheets instead of layer of puff pastry that were made with Trinitario cocoa beans filled with chocolate cream. The cronut was good too.
Chef Villaron introduced two versions of Choux Pastry, Chocolate and Coffee. Choux Pastry being close to my heart, I was really happy to see them. The joy of seeing choux baked is something that always brings a big smile to my face and enjoying these little french delights just made my day.
We were on a sugar high. It was a wonderful afternoon spent at Gaylord and would like to give a shout out to Chef Villaron for creating this French extravaganza for us. And this goes out to everyone who loves dessert; Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup! which means “Eat well, laugh often, love abundantly.” And most importantly head to Gaylord Bakeshop, you wouldn’t wanna miss this.