These foods are things I ate at some point in the last thirty three years and nine months and they’ve been forever lodged in my mind. I can’t forget them for some reason whether it be the texture, the taste or a combination of the two. Sadly, most of them are foods that I either need to travel to the other side of Australia for, or in some cases, to another country.
1. Canele (Canele de Bordeaux)
I met my first-ever Canele in Japan during the Canele Boom of 1996. Every time I turned on the tv or opened a magazine there would be a story about these little parcels of joy and how there was a two-hour wait for them or a three-week waiting list because, everybody and I mean everybody, was buying them.
To describe them simply, they are a custard cake with a caramelized exterior. The outside is crunchy due to being cooked in copper moulds lined with butter and beeswax and the inside, texture-wise, is a bit like a custard crumpet.
They are divine. That’s all I can say.
2. Melon bread
Melon bread is called ‘melon bread’ because it looks like a rockmelon (cantaloupe) not because it tastes like melon. Taste-wise, you can buy many varieties from green tea flavoured to chocolate and maple, but the basis of melon bread is a slightly sweet bread surrounded by a crunchy, cookie-like crust made of butter and sugar.
There is a story that the shape became popular when people couldn’t afford to buy rockmelons and satisfied themselves with melon-shaped bread instead and another story that the name meringue bread changed to melon bread over time. Whatever its beginnings, it has been made in Japan since the end of the 1800’s.
And it’s damn good.
3. Ootoro sushi
I had my first-ever piece of ootoro blue fin tuna by mistake. I’d ordered normal, run-of-the-mill budget tuna, but instead I received a glistening piece of tuna that just melted in my mouth.
Ootoro is the fattiest part of the tuna and looks almost like the best marbled Kobe beef. Chuutoro is the slightly fatty part of the tuna and akami is the normal part of the tuna.
It was a $20 piece of sushi, but I was more than happy to pay it.
4. Godiva truffles
I received a small box of godiva truffles for Valentine’s day one year. It was love at first bite.
Godiva are one of the most expensive chocolates brands you can buy in Japan and they fly them in from Belgium several times a week. I’ve recently discovered the chocolate assortment at the David Jones department store in Perth at an eye-boggling price of $45 for the smallest box of 15 chocolates.
5. M’s tomato chilli pasta sauce and home-made pasta
The ingredients are simple: onion, garlic, olive oil, chilli and tomatoes. He cooks it down for a good hour or so and sometimes blends it with the handmixer to make a rich, divine sauce.
Served with a good sprinkling of bitey parmesan, it’s foodgasm material.
Used in a lasagna with layers of freshly made pasta sheets, ricotta and mozzarella cheese? OMG….
Btw, if you’ve never made your own pasta…you’re seriously missing something good. G.O.O.D.
6. Bulgarian-style yoghurt
Made by the Japanese manufacturer, Meiji with milk and the LB81 strain of bacteria imported from Bulgaria, it’s yoghurt as it should be – thick, creamy and completely unadulterated with anything – no artificial setters, no flavours, no preservatives.
Why Bulgaria? Well, I guess Bulgaria is the ‘home’ of yoghurt. You can make yoghurt in Bulgaria, by getting some ants from your garden and dumping them into warmed milk. The bacteria is in the soil, it a part of life and that’s why they eat yoghurt with every meal.
The Meiji yoghurt, called “Bulgaria” has a hint of sour with a natural sweetness and the closest I’ve come to finding something similar to it is the Harvey Fresh Lactose Free Natural Yoghurt that is only available in Western Australia.
I made custard from scratch with eggs and cream for our Christmas in August lunch and oh my…
I LOVE custard but I’m ashamed to say I’ve always settled for stuff made from custard powder or out of a tub from the dairy section of the supermarket. But that’s what it is – stuff. It’s not custard.at all.
The only thing that could have possibly made it better would have been infusing the milk with a vanilla bean. Mmmmm.
8. Maple Macadamia Royal Copenhagen ice cream
Every year during the Christmas school holidays when I was in primary school my father used to take my sister and I for two weeks to Surfer’s Paradise in Queensland. We’d have McDonalds every day for lunch (at that stage we didn’t have McDonald’s in my home town and the nearest one was over 100kms away so it was a HUGE novelty for us), go to the Grundy’s game centre, play putt putt golf (mini-golf) and have waffle cones from the royal copenhagen ice creamery.
Actually, it’s impossible to walk past the ice creamery without buying an ice cream because you can smell their hand-made waffle cones baking from a mile away Watching the person sitting in the window with those big waffle irons, turning them, checking them and pulling out the baked waffles before rolling them deftly into cones was also part of the fun.
I’d always get two scoops one each of Old English Toffee and Maple Macadamia, topped with whipped cream, fudge and nuts in a waffle cone. I think the last time I had one I was 13…it’s been a loooooong 21 years!
9. Sourdough bread
I’m always on the search for chewy, rustic, sourdough bread. I’ve had some not bad ones from Lawley’s bakery in Mt. Lawley and the New Norsica Bakery in Subiaco, but my favourite was the wood-fired artesian roll I had at the newly opened hippy bakery in my hometown.
I still dream of this roll.
10. German baked cheesecake
This was another gem of a find in my hometown. I went back for seconds and thirds of this cheesecake. I secretly wanted to buy the whole cake on display in the showcase, but at $7 a piece and probably $80 for the entire cake, I wasn’t that insane. I was insane enough, however, to take a piece with me on the plane as I left.
I can’t wait for my trip home in December!
What foods have lodged themselves in your mind forever?