THE Punk Princess of Pastry, Anna Polyviou, lived up to every bit of her star billing last night’s Entwined in the Valley degustation finale.
Polyviou wowed 160 guests at Mandoon Estate with her charm and wit and then again with two desserts, including her signature Anna’s Mess, a so-called “spherical explosion” because diners must smash the painstakingly-produced sphere of white chocolate to best experience the treats inside.
Well-dressed diners donned disposable aprons to protect their finery as they gave new meaning to “plating up” by dropping the dessert from a height, allowing it to break open and expose a rich array of strawberries, meringue, mascarpone, raspberry curd and white chocolate.
Earlier in the day, Polyviou spent time exploring the Swan Valley and meeting some of the people responsible for it’s fine produce; some of which she is keen to incorporate into her repertoire of creativity.
Included on her tour were Whistler’s Chocolate Co, Mondo Nougat, @3000 Grapes, Taylors Art and Coffee House and the Swan Valley Bed and Breakfast, where she even made an offer to buy the owner’s famous pink limousine.
That was after she spent a night at the movies on Friday as part of The Henley Brook’s Free Range Flicks and led a magnificently messy masterclass on Saturday at Caversham House.
“Everyone was smashing Anna’s Mess and the owner was freaking out; it was all on the walls, the ground, it was on people’s clothes. It was the best!” she said.
Today Polyviou is winging her way to Melbourne to compete for the title of Australia’s best pastry chef.
“It would be a great honour if I won it, we work very hard on what we do, we really do,” she said.
“And if I win it it’s well deserved but if I don’t win it it’s rigged,” she laughed.
Having spent the weekend in the Swan Valley, the executive pastry chef from Sydney’s Shangri La Hotel gave the region and the people behind its family-operated businesses a glowing endorsement.
“I didn’t know much about Swan Valley at all but to actually see what is here, I would recommend everyone to come here,” she said.
“The fact that you can’t get the wines anywhere else, you have to come here; it’s very exclusive.
“Swan Valley just needs to really market its produce a lot more within Australia.
“Margaret River is amazing but what you guys have here, 20 minutes away from the city, is awesome.”
Guests at the degustation dinner were treated to seven courses courtesy of Hadleigh Troy, from Restaurant Amuse, Co-op Dining’s Kiren Mainwaring, Mandoon Estate’s Michael Hartnell and Polyviou, who produced two spectacular desserts.
Each course was matched with a Swan Valley wine (or in some cases, a cider) chosen by respected wine writer Ray Jordan.