Monday, July 23, 2012

Chez Karine Experience

Have A Jenga-like Dessert Experience at Chez Karine

by Trix Deseo

Much has been said online about Pastry Chef Karen Yang's macarons (P50 each, P350 for a box of 7) in Chez Karine (pronounce: chey-karin) and I'm not a bit surprised. When a Le Cordon Bleu Paris diploma and an internship under no less than Pierre Hermé ('The Picasso of Pastry' according to French Vogue) are reflected in your curriculum vitae, people will talk about your macarons-- regardless if they're just one-eight of your entire product line.

People have dissected every variant of Chef Karen's colorful and chewy French almond-meringue cookies. Some of them threw high praises to the unusual crisp-chewy bite; others remarked how generous they were with the ganache or butter cream filling. They've raved about the ones they liked best; Earl Grey, Milk Chocolate-Passion fruit, and Lemon lead the tally.

All seven kinds of macaron

But as in any business, there will also be people who think her macarons were underwhelming, as if they know better than someone who spent weeks doing nothing but making macarons in Hermé's commissary. They shifted focus in praising Chez Karine's cutesy desserts jars. Enamored by the beautiful choice of packaging, curious foodies have tried all the available variants of Chef Karen's Royal Pudding (P100 per jar) and Panna Cotta (P100 per jar) lines.

Royal Pudding and Panna Cotta

Those with an inkling to the bittersweet portion of the flavor spectrum found joy in the Muscovado variant of the Royal Pudding jars. The dark caramel liquid at the bottom provided the oomph needed by the subtle-flavored soft set custard, they'd say. On the other hand, those who like the clean and satisfying finish of something fruity liked the Mango and Strawberry Panna Cotta-- both are elegant executions of the classic cream based Italian dessert.

A few have also sampled and judged her entremets; after all, Hermé is not merely a macaronier but generally a terrific pâtissier. They expect the same from Chef Karen.


The Ambroise (P225)-- a careful structure made of Valrhona Caraibe, pistachios, strawberry jam, and Valrhona cocoa caught most of the attention by the mere fact that it's chocolate. But over time, people also loved the Passionfruit Igloo (P195). Why won't they when it is only in this patisserie can Felchlin white chocolate, passionfruit puree, and almond praline work this well?

Also worth-trying: Lemon Meringue Tart

"My packaging design is Asian-inspired"

While it's true that the macarons, the dessert jars, and the mini-cakes in Chez Karine are worth trying, I think that these people are missing out on that one splendid dessert they must have in the menu: the Honey Toast (P395).

Honey Toast

Huge enough to be shared by three to four people, this dessert is not as expensive as its price tag suggests. Like any other honey toast, the square loaf of white sandwich bread is brushed with melted butter, toasted, and drizzled with honey. But what sets this apart from the rest of the toasts is its clever presentation.

Order this and enjoy a Jenga-like experience as you and your friends pull out the toast slices from the core of the cube. Dress your piece with the homemade vanilla ice cream (made with actual vanilla beans), chantilly cream, and sliced almonds that sit elegantly atop the toast.

If you order for the Mangoes and Cream variant, you can find chopped sweet mangoes, mango coulis, vanilla pastry cream, and passion fruit macaron on it. Strawberries and Cream will give you sliced strawberries, vanilla pastry cream, strawberry coulis, and a berry macaron. While the third kind, Banana Nutella is a tower topped with sliced bananas, chocolate sauce, chocolate macaron, and Nutella.

All their desserts pair well with this Orange Mocha Cup (P130)

Go ahead. Try this at Chez Karine with a dessert-loving group and play a delicious version of Jenga. You can all thank me later.
Establishment Info
Chez Karine Bakery

Cakes and Pastries
P200 - P499

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