It was actually by chance that whilst searching for details on how to get to the Pyrmont Markets that I stumbled across the two events that SWEETNESS - the patisserie were offering as part of SIFF 2010. It worked out well that I then bumped into head chef/owner, Gena who was manning her stall at the markets and I asked her a bit more about the two different events and what they were about (as the SIFF website only gives a brief description of what they are). It didn't take long for Gena to convince me that I needed to book myself into one of these sessions and last night, the boy and I went along to one of her 'Tea on Tuesday' events.
I actually don't have any photos from the night (the boy actually did ask me at some point why I wasn't taking photos) but I think I was too busy enjoying the session and taking in all the info and asking questions that I didn't have time for the camera (plus I was busy gobbling away at Gena's creations). In a nutshell, 'Tea on Tuesday' is a small group session (our session had 8) where you learn about tea and also how you pair tea with dessert. Jen who owns Oscar & Howard Tea took us through 4 different kinds of tea and these were all paired with unique dessert combinations by Gena (all created uniquely for these sessions). Each dessert was exquisite and in my opinion, well matched with the four teas. To be honest, I actually learnt so much about tea in that 2 hour session that I feel slightly sheepish about how little I knew prior. I'd actually thought that 'Orange Pekoe' was an orange flavoured tea but alas no, it's the term for whole leaf tea and nothing to do with oranges at all!
At the end of the session, you get to take home your own blend of tea as well as a goodie bag full of Gena's sweets. Sweets aside, I actually think that the highlight of the evening was getting to meet both Jen from Oscar & Howard Tea and Gena (owner of SWEETNESS) and getting to ask them questions about their business and hear their inspirational stories, then to top it off, take a tour of SWEETNESS' kitchen and see what happens back of house. I'm rather jealous of Gena's collection of Kitchen Aids and still giggle when I think of Gena calling marshmallows 'sexy food'!
The boy ended up being the only boy there that night but I think he had fun. He did get a little hungry as the session runs from 7-9pm but as soon as he stepped inside the SWEETNESS kitchen, his eyes were roving around the room spotting where all the sweets were and I had him ask me whether I thought anyone would notice if he took a piece of marshmallow from one of the bowls sitting under the bench. I just shook my head.
And it whilst we were touring the shop that I noticed that Gena was selling dried cherries in her 'Larder'. FYI: In addition to all the baked goodies on offer, Gena now has a 'Larder' where she sells a selection of the ingredients she uses in her baking. I've been searching far and wide for a pack of dried cherries and pleaded with Gena to sell me her last bag which she kindly did.
So after a sensational two and half hours (as the boy and I were early) and somehow ended up being the last to leave (probably because I couldn't stop asking questions to both ladies - sorry to keep you both back at the shop!), I've booked the boy and I in for Sweet Expressions which is the other event hat Gena is offering this month. She's explained it a couple of times now what the session is about and I'm mighty looking forward to it so hopefully will have something to share at the end of the month! I believe there's still spots available for both events so get in there quick if you can!