Yesterday I got chatting to a lady who has children at the same school as me. After a bit of conversation we realised that we actually live a few streets apart from each other (not such an unusual coincidence in Jakarta, as many of us expats seem to dwell in just a handful of suburbs). Anyway, we then got to talking about why we chose our neighbourhood and we both agreed the fact that you can walk safely around our streets without the danger of being run down by a swarm of motor scooters or falling down an open drain was quite appealing.
We then moved onto the proximity of our local shops, which again made our respective lifestyles more convenient and enjoyable. Many features that we found most appealing in our neighbourhood reminded us of the life we enjoyed pre-Jakarta. Anyway to cut a long story short, I mentioned the word, ‘canelé‘. As the word slipped from my lips, I awaited my new friends’ sigh of recognition and even anticipated a slip of drool emerging from her mouth at the thought of this custardy, chewy delicacy. Instead I was met with a blank look, an expression beckoning further qualification.. Quel horreur! She did not know the infamous canelé. We had an emergency at hand.
For the next 10 minutes (these columns of bliss deserve significant airplay!) I went to great effort to explain the wonders of the canelé- there are not enough superlatives to do it justice. I further explained that the best known canelé this side of Jakarta (and probably Jakarta-wide) was the delicacy prepared by Sophie at Authentique in Kemang. But news flash: there is a (relatively) new kid on the block preparing their own take of the traditional canelé. And much to my skeptical delight, theirs is also very good (dangerously more-ish to be honest). So it was this conversation that sparked the inspiration for, The Canelé taste off (a perfect excuse to eat more canelé all in the name of research!)
What are canelé
Canelé are French pastries traditionally made with flour, milk, butter, egg yolk, dark rum, vanilla, sugar and vanilla. They have a soft custard centre and a chewy, caramelised exterior crust. Traditionally canelé are made in copper or brass moulds lined with tin. These days silicone moulds are also used and many patissiers line their moulds with a film of ‘white oil’, which contains a blend of bees wax and safflower oil.
Where did canelé originate?
These tasty treats originated in Bordeaux, France some 300 years ago. Today they hold the title as official cake of Bordeaux but can be enjoyed all around the world.
The Canelé Taste Off Focus: Canelé from Sophie Authentique versus canelé from Animo.
Criteria (rated 0 – 4)
1: Mediocrity is never a good thing
2: Please sir, can I have some more?
3: My life has changed permanently for the better having eaten this!
4: Mon Dieu! Formidable! I need to get shares in the world production of canelé!
Canelé from Authentique
Texture (outside): 4
Texture (inside): 4
Price: 3 or 4 (3 if buying 1 piece at Rp20,000, or 4 if buying a box of 6 for Rp 100,000) Canelé from Animo
Texture (outside): 4
Texture (inside): 4
Price: 4 (Rp15000 per piece)
A fresh canelé made using traditional method and ingredients is hard to beat. The canelé sampled from Authentique and Animo were equally delicious and when buying the box of 6 canelé from Authentique, they work out to be more comparable in price. However after much consideration, it was concluded that Authentique takes the cake in this matchup, purely as their canelé are a mouthful bigger. And with canelé, you always want another bite! (Stop Press: rumour has it that there’s another potential canelé maker in Jakarta Selatan, who has just set up shop. I’ll investigate and if necessary another canelé taste-off may be required.. As well as a few more trips to the gym to compensate!)
* All prices quoted are accurate at the time of writing
Jl. Kemang Selatan 20a
Jl. Kemang 1
Animo bread Culture
Jl. Kemang Raya No. 69C
Words: Jo Photography: a journey bespoke