Opening our first Tasting Pavilion was a major undertaking in and of itself. Deciding on and then creating offerings for our new home presented a new set of unique challenges.
The menu process began several month’s prior to the actual building of the tasting pavilion.
Originally, we planned to offer a simple menu of Crumbzz Cakes, coffees and tea’s. As our vision of the tasting pavilion morphed into its current iteration, we realized we would need much more than the planned simple menu to compliment our beautiful new home.
As with our cakes, we wanted each and every offering to be special. We soon realized that creating dishes that lived up to our cakes was not going to be an easy task.
The first step in the process was deciding on what to offer. Early on, we decided that every dish had to compliment our brand; upscale, the finest quality, no preservatives or additives and unique. This also meant that we would be focusing primarily on breakfast and lunch offerings.
Locating the finest quality ingredients for our offerings was the easy part. We had built wonderful relationships with quality suppliers for our crumb cakes and would be able to expand on those relationships to procure the ingredients we required for our new offerings.
It soon became clear that, our biggest challenge would be the creation of unique offerings.
We knew our crumb cakes were special and unique but they had attained that reputation over hundreds of years. We had to create dishes that would be at that level, from the start, in a few short month’s!
How to make a better egg
Although we use eggs from cage-free chickens for our crumb cakes, eggs are pretty much eggs and there is no way we could find to make a better egg. So we set out to make a better egg dish.
Our first egg dish was a pretty logical creation from an economic and environmental sense. The making of our crumb cakes leaves us with an enormous amount of egg whites. Making an egg-white omelet solved not only the economic and environmental issue but also provided our tasting pavilion guests with a healthy breakfast alternative.
To make our omelet special we added garden fresh baby spinach and just the right amount of parmesan. Light and fluffy, our egg white omelets are now a big hit at the tasting pavilion.
Our second egg dish was much more of a challenge. We really wanted it to be special and special meant a soufflé. Egg soufflé’s are notoriously finicky to make. One has to be well versed in their creation to make a great one every time.
We worked month’s on getting our process down to where we had confidence we could produce a superior product every time. Our Béchamel is one of the keys to our success. It is light and creamy and adds a wonderful silky texture to each soufflé’.
The choice of the finest Gruyère and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses was another factor. There is such a difference in flavor between the finest Gruyère and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses and their counterparts that we were more than willing to pay the difference in price (which is as substantial as the taste differences.)
Adding locally grown, fresh shallots was the final touch in producing a soufflé that we believe is second to none.
Searching the World for the Finest Waffle
There are good waffles and bad waffles. As is our DNA, we wanted not just a better waffle, we wanted something special. Something no one had experienced.
We set about polling the industry and using the greatest research tool in the world (the Internet), came back with the Liège.
Authentic Guafre Liege waffles are one of life’s great treasures. Caramelized sugar glistening on the most delicious buttery-sweet goodness beneath.
Originating in Liège Belgium, the original waffle recipe is nearly impossible to find. In Belgium, chains like Belgaufre have taken them far afield from their 18th century brioche roots.
In the U.S. chains use inferior sugar (because of cost) or produce substandard pre-made frozen balls of dough from Europe (because of the savings in labor and time).
We realized early on, to enjoy the unique taste of this very special waffle, we would need to go back to the original recipe’s and make it from scratch ourselves.
Our research led us to a small waffle maker in Liège Belgium who tirelessly worked with us to produce “authentiek” Liège Waffles.
Our initial attempts failed miserably because of the mechanical failure of traditional U. S. waffle machines (the unique characteristics of a Liège Waffle quickly destroy’s regular waffle machines). And so, we invested in a custom Liège Waffle maker from Belgium.
Two month’s and $3,600 later, we had our waffle maker and were on our way to constructing our very own Liège Waffles.
Our “original” recipe was complimented with our own personal touches to produce a Crumbzz Liège Waffle.
Topped with our own Cinnamon Streusel Butter, they are truly the finest waffle you will ever taste.
A Look to Mom for an Italian Twist on Pancakes
Just as we used my dad’s family recipe for our crumb cakes, my mom’s family recipe provided the basis for our Gamberia Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes.
Named after the beautiful Villa Gamberaia in the hills of Florence, where my mom’s family heritage originated, our Gamberaia Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes provide our guests with a uniquely Italian twist on the traditional pancake.
Although Ricotta pancakes taste like traditional buttermilk pancakes, Ricotta add’s a fluffy, moist texture that is often lost in the more traditional buttermilk pancake.
The addition of fresh blueberries, powdered sugar and our family’s lemon butter topping, adds an Italian flair that produces an unusually light, refreshing pancake that can’t be beat.
Mushroom Spinach Quiche
There are two things to look for in a good quiche, the fluffiness of the eggs and the flakiness of the crust. Fresh made quiche has a light flaky crust and a light creamy feel. There is only one way to achieve this balance and that is to make your quiche from scratch. And that means not only the egg and vegetables but also the crust. Add garden fresh vegetables and you have the makings of a true culinary delight.
Our Mushroom Spinach Quiche is not only a beauty to behold but also an exquisite dining experience that you won’t soon forget. Eggs whipped to perfection, light flaky crust that bursts with home cooked flavor and vegetables that provide the finishing touch of fresh picked garden flavors.
With the addition of fresh strawberries, grapes and orange garnish, our quiche has become a wonderful light breakfast or lunch for our Tasting Pavilion guests.
Our own Homemade Ice Cream
As ice cream lovers, we knew it would only be a matter of time before we produced ice cream at our tasting pavilion. In addition, many of our clients love the idea of adding a dollop of ice cream to our crumb cakes. And so, we set about creating our very own ice cream.
Making ice cream is a fairly simple process that most anyone can do. Making GOOD ice cream is also not a giant reach… at least from a development standpoint.
The key to good ice cream is in the butterfat content and in the use of natural ingredients. Finding the right method to incorporate that rich butterfat into the ice cream is key and can be quite a challenge to accomplish.
Most providers did not provide the butterfat richness we required to make a truly superior ice cream.
Our research also confirmed that the longer it took to freeze our product the more likely it would be to form ice crystals. The more ice crystals the less creamy the ice cream.
We eventually found a provider that would provide us with cream that had a sufficient butterfat content and we eventually figured out how to incorporate that creamy butterfat to get us half way there to the perfect ice cream.
About the same time we overcame our butterfat challenge, we learned of a way to make ice cream that would virtually eliminate ice crystals. That method is called Liquid Nitrogen.
Using Liquid Nitrogen to fast freeze our ice cream produces a wonderfully creamy finish that can’t be found in store bought ice cream.
And so we came to our last challenge… the flavor
We knew we wanted to incorporate the wonderful flavor of our cakes in our ice cream. The flavor we eventually chose was clearly the logical choice.
Cinnamon streusel is the flavor of our signature crumb cake and it was the original flavor in the family recipe, and so Cinnamon streusel carried on the tradition of being the first flavor of our homemade ice cream.
The end result of all our efforts is our Vanilla Cinnamon Crumbler. A delicious blend of homemade vanilla ice cream, infused with cinnamon streusel and topped with our oven toasted crumbs.
With the addition of a wonderful Garden Gourmand Salad that features garden fresh baby spinach, toasted walnuts, cranberries, homemade parmesan croutons and a spritz of light raspberry vinaigrette, our menu lineup was complete and the total package of beautiful ambiance, wonderful music, and exquisite dining offerings made our Crumbzz Forney Tasting Pavilion what it is today… a place to enjoy great friends, great food and life as it should be.
Next Month: Tasting Pavilion Stories