A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine visited Adriano's store at The Star in Sydney (where we headed for dessert straight after we got engaged) and she saw him through the window. I was, of course, insanely jealous and I told my man that one way or another, I was going to meet Adriano.
Yesterday we travelled the four hours from our house to Mount Buller to attend our session with Adriano. We were to arrive at the venue no earlier than 1.30pm but when we arrived at 1.10pm we were already about 15th in the line. By the time 2pm (start time) rolled around the line stretched right down to the road. I excitedly poked Chris in the ribs while squealing "there he is!" I appeared to be the only psycho staring through the window for a glance of the man we were all there to see.
When we were finally allowed inside we were handed bags containing recipes, along with a much-appreciated glass of champers. I quickly downed my champagne as trying to juggle a camera, a phone, a pen and my notes proved somewhat impossible.
After Adriano was introduced, he set about demonstrating how to make some Easter eggs. These, naturally, were not your run-of-the-mill eggs - they involved splattering some coloured cocoa butter and lustre dust on the moulds before carefully tempering some 64% dark chocolate, which he used for the shells.
Adriano also made some strawberry-vanilla macarons for us while we looked on. It was so interesting to watch him make these fragile beauties; particularly as I struggle to make the damn things. I learnt a lot about making macarons from watching him; I think a lot of my problem is that I treat the mixture far too carefully. Adriano explained that egg whites must always be whipped on medium speed as whites that are whipped too quickly fall too quickly. Now, while making macarons it is the aim to knock quite a bit of air out of the mixture; however whites that are whipped too quickly don't have time to full develop the strength of their protein. He also explained that folding the mixture is unnecessary (another thing I've been doing wrong!) and that you should continue to work the mixture until it resembled a mixture that only just falls back into itself. Adriano also taps the shells vigourously after piping, and double-trays them in the oven.
Adriano also spoke about the type of people he employs - he prefers to hire young people with passion and drive, over people who have worked at a lot of top notch restaurants. He finds those people harder to work with, and much prefers to surround himself with those who are willing to learn and get on with the job.
Adriano got a few laughs when he revealed his favourite dessert; rather than something high-brow, he opts for custard in a carton from the supermarket. True story. "You can even drink it straight out of the carton!" he excitedly added. Err yes!
Adriano is quite obviously a naturally shy person and appears embarrassed by all the attention he receives. After the demonstration I waited in line for him to sign my book (trying not to crumble from nerves and excitement!) and thought of all the things I wanted to say to him. I wanted to thank him for sharing his passion with us; I wanted to tell him how I almost got engaged at his Balmain store but couldn't due to a lack of V8 cake; I wanted to tell him he constantly inspires me and is my idol; I wanted to tell him about my macaron-filled engagement cake. Finally it was my turn to meet Adriano. He looked up at me, but I was thrown because he seemed so shy. He couldn't be shy! I am the shy one! So all of my thoughts went out the window and I awkwardly said "Um...it's for Kellie...with an 'ie'...K, E, L, L, I, E..." And that was it. I stammered "thank you" before moving over to the line of people queuing for a photo with him.
After the signing and photos we moved to the rear of the room and were treated to a delicious afternoon tea consisting of macarons, the famous croquembouche, and a tart topped with watermelon. My stomach was full of butterflies from just meeting Adriano so I shoved my treats into a cup and we left the ski lodge.
So...there you have it. Have you ever met your idol? Did you freeze like I did?