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Published March 25th 2019
Famous chef, new recipes and how to cook with Kanzi apples
You probably heard the crunch as I just bit into a Kanzi apple. To remind me of how good they are as I write this piece.
The little sticker on my apple says 'Kanzi - Seduce Life'. Well, this Kanzi apple has certainly seduced me. My object of desire has a beautiful blush of red and a tinge of green. It is so succulent that the juice is running down my chin.
The uniqueness comes from the fact that a Kanzi apple is a natural cross between a juicy gala apple but has the tanginess of a Braeburn. The inside flesh is snow white and so crisp it almost fizzes on your tongue like shaved ice.
And Kanzi, is an apt name for this fleeting seasonal apple as it means hidden treasure.
The short season is a bonus for the consumer because unlike some other apples' it means Kanzi apples are never kept in cold storage, So you get to eat them at the peak of perfection but only during the 12 week season. And that season starts now!
If reading this in March, you should find them in your supermarket until May. But if you miss out this year, you will have to wait until next year.
Kanzi is an orange pippin cultivar that was originally developed in Belgium and has been licensed to a limited number of Australian growers.
I am kicking myself I didn't make the Kanzi Apple Festival on March 16-17 at Sanders Apples celebrating the opening of the season with a family day that included a 2kg bag of picking your own Kanzi apples for the $10 entrance fee. Next year!
But I was fortunate enough to drop into Battunga Orchard in Hoddles Creek for a tour with some other food lovers.
Wandering around the orchard, we learnt from orchardist Laurie Thompson how Kanzi apples are never harvested by machines but rather handpicked, as even the top branches are quite reachable.
While you hear about fruit and vegetables being handpicked in advertising, in this case, the claim is absolutely true. A simple twist and the delicious apple is all yours.
The outing which was organised under the auspices of FCBA (Food Critics & Bloggers Australia) and we went on to the Fable Dining Room in the Yarra Valley where acclaimed chef Paul Cooper took over the restaurant in January of 2019.
Cooper has worked at high-profile restaurants all over the world, including Tom Aikens and Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental, London (both one Michelin Star), ABaC in Spain (two Michelin Stars), and Pied à Terre, London (two Michelin Stars). Locally he is known for his culinary wizardry at well-known restaurants including Matteo's and Bistrot d'Orsay, The Botanical and O'Connell's, before partnering with Erez Gordon to open Bishop Sessa in Surry Hills, Sydney in 2012.
If I could have a favourite dish from the array, it was the Kanzi apple served lightly pickled (using apple cider vinegar) and then topped with Macedon duck 'bonito' that had been smoked dehydrated and then shaved into slithers. This was then topped with black, squid crackers. Such a novel dish with spurts of tartness from the pickled Kanzis and the crunch of the crackers.
Paul Cooper explained how Kanzi apples have textural integrity so they don't fall to mush when cooked.
His next creation was a testament to this. He had braised the Kanzi apples for 12-hours in red wine. Yet, it appeared on our plates as a wedge. It was served next to a pillar-box of pork belly that he had cooked on smoked Kanzi skins. There was something mesmerising about the spread of red on our plates from the liquid of the cooked apple. And, oh the crackling!
We finished off with a Kanzi terrine, burnt butter parfait and candied walnuts. While a dessert, it was the wonderful taste of the Kanzi apples that came through rather than any sugar and we finished with a Kanzi tart with fine, vanilla ice cream.
Kanzi apples make delicious deserts. This one with candied walnuts was amazing.