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La Renaissance Patisserie and Café's Relais Desserts Celebration

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by GiGi GMV (subscribe)
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Published October 15th 2015
Relais Desserts Membership put Sydney on the International Pâtisserie Map
Sydney continues to shine as a gourmet foodie heaven with French-born Jean Michel Raynaud from The Rock's most well-known French cafe, La Renaissance Patisserie and Cafe, became the first Australian patisserie in the Southern Hemisphere to be officially inducted into the prestigious Relais Desserts – the world's most exclusive and prestigious French Pâtisserie association!

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Irresistible French Deserts


For those who like a bit of background information, the Relais Desserts was formed over 30 years ago in France, the Association recognises the best in the profession of French pâtissiers.

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Jean Michel Raynaud with Relais Desserts Membership


Currently there are only 80 members world-wide, the majority of whom are French or French trained. From the 'Picasso of Pastry' himself, Pierre Hermé, to other legends of the craft including Sadaharu Aoki, Paco Torreblanca and Frédéric Cassel, Relais Desserts unites the world pastry elite.

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The Relais Dessert Plaque


This prestige recognition is considered to be the pâtisserie equivalent of receiving a Michelin Star! Whilst Michelin Stars have independent judging and the stars are awarded, Relais Desserts is by invitation only, with chefs required to be sponsored by two Relais members and then assessed by their peers. It is renowned for its rigorous selection process.



This week we were invited to celebrate French-born pastry chef and co-owner Jean Michel Raynaud, and founder and co-owner Sally Charkos' incredible accolade.

French, Dessert, Relais, Sydney, GMV, Cafe, Patisserie, Got My Vote, The Rocks
A red-carpet event with Sally Charkos


The moment we walked into this charming French cafe for the special red-carpet Relais celebration, we knew we were in for a marvellous night full of sweet decadent patisseries. Little did I know I was swept off my feet by the moreish savoury bites, the French wines and the cheeses.



We began our evening with some lovely selected French wines such as Domaine Paul Prieur & Fils 2012, from Sancerre in the Loire Valley and the Chateau Pesquie "Cuvee Terasse" 2012 from Ventoux in the Rhone Valley.

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San Daniele's fennel and garlic salami


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San Daniele's cured prosciutto


The entertainer table was generously catered with lavosh crackers, French baguettes, San Daniele's cured prosciutto and fennel and garlic salami.

French, Dessert, Relais, Sydney, GMV, Cafe, Patisserie, Got My Vote, The Rocks
An abundance of fresh fruits


There was a giant fruit basket filled with plump strawberries, grapes and dates. sweet fig compotes, roasted pistachio nuts and salty olives were placed strategically around Simon Johnson's incredible French cheeses - Delice de Bourgogne, Marcel petite comte la couronne, Mon pere brie and Bleu de Basques blue cheese.

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Simon Johnson's incredible French cheeses


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Bleu de Basques blue cheese


I am fan of rich, plush cheeses and this Delice de Bourgogne was insanely decadent. The voluptuous velvety texture of this triple cream cheese marked a great start to my evening.

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Impressive French Charcuteries


I was thoroughly impressed with the abundant spread of these gourmet charcuteries and they certainly delighted all the guests. Next, I was faced with irresistible array of French savoury appetisers. Raynaud and his team created some incredible pastries especially for the evening.

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Smoked Salmon Appetizer


My resistance collapsed at the taste of salty smoked salmon paired with creme fraiche. The chicken liver pâté and olive tapenade tartelettes were dangerously silky smooth that I went for second helping.

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The chicken liver pâté and olive tapenade tartelettes


The delicious Lorraine and Provençal mini quiches warmed our hearts. The onion, anchovy and olive focaccia may not look much but it was utterly delicious.

However, the dish that truly made our night was the Original La Renaissance pork & veal sausage rolls! Yes, a very Australian dish but the sausage rolls were seriously good with fennel. The silky buttery pastry was truly one of the best! I had to resist myself to go for more to save room for desserts.

This occasion was more than just victories, it also represented all the hard work, the power to dream big, as well fun and good times. Jean Michel Raynaud and Sally Charkos both gave heartfelt thankful speeches. "It is such an honour to be included in Relais Desserts, the most prestigious patisserie association in the world. On a personal level, this is as high as you can go. I hope this achievement encourages people to follow their dreams and embrace what they are passionate about."

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Jean Michel Raynaud with JuliaTaylor‬


After the speeches had been made, the night transcended into the lively atmosphere of sentimental embraces and happiest laughter, accompanied by the most perfect desserts fit for a celebration.

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La Renaissance's French Petite Cakes


The evening's highlight included individual dessert tastings of the dessert Jean Michel created for his Relais Desserts induction ceremony. We were enchanted by these exquisite creations served at the celebration:

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The Goya Cake


The vibrant Goya Cake got my attention first. It was divinely filled with raspberry mousseline and passionfruit cremeux.

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The Zulu Cake


My friend, of course, went for the Zulu Cake of Valrhona chocolate mousse with a salted choc caramel centre. Needtheless to say, it put a big grin on her face.

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The Fraise de Venus


Next, we also tried Jean Michel's signature cake, the Fraise de Venus, a pain d'epices base with strawberry cremeux and creme fraiche. It looked like a lovely dainty marshmallow and the taste was airy and light.

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The Lemon myrtle mousse


The Lemon myrtle mousse was a sophisticated combination of smooth texture center and finished with an almond crunch.

The mango layered cake was overwhelming delicious and it would make for the perfect Summer dessert in Australia.

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Jean Michel's Spice Cake


These elegant petite cakes made us believe in love at first bite.

The celebration atmosphere was cheerful and full of happy vibes. I noticed there were a few gourmands and a host of other industry movers and shakers gathered with the Charkos family, Jean Michel, and team at La Renaissance and offered their congratulations.

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Just one more...


I finished the evening with a lovely French Champagne Veuve Rayer while my friend picked up another chocolate cake. They definitely make one's night after a long day at work!

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Life is Short Eat Dessert First


It is undeniable that Sydney is becoming the most unique food destination in the world. Sydneysiders and visitors alike will be pleased to be able to enjoy accessible world class food, whether it is grabbing a takeaway sausage rolls and sitting by the Harbour or enjoying a coffee and dessert in La Renaissance's historic walled garden courtyard.

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Fine French Desserts you can have at any time!


La Renaissance Café continues to be a mecca for true French pastries with the Relasis Desserts backing!
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*GiGi GMV was invited as a guest
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Why? Fine French Cakes Recognized by Relais Desserts
When: 10.30am - 6pm
Phone: (02) 9241 4878
Where: 47 Argyle St, The Rocks NSW 2000
Cost: Check cafe for individual prices
Your Comment
This is a beautiful article GMV!! The pictures are gorgeous!
by Maria M (score: 2|661) 1096 days ago
think they must have changed/improved something since a couple of years ago when they were looking tired - just a few weeks ago I bought a very fine looking little fancy cake from there for my partner as a surprise and she was delighted.
by ultim (score: 2|416) 1095 days ago
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