The Magic of Sugar by Florence Lesage.
The World Champion of Sweet Arts showcased her stunning creations during 3 tea afternoons at the Aruba Marriott.
The Aruba Marriott Resort and Casino take everything seriously, even pastries. For their latest event at The Lobby, they have invited the one and only Florence Lesage to grace us with the most sublime of experiences, an afternoon tea like this island has never seen.
For those of us who did not have the pleasure of knowing Florence Lesage, she is not any pastry chef, she is THE pastry chef. Her resume is full of accolades, including the latest, which made her the Championne du Monde des Arts Sucrés (World Champion of Sweet Arts) in 2022. A quick Google search reveals more, the most impressive trajectory a Chef in her field can have!
Once the Aruba Marriott's social accounts posted the announcement of the afternoon tea to enjoy the most decadent selection of sweets, spots sold fast! many of the followers of this blog lost their chance, they Dm'd me with sadness... seats were limited and people were eager to come and see what this champion was going to bring to the table, literally.
3 PM on a Friday. The Atrium at the Aruba Marriott felt so welcoming and refreshing, especially with the afternoon heat of late. The Lobby tables were adorned with pink flowers in white porcelain vases, fancy rose gold and royal blue china, golden spoons, and napkins in a soft old rose hue, a color that I love. The statement was there, something special is happening. It was elegant but not in an intimidating way.
The menu (a secret until that day), printed on this tasteful linen paper, revealed the ultimate treat. Not only we were gonna enjoy an assortment of pastries, but savory bites were also gonna be part of it, and on the back side, an almost absurd selection of loose tea.
It was not easy to decide on the tea. Mysterious things like "African Solstice" and "Blueberry Merlot" caught my attention. Respectfully to all Earl Gray and Chamomille people, today was not the day for those.
Quickly after, a pot with my selection arrived at the table. Every guest at the table got their own pot. I am a coffee die-hard but the tea was appreciated and enjoyed.
Moments after, to our surprise, Chef Lesage approached our table, and all the other ones too, to say "Hello". A hint of a tan put in evidence that she had already enjoyed the Arubian sun. We talked, we made jokes, we asked her where she is going next, and her travel itinerary was so fascinating and exotic that I think we all volunteered to carry her luggage, to be her personal assistant, personal shopper, we would do anything just to join her!
Of course, I could come here and tell you about all the sweets and flavors, and I am going to, but these kinds of details, interactions, and memories are what make coming to these things worth it. It goes beyond the treat you give your palate.
Then, this arrived at the table.
Can you believe your eyes? we almost could not.
From the bottom: Quiche Lorraine, house-made duck breast ham canapé, smoked salmon and stracciatella finger sandwich, and a local mushroom and truffle vol-au-vent.
The duck ham was pure insanity! SO GOOD! Am I a duck aficionado now?
Followed by the local mushroom vol-au-vent. We know things with truffles are now everywhere but this one was really something else.
Huge fact! The bread used for these savory bites was provided by our local legend and bread boutique T2 Pan! Two powerful women joining forces, we love to see it!
Now the sweets.
Let me just say we did not know what to grab first and how to eat them even. These were not bite sizes! these were full-on big, like the regular size of one dessert at any restaurant, so that meant we were gonna have 4 desserts in a row. Honestly, I am here for it. It is not every day that we get to eat something prepared by the World Champion herself.
Also! Scones were served, with cream and jam as they should. Please, Aruba Marriott set up a Scones shop immediately!
So proceeding with Florence's creations, the menu was: Raspberry and pistachio brioche, Peanut and milk chocolate cookie, Coconut and Hazelnut Religieuse, Dark chocolate Charlotte cake with Cocoa nibs and Hazelnuts, and Exotic baba: Mango and Passion fruit.
I think everybody at the table had their own favorite. The Charlotte cake, the Religieuse, but ultimately my favorite was the Exotic Baba with Mango and Passionfruit. Maybe because of the way it was presented with the cream on top and the tangy flavor of the passion fruit gloss that covered it. It was impressive and delicious.
Also, the cookie crumbled at the first bite into the most delicate almost raw dough texture, you would say that is a weird thing to say about a cookie, but considering the intention to achieve such a delicate moment I am sure a ton of skills were involved. As it was with everything else, even the presentations, not a single crumble was out of place.
Not only the ones that were fortunate enough to secure a seat in The Lobby experienced and met Chef Florence Lesage! With great generosity, she hosted a pastry masterclass for the E.P.I. students where she shared her knowledge with our future pastry stars in formation.
Truly one for the books. We bid adieu to Florence and wished her safe and successful travels. For us, the sweet taste in our mouths and memories from such a refined afternoon.
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