In this post:
- My chocolate confessions
- Interview with Tobie Puttock
- Ferrero Gourmet Christmas Hamper by Tobie Puttock
When we were kids, my Mum used to delight us with descriptions of the food at her office’s morning and afternoon teas. With every tale, Mum would declare: “I can always say no to sweet things, but show me a piece of juicy roast pork and that’s another story!” She never did cook a piece of juicy roast pork to take to work for afternoon tea, but whenever it was her turn to contribute, Mum would always make something savoury that she liked to eat, such as curry puffs.
Regular readers will know that like my mum, I’m a proud savoury tooth. Although I like chocolate, I don’t eat a lot of it myself. I don’t regularly crave it or celebrate it in the same way I do, say… bacon! Most of my friends are sweet-tooths and self-confessed chocoholics, and at work, it’s a big joke among my workmates that I nibble on chocolate like a little mouse. At Easter, if someone gives me a chocolate egg, I’ll take about a week to finish it. I’m the only person I know who has chocolate leftovers – I enjoy eating just a little at a time, then re-wrap what’s left to save for later.
So when I was asked if I’d like to take part in a promotion featuring a Ferrero Gourmet Christmas Hamper I had a good chuckle. Given my slow chocolate eating habits, I reckon a Ferrero chocolate hamper would last me for months! Well… if I could keep it away from Jac. She’s definitely got no slow chocolate eating issues. I’m sure none of you do either…or do you? ;)
I love anything hazelnut, so I’m very fond of Ferrero Rocher. But I don’t just love the taste of those hazelnut-encrusted chocolate-coated balls, I love the sensual pleasure of eating the different textures: the nutty outside, the crispy wafer layer, the creamy filling, and then of course, a whole hazelnut hiding in the centre.
Australian celebrity chef Tobie Puttock has put together a Ferrero Gourmet Christmas Hamper which will be available from the Ferrero Boutique website.
I first saw Tobie on TV years ago on Jamie Oliver’s show Oliver’s Twist – I remember the episode very well: Jamie cooked a seafood barbie lunch with his Aussie mates, chef Tobie and sommelier Matt Skinner. They had squid and prawns with two flavoured salts and seared a big filet of marinated tuna.
Tobie’s specialty is Italian cooking. He is currently the executive chef at Fifteen Melbourne and oversees a program, first started by Jamie Oliver at Fifteen restaurant in London, which takes on disadvantaged kids and gives them the opportunity to train as apprentice chefs in a professional, supportive environment. Tobie has also authored a number of books on Italian cooking.
I was given the opportunity to interview Tobie for this blog post and I asked him about Italian cooking, his favourite places to eat, his thoughts on food blogs, what’s on his family’s Christmas menu and of course, the Ferrero Gourmet Christmas hamper.
Your passion for Italian cuisine has been evident throughout your career. What do you love about cooking Italian?
I actually fell into Italian cuisine by accident, my first job in a kitchen was in an Italian restaurant in Melbourne. I love cooking Italian food because of the use of beautiful ingredients, the showcasing of seasonal ingredients and the history behind the cuisine. After about six years of cooking Italian food I thought about taking a job in a French restaurant and then I decided to stick with Italian food as there is so much to be learnt.
What dishes or particular ingredients are you most excited about right now?
Right now I am really into curing things, we make lots of different types of salamis and cured hams and also cured fish like tuna bresaola. I’m also really excited as we have lots of stone fruits and tomatoes on the way.
What do you like to eat when you’re away from work? Any favourite places to eat?
Oh yeah. I love to eat at any of Guy Grossi’s restaurants and George Calombaris’ Hellenic Republic is one of my favourites. Last week I was in Sydney and we went to Porteno, this could be one of my favourite eating experiences ever.
Has the rise of foodies and the food blogging scene affected you as a chef? What do you think of food blogs?
I am not sure that blogs have affected me but they have affected my customers. In this day and age so many people seem to be paying attention to food and becoming interested on a deeper level about what they put into their body and for me that’s a win. I like food blogs when they are written professionally, some blogs seem to be a venting ground for people.
The festive season is creeping up on us – do you do much cooking for/with your family at Christmas? What’s a must-eat or must-cook food/dish for you at Christmas time?
We always have a large Christmas day but not really a traditional one, we always have a turkey and roasted root vegetables but from there it can go anywhere, steamed pipis, whole roasted salmon in salt, prawns on the BBQ and lots of swimming, if it’s warm.
So tell us about the limited edition Ferrero Gourmet Christmas Hamper you’ve put together… and what’s your favourite chocolate?
Well last year Ferrero and I did an amazing dinner together and this year I was so happy to work with them again. Basically I sampled everything Ferrero makes and then chose what would go into the hamper. My favourite chocolate would have to be Ferrero Rondnoir (dark chocolate pralines).
The Ferrero Gourmet Christmas Hamper by Tobie Puttock (AU$75 + p&h) is packaged in an elegant signature Ferrero chest and includes Ferrero Rondnoir (Tobie’s favourite); Ferrero Rocher (my favourite); and two Italian Christmas delicacies imported from Alba, Italy – the birthplace of Ferrero: Ferrero Panettone and Ferrero Torrone Nougat.
There will be only 500 of these limited edition hampers available at the Ferrero Boutique website www.ferreroboutique.com.au where you will also find other gourmet hampers, gift boxes and corporate gifts.
$5 from each hamper purchased will be donated to the OzHarvest, a non-denominational charity that rescues excess food which would otherwise be thrown away and distributes it to charities supporting the vulnerable in Australia.
Thanks to Ferrero, here’s your chance to win one of two Tobie Puttock Gourmet Christmas hampers from Ferrero (Australian residents only).
How to enter
Leave a comment below in answer to the question:
Why do you want to win a Tobie Puttock Ferrero Gourmet Christmas Hamper?
Entries will be judged on their creativity and the winners selected out of the three blogs participating in this promotion. See competition Terms and Conditions
13 December 2010 5.00pm AEDST
This competition is now closed
Winners will be chosen as per the Terms and Conditions and contacted via email.