A Matcha made in heaven

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Moevenpick, the purveyors of quality Swiss ice cream, have joined forces with Vanilla Zulu’s Executive Chef, Mel Townsend to bring ice cream lovers around Australia the Matcha Cone.

At her interactive cooking school in Brisbane, Townsend draws on her South African roots and specialises in teaching the food that is on trend.

Her title of the “Dessert Queen” made her a natural pick to collaborate with Moevenpick, so it was no surprise when the glorious Matcha cone was born.

The Australia Times recently caught up with Townsend to find out more about how this striking green cone came to fruition, as well as her top tips for foodie trends in 2017.

How did the collaboration between yourself and Moevenpick first happen?

“Moevenpick were working on refreshing their brand and I happened to have a colleague that works there who recommended I be involved. I was very excited because Moevenpick is very good quality, beautiful ices and ice creams, so I was very happy to work with them,” explains Townsend.

“We worked out what they needed to do to their menu to take it to the next step and we decided to look at one of their basic offerings, which is the cone. They said I was allowed to play around with it – and that is how our lovely Matcha cone came about. It is just a bit of fun food!”

What was the process and inspiration behind creating the Matcha cone?

“We wanted to create a bit of a wow factor – something completely different. We also wanted to get back to the real ingredients, as a lot of our customers obviously want to know where a product comes from and they want to know that it is good quality and that it is natural. And Matcha actually gives us all of that. It is really trendy at the moment but it actually gives us that beautiful, natural green colour, which sits well with most of the flavours of the Moevenpick ice cream.

“A cone is still the base accompaniment or accessory to the ice cream but the Matcha cone makes it a bit more of a vibrant personality to accompany that. It was all about adding more personality to the beautiful quality of the ice cream.

“I always say you have got to talk it up – it could just be a plain ice cream cone, but you need to have beautiful ingredients to start with and then the job is easy. And that is why I was so excited to work with Movenpick as I didn’t have to work too hard!” laughs Townsend.

Obviously Matcha as a flavour is very trendy right now. How do you see this trend developing from here?

“We have seen Matcha around the marketplace and the retail line, so generally when you see a food trend in the retail line and restaurants it then follows into domestic kitchens,” says Townsend.

“You will find a lot more people will start using Matcha powder at home in a few more recipes – that does depend on the availability, so generally if something becomes available through popularity, you will be able to get it at the local supermarket, whereas now you generally have to get it at a health food store or a specialist store. Then you can create using inspiration from social media.”

Experimenting with flavours is clearly a real passion of yours. What are your favourite emerging trends for 2017?

“I think mixing and matching natural flavours is going to be the trend for 2017, we don’t want anything fake or over processed. We want to go back to basics.

“In terms of what I am doing in the kitchen, smoking food is quite trendy at the moment. We see it all over Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules – home smoking is very easy and very popular. It lends that bit of personality and creativity to whatever you’re cooking like a piece of fish, or if you are trying to match your mashed potatoes to your rack of lamb, you could smoke them down with some rosemary smoke.

“It is all about our perception of food. You know, they say you eat with your eyes but we need to take that really seriously. It is not only colour, but it is flavour and texture as well. So obviously enjoying a smooth, creamy Moevenpick ice cream is best offset with a colourfrul, crunchy cone, whether it is the standard cone they have or our brand new Matcha cone!”

This article first appeared on The Australia Times.

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