September 24, 2013

Gustav's Innovative Yummy Pastry Creations

Phone Number: +961 1 74 71 99

Address: Hamra main street, 50meters after Hotel Crowne Plaza, Beirut, Lebanon

Website: http://www.gustav.ws/Bienvenue.html

Price Range: 0-0 $

A couple of months ago, I met an interesting man who recently opened a new kind of shop in Beirut solemnly based on passion. A passion, which has led him to the opening of a pastry shop offering desserts worth talking about. Intrigued, as I often am, I went down to Hamra to try  Gustav and enjoy the passion poured in each piece served...

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Nestled in the heart of Hamra, just a few meters away from The Crowne Plaza hotel, is a small boutique selling sweet innovations or as they call them "innovations sucrées". New tastes, new ice creams and new flavors rarely seen before in Lebanon.
 
At Arabnet's Taste of Beirut event, Mr. Khaled Kara introduced me to his concept by letting me taste some of his renowned creations. Pomegranate tart, chocolate tart and chocolate cake balls to name a few. Here, I knew that Gustav is not the street's usual pastry shop. Gustav is a provider of fine pastry pieces that will caress your taste buds in style.
Inspired by the tree of life and blossoming colours, the team behind bakery Gustav have traveled the world to bring back some of the finest essences that make up its flavour. Gustav has also benefited from young patrons who are willing to try something new, like Gustav’s cake balls, which have a very dense and moist texture and are available in fun colors and interesting flavors such as red velvet with white chocolate, raspberry, mango and passion fruit, Belgian chocolate, chocolate with peanut butter, chocolate with caramel, carrot cake and blue velvet with blueberries.
 
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Speaking with the man behind the brand, Khaled Kara, he explains: “The market has been stagnant for some time offering the same products for God knows how long. Most pastry shops have been presenting the same
cakes for the past 30 years. It is good to hold on to certain products that are more traditional, however, the world hasn’t stopped there.”
 
The name: Inspired by the Italian word "Gusto" meaning good taste. Gustav saw the light.
 
My tastings to date:
  • Pomegranate Tart (The signature and a must try). It's incredible how the seeds just disappear in your mouth, leaving behind the rich pomegranate taste making of this dessert a unique one
  • Raspberry Tart: French belle de Fontenay Raspberries with all their antioxidant properties in an exquisite pie
  • Dark Chocolate Tart: Dark Belgian and Italian Chocolate mix
  • Apple Tart with cinnamon
  • Mango Tart
  • Strawberry Tart: Lined-up cut fresh strawberries on a bed of a rich cream flavored with Tahitian vanilla pods
  • Gustav’s special chocolate balls (Red velvet vanilla with a white Swiss chocolate with red morello cherry, Caramel, chocolate, Nutella, peanut butter chocolate, carrot cake, raspberry, tiramisu, mango passion fruit, apricot)
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Some of the innovations Kara and his team have come up with include new flavor combinations – likemorello cherry and pistachio – or drawing on French or oriental techniques and combining them into a single pastry.
“Being a French patisserie in Lebanon, we try to bring some elements that are local into the French pastry with a twist,” says Kara. As such, a very successful item for Gustav was their pomegranate tart: “It’s made from the local fruit, particular to the region ... but we brought it into a French tart and the discovery was amazing.”
Gustav's signature renowned items:
  • Special Foret Noir: Grillottes especially imported from Belgium. The special bitter cherries blend perfectly with dark chocolate
  • Creme Brûlée with vanilla especially imported from Tahiti
  • Gustav's Tarts, crunchier and harder than the ones around town making them last longer, while giving the dough the luxury of absorbing the humidity of the cake's ingredients
  • The Chocolate Banana Cake: "40 voleurs"
  • Mille Feuille
  • Charlotte aux Fraises: A fortress of Charlotte biscuits guarding precious strawberry gems sleeping on a  bed of cream
  • The latest creation: Red Volcano: Double cream with marzipan surrounding and covered with red berries
  • Macarons: Chocolate, Strawberry, Lemon, Passion Fruit, Blueberry, and other surprises...
  • Frozen yogurt with many dips on top
  • Red velvet sponge cakes: Homemade. Each piece is unique with different forms. Cream cheese or white Swiss chocolate
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Gustav also offers a recent favorite among the Lebanese, red velvet cake. They also now make a line of sweets catered to those adhering to special diets such as gluten-free, sugar-free and vegan cakes, which are hard to find.
Gustav's uses unique ingredients imported especially from abroad:
  • Felchlin Swiss chocolate: Quality, flexibility and innovation characterize Felchlin.
  • Butter from the Netherlands
  • Eggs from France
  • French eggs are better than the local ones especially for the lemon tart
  • The original Vanilla from Tahiti and not Madagascar
A quick overview on the prices:
  • Cakes are sold by piece or as a whole:
  • Complete Cake: (18cm for 6-8 persons) for 45,000L.L or (28 cm 10-15 persons) for 65,000L.L
  • Cakes: By piece 6,500L.L
  • Cake balls: 3,750L.L
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Ice cream: Special flavors in biscuit or stick
  • Mascarpone cheese with caramelized figs
  • Pistachio with cherry
  • Raspberry with honey
  • Caramel

An overwhelming experience I would want to repeat often. My favorite and unique creations are their cake balls, whcih they have approached differently. The average unflavored balls every pastry shop in Lebanon has, is revisited by Gustav and flavored with ten different ingredients. A must try!

Categories: Tasty Discoveries



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