As much as food and culture has influenced film, I think as much can be said of the reverse. Often a book or film can fire the imaginations of chefs, leading them to create beautiful dishes that are themselves works of art. From Willy Wonka (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) to Vienne Rocher (Chocolat), the quirky characters behind these gorgeous edible pastries are essential to bringing these works of fiction to life. 


In The Grand Budapest Hotel movie, viewers are seduced with grand cinematography, eccentric characters and a visual feast courtesy of Mendl’s pastries. It follows the misadventures of lobby boy Zero and Grand Budapest’s legendary concierge Gustave. They find themselves embroiled in a plot of murder, mystery, henchmen and prison in this star-studded movie inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig.

In Sydney, dessert powerhouse Gelato Messina re-created the legendary Courtesan au Chocolat from Mendl’s Patisserie, and I had the fantastic opportunity of learning how to make it myself, under the guidance of Donato Toce (one of the co-owners of Gelato Messina) and Flo (the head pastry chef). Though it is finicky, this creates a marvellous tower of choux and chocolate, and with a few simple basic techniques, you can be impressing your friends in no time! 

Courtesan au Chocolat
This is one of the legendary desserts sold at the fictional Mendl's bakery in the movie, the Grand Budapest Hotel. In Sydney, the creative team from Gelato Messina bring it to life, adding their own twist!
5962 calories
646 g
1654 g
342 g
81 g
172 g
2251 g
2062 g
512 g
4 g
148 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 5962
Calories from Fat 3041
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 342g
Saturated Fat 172g
Trans Fat 4g
Polyunsaturated Fat 51g
Monounsaturated Fat 97g
Cholesterol 1654mg
Sodium 2062mg
Total Carbohydrates 646g
Dietary Fiber 8g
Sugars 512g
Protein 81g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. For the Choux
  2. 1 cup of plain flour
  3. 1 cup fresh water
  4. 125g butter
  5. 4 eggs
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. Pinch of sugar
  8. Extra egg, for egg wash
  9. For the Filling
  10. 1L chocolate gelato or ice cream (We used gelato provided by Gelato Messina)
  11. For the Icing
  12. Icing Mixture
  13. Few drops of milk
  14. Food Colouring
  15. 125ml thickened cream
  16. 3 tbsp sugar
  17. blue food colouring
  18. To Assemble
  19. Whole Almonds in chocolate
  20. White chocolate, melted
  1. For the Choux
  2. Chop the butter into small pieces and place into saucepan with the cold water.
  3. Whisking over medium high heat, melt the butter completely. Then take off the heat and whisk in the flour a little at a time, till you get a smooth mixture. Then return the saucepan to the heat, and using a wooden spoon, stir the thickened mixture till it becomes a smooth ball. The idea here is to dry it out as much as you can, without burning the mixture.
  4. Then transfer the mixture to a clean bowl, and let cool for a couple of minutes. Using the wooden spoon, stir in the eggs one at a time, making sure the eggs are completely incorporated before adding the next one. Once you've added three of the four eggs, test the dough for a dropping consistency. It should look like this
  5. If the mixture is too dry, add the last egg. Otherwise, leave it out.
  6. Heat your oven to 190C, then prepare three flat trays by spraying it lightly with oil and dusting with flour. Insert a 1cm piping tip into a piping bag, then add the prepared choux mixture. Pipe three sizes of choux on each of the trays: small, medium and large.
  7. Be sure to make sure that your piping bag is perpendicular to the trays, otherwise your pastries will not rise evenly.
  8. Then, brush each choux with a beaten egg, and press down the top with a fork, to further help it rise evenly.
  9. Bake for 20-30 minutes: Ideally you want them to be puffed and golden, and the smaller ones will bake faster than the large ones.
  10. Cool before proceeding.
  11. For the Filling
  12. Soften the ice cream in a standing mixer till it is of piping consistency.
  13. Using a paring knife, make a small hole in the bottom of your pastry, and fill it with the gelato using a piping bag. Chill in the freezer.
  14. For the Icing
  15. Add a few drops of milk and vanilla extract to icing mixture to create a coating consistency, adding more milk if needed. Divide it into three bowls, and colour one pink, one lavender, and one green.
  16. Dip the tops of the filled chouxs in the icing mixture.
  17. Chill until needed.
  18. Melt the white chocolate and use the melted chocolate to pipe filigrees onto the tops of the chilled pastries.
  19. Then, whip up the cream and sugar to soft peaks. Colour half the cream blue, and place both into piping bags with a small star nozzle.
  20. Assemble the Courtesan au Chocolat, by squeezing a small amount of blue icing between the choux layers. Using the white cream, pipe a small rim around the base of the pastry. Add a final star of cream on the top, and finish with a single almond.
I Ate My Way Through


If you’re a more visual learner, the DVD release of The Grand Budapest Hotel includes a video recipe of the Courtesan au Chocolat as one of the special features!

As for my attempt, well. Let’s just say that I’m no pastry chef, and that gelato melts fast. Very fast.


The Grand Budapest Hotel is currently out on DVD, and will be available on Blu-ray from today.

Haven’t seen the movie, or would like to see it again? We’ve got you covered! Thanks to 20th Century Fox, we have 5 copies of The Grand Budapest Hotel on Blu-Ray up for grabs!

The Grand Budapest Hotel Giveaway

Simply leave a comment on this post, Facebook, or Tweet us with what the most decadent dessert you’ve ever come across is! Make us drool, and you could be immersed in the luxurious world of Mendl’s Pastries. Entries close at 9am AEST on the 15th of September, 2014. Competition is open to Australian residents only.


  1. Snickers Cheesecake with a crushed Oreo biscuit crust, a layer of chopped Snickers, smooth and creamy cheesecake batter and, finally, caramel sauce and peanuts. Delicately creamy, heavenly sweet, all with a gloriously crunchy crust!

  2. I once had the most delectable warm chocolate fondant, which was just oozing yummy, chocolatey  goodness from it’s centre, served with Timboon vanilla bean ice-cream and a fresh berry compote. It was like heaven in my mouth!!!

  3. I once made an Orange Charlotte cake, it took me about 2 days to actually make it, looked exactly like the picture in the book, was incredible.

  4. Decadent chocolate delight,  Chocolate sponge base with chocolate cheesecake then chocolate mousse. topped with profiterole Swans sitting on a chocolate sea of sauce.

  5. In Vegas at the Venetian, there’s an Asian fusion restaurant called Sushisamba. They have the most amazing desserts! After trying one of them we decide to order the other two! But the most amazing of all three by far was the yuzu cheesecake with cilantro Lime granita. It was a sugar globe filled with aerated cheesecake scented with yuzu. Underneath it was a tart lime granita with notes of cilantro and mixed with the granita was crushed graham crackers! It was simply incredible!

  6. At the Ghirardelli chocolate shop in Downtown Disney at Disney World, I enjoyed the most exquisite dessert EVER! The Intense Dark Espresso Escape sundae… espresso chip icecream and homemade dark chocolate fudge topped with whipped cream and a square of Ghirardelli’s own Intense Dark 72% cacao chocolate bar. Before and after photo attached… but fair warning, you’ll put on weight just looking at it!

  7. Vietnamese banana pudding with coconut sauce.
    Easy to prepare and tastes divine. Banana and coconut is a marriage made in tropical heaven.

  8. Sour Cream Chocolate Muffins with Nutella Frosting and topped with Maltesers. The hardest part is not eating all the mixture while you’re making them!

  9. This amazing luscious white chocolate mousse with berry extraction, fresh blueberries and handmade chocolate square covered with real gold leaf. It was to die for!

  10. Nutella Cheesecake topped with Strawberries and white chocolate buttons; it was seriously the most decadently rich dessert I’ve ever tasted, simplistic but mouth wateringly delicious

  11. I love Mooncakes. This traditional Chinese dessert is popular during lunar festivals and
    is made all over the world. There’s around 800 calories in just a
    single, tiny cake, but they tend to be inexpensive and delicious, and
    cost just a few dollars in most Chinese bakeries.

  12. Tim Tam ice-cream trifle – layers of tim tam, cream, chocolate ice-cream, warm chocolate sauce, fresh raspberries and raspberry jelly. I cool just thinking about it, it tasted amazing!

  13. Some might pick a Death by Chocolate – too rich and heavy. For me, a lovely light fluffy sticky date pudding with plenty of sauce plus cream AND icecream. Yaaaaaaarrrrrrmmmm!!


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