Life is full of sweet moments – and in my case, sweet tooth moments too! Holidays always seem to elicit more of a desire to feast on desserts and treats than normal life… I guess it’s easy to say “I’m on vacation” to excuse the calories!
On my recent whirlwind trip to Sydney we managed to grab some yummy sweets on most days. Here’s a rundown of the memorable moments and places.
Emperor’s Garden Cake and Bakery
Walking through Chinatown after lunch in Surry Hills one afternoon, Jeremy and I spied a loooong line outside of a tiny window. We decided to follow the trend and join in, with one of us holding a spot in the line, and the other creeping up to identify what we were waiting on. Simply called Emperor’s Cream Puffs – that was enough for us to continue waiting.
The price for the cream puffs is really cheap. Granted they’re small, but to get 3 for $1.00, it’s pretty decent bang for your buck. Initially we agree we’ll get 7 for $2.00 but by the time we reach the counter we blurt out that we’d like 11 for $3.00. Greed always gets the better of us!
They’re made fresh and when we get our little cream puffs they’re steaming hot. I’m excited to try these out and to see if the wait was worthwhile.
The cream puffs are bite sized and yummy. The batter on the outside reminds me almost of a pancake like consistency and the cream inside is that Asian style custard which is eggy and creamy. So good! I can see why everyone lining up was leaving with boxes of 20 or 40 or even more – it’s a cheap and tasty treat to share.
When it comes to desserts in Sydney, Adriano Zumbo is a name synonymous throughout Australia. After tasting the zumbarons (Zumbo’s macarons) at the Good Food and Wine Show in Perth, I was eager to sample some of their actual desserts while on holiday. The opportunity came one afternoon after walking around the city.
Sadly this stand is a little on the small side which means they have a limited range and nowhere to sit down to eat. Luckily for us we were close enough to our hotel so high tailed it back with our boxes of sugary goodness in hand so we could gorge away.
Jeremy orders the salted caramel tart ($9.00). It’s made up of salted caramel, caramel sponge and salted caramel cremeux on a pate friable base. Talk about your sugar on sugar on sugar! Inside the dessert is layered and intricate, disguised by the glossy coating on the outside.
While I love salted caramel, this dessert was a little too sweet for my tastes. Nice, but nothing on the dessert I ordered…
Pretty as a picture, the wunderbar ($9.00) is made up of sable biscuit, raspberry compote, pineapple cremeaux, vanilla creme fraiche mousse, fresh raspberry slices & red chocolate. It’s sweet and creamy, but with a great burst of tart freshness from the raspberry compote and slices.
It’s not the easiest dessert to eat as it falls apart a bit when you bite down, but it is so tasty that this can be forgiven. Definitely one of the prettiest and most scrumptious desserts I’d had in quite awhile.
I like cooking shows. And yes, that includes the likes of Masterchef even though I don’t really enjoy reality TV. If you’ve watched Masterchef in 2014, you’ll likely recognise the name Gelato Messina. Made famous for their incredible works of edible ice-cream art, they stay busy with flocks of people lining up for cheap scoops of gelato.
My friend Weras in Sydney and everyone else I talked to who lived there insisted we go to Messina to try it. And really can you blame them? At $4.00 for one scoop and $6.00 for two (on waffle cones no less!), the price is pretty damn good. And the line, while a little long, moves quite quickly so you’re in and out with not too much fuss at all.
After stuffing our faces at lunch in Bondi, we drove up to Surry Hills and after about 10 minutes we were in choosing our flavours. It’s great that they hand out menus while you’re lining up so you can select what you’ll be ordering.
The ethos at Messina is one I really admire. They use ‘ingredients in their raw and most natural form and make everything from scratch. Colourings, flavourings, preservatives and pastes have no place at Messina’.
We each order a double scoop. Weras gets pandan coconut sorbet and milk chocolate with peanut fudge. Jeremy opts for pandan coconut sorbet too after sampling Weras’s, plus apple pie (apple gelato with chunks of homemade apple pie throughout). After much agonising (I’m no good with making choices when there’s so many options!) I choose a weekly special of cherry jam with chocolate shards and peanut butter, and a scoop of dulce de leche (Argentinian caramel).
One bite in and I’m completely under Messina’s spell. The hype definitely lives up to it’s name. Texturally the gelato is whipped perfection; sweet and full of contrasting flavours that work well together. The absolute standout of all flavours is the pandan coconut sorbet. It’s so full of beautiful pandan goodness (an Asian ingredient) and utterly memorable.
I had big plans for our final day in Sydney. Last year my mum and I planned to fly over and take a pastry making class at Vincent Gadan’s Patisse. Due to conflicting schedules we didn’t end up going, but I made a promise to myself that I would go to the store and bring back some desserts as a thank you for mum picking Jeremy and I up from the airport.
Sadly my plans didn’t work out – Patisse is closed on a Sunday. But luckily hanging out with our friend Weras he suggested a cake store in Surry Hills called Kürtősh. I didn’t know much about this store, except that they specialised in cakes that you could purchase and pay for by weight instead of pre-determined sizes. I was intrigued.
Jeremy and I each pick a different flavour cake to share, plus we order a pear and frangipane tart to take with us back to Perth. All cost $4.90 per 100 grams.
My choice for our cake stop is a white chocolate, pear and toffee roulade, and Jeremy picks a coconut mousse cake with a raspberry top.