This January- whilst taking a break from making cakes- I ventured down to Melbourne to chck out thier Cake supply stores- and of course their cake shops (ohhh and general shopping too of course ;)) !
Now I haven't been to Melbourne since I was a child- so this was a whole new experience for me. I was in my element- food food and more food- even drinks that tasted like food- but more on that later!
To tackle a shopping adventure this big wasn't one I could do on my own- so I got one of my very good friends TK to travel with me. To say I dragged TK all around Melbourne may be a bit of an understatement. By the end the poor girl had shin splints from tripping all about the place at top speed- as to not miss a single thing/bargain/chocolate shop....LOL!!!
We stayed the week at the Hotel Rendezvous- Fabulous is all I can say! We had a room that had a gorgeous balcony over looking Flinders St and the Melbourne Southbank precinct. A tram stop right at the front door, and all within around 200m of Australia's Largest Cake decorating store!!!!!!!!!!! Yep- I was literally a hop skip and a jump from the Cake Deco store. This place is PACKED with everything cake- so much so it almost gave me a panic attack trying to decide what to rummage though first. Yes this shop is online- and yes I have bought from here on many occasions- but to actually be able to touch and see what I am getting is very exciting indeed!
As a Brisbane Cake decorator- I almost feel ripped off ( for want of a better analogy) when it comes to our local supply market. While ordering over the internet is fast and easy- it is always great to actually go to a supplier- build a rapport and also learn from them how each product is meant to be used. I have serious supplier envy for all of the wonderful Melbourne decorators.
I was probably in Cake deco about 3 times during my stay- I could have gone every day- but there was a weight limit for the baggage on the way home!
Just around the corner from Cake Deco- in one of Melbournes trendy Laneways was "Little Cupcakes"- and little they were indeed. So cute! A huge array of flavours- including a flavour of the day.
So good in fact- that on our last day we came back- and I bought home 2 dozen to share with my family.
Here is a little Jaffa Cupcake- too cute!!
TK and I know each other from our Stamford Plaza days- where we both use to be chefs- so going to Melbourne- an absolute Mecca for fabulous food was just divine for us!
We ate and ate and ate- fantastic fresh local food in wonderful restaurants- grazing the multitudes of cuisines that Melbourne has to offer.Whilst down there we also met up with another close friend of ours Natalie ( who is also from Brisbane) and spent a wicked 24 hours together wining and dining- as you do!
Probably the best meal I had the entire time in Melbourne was at Modiva- best EVER chickpeas, and the Sangria was plentiful too! Not really anything to do with cakes- but I had to mention it as it was really that great!
Myself TK And Nat- Midway through a fab night out!
We went out together that night- had dinner at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen- which was disappointing to say the least- but the night was rescued by earlier trip to The Kitten Club. This "hole in the wall" style upstairs Bar on Little Collins St creates a ripper cocktail. I had one in particular that tasted exactly like a piece of French Lemon Cheesecake! Seriously- it was AMAZING!
The Girls and I also went to catch up with another Pastry Chef we used to work with at the Stamford- Geoffry- who now works for Le Petit Gateau also on Little Collins St beside Vue de Mond- in the RACV Club building.
Now Geoff is a Champion- from the beginning he has been awesome at his job- and NEVER pretentious about it. Le Petit Gateau has a state of the art kitchen and a team of uber talented chefs that create everything sweet and chocolate you could imagine!
Some of the more classic- but ultra delectable creations- Chocolate tart- Citrus Tart and Apricot and Almond Frangipane Tart.
Choca Chup- Brilliant- from what I hear from my Husbad Steve who gobble the whole thing to himself- next along is the Passion fruit Brulee and chocolate brownie- then the Strawberry cream cheese and Carrot cake........MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!
Now we visited Geoff a couple of times- I just HAD to take a box of cakes home from here! All of the top quality ingredients- and the fabulous innovative desserts were just too beautiful to leave behind.
The Kitchen at Le Petit Gateau is like a fish bowl- with a mammoth glass window allowing you to peek into the kitchen and watch the chefs at work.
Even the off cuts are gorgeous! Thanks Geoff! These Chocolate Brownie passionfruit brulee gateau end pieces are calorie free - aren't they????
The box of cakes made it home in one piece- and was shared the next morning with my family who flocked over to get a tasty morsel!
The Week I was in Melbourne was the week that it hit 44degC- the heat is very different to Brisbane- Dry not Humid- so was bareable. TK and I were surprised that there was hardly anyone at Docklands that Monday- seriously if we saw 6 others that would be a stretch. We headed later that day to St Kilda- where there were Giant Jellyfish in the water- freaking me out totally. I found comfort browsing the cake shops in Acland St- super sized pieces of traditional bakery style cakes. While each shop carried a variety of the same cakes- each had their own style.
Like these mammoth meringues- thses were seriouly 7" across!Sugar hit!
We spent he best part of a day in Prahran- at the markets, buying a heap of tools from The Essential ingredient- and then strolling the shops and patisseries on Chapel st. Once again a huge array of shops- with some cool cake shops there too!
Not only did we check out all things cake (and food) at Chapel st- I also found the elusive pair of Pink Birki's in my size!!!!
Just by chance I wandered into the Birkenstock store- with really no hope of their being an actual pair of pink Birki's available- but chance turned into reality! There was pair- not at this exact store- but they had them shipped into Spencer St for me to collect the next day! So now I can swan around in my gorgeous pink work shoes- enabling my love of everything pink to grace my feet too!
On our last day we headed to Williamstown- the boat ride was a welcome reprieve for our tired feet for sure!
It was in Williamstown that we stumbled across Schwabs Bakery- with what had to be the BIGGEST Lemon Merinue Pie I have seen!
Seiously it woudl ave been at least 13" wide and 6" high. Too nice to slice- and the fact that for the past 6 days all I had done was eat- so there was no room for more sugar for me ;)
Leaving Melbourne our bags were more than 20kg heavier- we had shopped and eaten our way through a Myriad of Cuisines and food styles, and left with a promise to return very soon.
I must also mention Max Brenner- where I had the most Divine Hot chocolate too! I am not a coffee drinker- and whilst Melbourne is also renowned for its coffee- I didn't bow to peer pressure and drink coffee- yet I stuck to my love of all things chocolate and hose Italian hot chocolates and TK had a "Make your own" Belgian hot chocolate! YUMMO!
While we were there we packed our days- seeing and doing allot! The Shop 'til you drop Exhibition, the Casino, St Kilda Night Markets- Luna Park Rollercoaster- Docklands-Lygon st- DFO- Bourke St- Jersey Boys-Museums- Tram Trip..... and much more! Exhausting but worth every second!
When I came home and realised that I have so many clients that reside in Melbourne who are getting married here in South East Queensland- it made perfect sense that I should perhaps arrange a short two day trip and meet with clients in Melbourne- I could bring down all the cake samples- along with my trusty Laptop- and consult right there in Melbourne for them! I am thinking a Sunday/Monday in Late May at this stage- so if you are keen let me know!
Phew- I am feeling tired just reliving the week though my blog!
Thanks for reading