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HOT: Candied Bakery, 81a Hudsons Rd, Spotswood

Candied Bakery 81a Hudsons Rd Spotswood 6 HOT: Candied Bakery, 81a Hudsons Rd, Spotswood

Candied Bakery in Spotswood is a bakery and café that’s a direct thumb-your-nose at those I Quit Sugar acolytes. If you’re quitting sugar then steer clear – there’s too much temptation inside.

If, one other hand, you are unabashedly NOT quitting sugar then Candied Bakery is a place where sweet tooths die and go to heaven. The place is small but distinguished by bright yellow awnings and furnishings which inject the whole place with a jaunty, cheery feel.

Candied Bakery 81a Hudsons Rd Spotswood 7 HOT: Candied Bakery, 81a Hudsons Rd, Spotswood

And with this cake cabinet laden with delectable sweets why wouldn’t you be happy?

I like to treat myself to Candied Bakery whenever I go for a bit of a bike ride so I’ve done a lot of taste testing of their Americana inspired menu. I actually have no idea what anything costs there because I tend to order indiscriminately, picking whatever catches my eye at the counter.

Candied Bakery 81a Hudsons Rd Spotswood 4 HOT: Candied Bakery, 81a Hudsons Rd, Spotswood

Recently I had a slice of cherry pie that was beautifully dripping pitted cherries stuffed inside a sugar-coated shortcrust pastry shell. Oh my.

Candied Bakery 81a Hudsons Rd Spotswood 3 HOT: Candied Bakery, 81a Hudsons Rd, Spotswood

I’ve tried their home made hot dogs, a free range snag nestled inside a sweet brioche bun and topped with a curious mixture of kim chi and mayo. It’s not bad but it’s not fantastic either – I think next time in the savoury department I would go for the pie or sausage rolls.

Candied Bakery 81a Hudsons Rd Spotswood 2 HOT: Candied Bakery, 81a Hudsons Rd, Spotswood

For pastry is where the kitchen’s real skill lies. There are super-flaky high top croissants and other Danish pastries, spicy hot cross buns and their most famous baked good – the doughnuts. RM says the zuppa inglese custard doughnuts at Candied Bakery are his all-time favourite.

Candied Bakery 81a Hudsons Rd Spotswood 1 HOT: Candied Bakery, 81a Hudsons Rd, Spotswood

Candied Bakery‘s coffee comes from Espresso Syndicate, their milkshakes are pretty awesome (a slice of apple pie in a milkshake anyone) and their soft serve is super icy cold and whipped to perfection. For Easter they’re offering Hot Cross Bun soft serve, which is basically a fruity cinnamon mix and rather delicious.

Candied Bakery 81a Hudsons Rd Spotswood 5 HOT: Candied Bakery, 81a Hudsons Rd, Spotswood

If sweets are your thing, then get thee to Candied Bakery. Just make sure you go early because everything seems to sell out by lunchtime!

Candied Bakery, 81a Hudsons Rd, Spotswood (03) 9391 1335

Wed to Sat 7:30 am – 4:00 pm

Sun 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

minilink HOT: Candied Bakery, 81a Hudsons Rd, Spotswood

 

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HOT: Éclair Affair High Tea, Lobby Lounge, The Westin Melbourne, 250 Collins St, Melbourne

Éclair Affair Lobby Lounge The Westin Melbourne 250 Collins St Melbourne 4 HOT: Éclair Affair High Tea, Lobby Lounge, The Westin Melbourne, 250 Collins St, Melbourne

Melbourne offers a high tea option for just about every sweet desire and The Westin Melbourne has just launched an afternoon tea service which pays homage to buttery, fluffy, choux pastry – it’s an Eclair Affair!

I was invited to sample Éclair Affair and settled myself into a fat leather chair one sunny afternoon while I watched the passing parade of Collins Street in the clubby feel of the Lobby Lounge.

Every season The Westin Melbourne changes its high tea menu and for autumn it’s all about these delicate Parisian treats. What you receive are eclairs as the sweet nibbles most of us are familiar with – but then you also have savoury fillings sandwiched the eclairs.- well, instead of sandwiches.

Éclair Affair Lobby Lounge The Westin Melbourne 250 Collins St Melbourne 1 HOT: Éclair Affair High Tea, Lobby Lounge, The Westin Melbourne, 250 Collins St, Melbourne

No high tea would be complete with scones. Here you receive two – one vanilla bean and one fruit – with cream and strawberry jam. All of it comes out beautifully presented in an Art Deco inspired three tiered stand.

Éclair Affair Lobby Lounge The Westin Melbourne 250 Collins St Melbourne 5 HOT: Éclair Affair High Tea, Lobby Lounge, The Westin Melbourne, 250 Collins St, Melbourne

The high tea comes with a choice of a glass of Domain Chandon, or a Vittoria coffee, hot chocolate or Jing tea. Having cycled to the venue (and had my bike valet parked!) I opted for a tall glass of ice tea sweetened with lychee, a refreshing counterpoint to the treats on offer with its delicate flavours.

Éclair Affair Lobby Lounge The Westin Melbourne 250 Collins St Melbourne 3 HOT: Éclair Affair High Tea, Lobby Lounge, The Westin Melbourne, 250 Collins St, Melbourne

Out of the five savoury eclairs my favourite were the more simple options – goats cheese with basil pesto and Ham, comte cheese, confit tomato and Dijon aioli – as I felt that they paired better with the delicate choux pastry.

Éclair Affair Lobby Lounge The Westin Melbourne 250 Collins St Melbourne 2 HOT: Éclair Affair High Tea, Lobby Lounge, The Westin Melbourne, 250 Collins St, Melbourne

As for the sweet options they ranged from a very sweet strawberry and lime to a delightfully bitter chocolate caramel and the almost savoury pistachio and fig.

The Éclair Affair High Tea at The Westin Melbourne is on until June 30. It’s a charming afternoon tea with a Parisian twist and if you like pastry this is the place to indulge!

Éclair Affair, Lobby Lounge, The Westin Melbourne, 205 Collins Street, Melbourne 03 9635 2222

 $49 per person with Vittoria coffee, hot chocolate or Jing tea

 $59 per person with 1 glass of Domaine Chandon, Vittoria coffee, hot chocolate or Jing tea

Available now until June 30.

minilink HOT: Éclair Affair High Tea, Lobby Lounge, The Westin Melbourne, 250 Collins St, Melbourne

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HOT: StArt Up: Top Arts 2014, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

StArt Up Top Arts 2014 Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 4 HOT: StArt Up: Top Arts 2014, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

Top Arts is arguably Victoria’s premier art accolade for young artists completing their VCE in Art or Studio Arts studies. For the last two decades years, a handful of entrants have been selected from across the state to exhibit their work in Victoria’s biggest and most prestigious gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria.

This year, in line with the 20th anniversary of Top Arts, the free exhibition has had a slight makeover and been renamed StArt Up: Top Arts 2014. Because not only is the exhibition about the top art you’ll find in high schools in Victoria, it’s about supporting young talent and giving them a start to pursue a career in the arts. Inside you’ll find photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and video works selected from over 3000 submissions.

I visited the exhibition on its opening night and was really awed by some of the young talent on show. Here are some of my favourite works:

StArt Up Top Arts 2014 Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 1 HOT: StArt Up: Top Arts 2014, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

The intricate detail of the felt-tip pen drawings of Beyond the memories (Fushigina taken, futatsu no sekai) by Darcy Whitworth, a reflection of her time in Japan.

StArt Up Top Arts 2014 Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 2 HOT: StArt Up: Top Arts 2014, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

 

Hundreds of carved bamboo insects in Swarms by Madeleine McDonough.

StArt Up Top Arts 2014 Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 3 HOT: StArt Up: Top Arts 2014, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

Look closely and these blooms are actually made up of body parts of the female figure. Botanical anatomy 1 by Adelle Elksnis.

StArt Up Top Arts 2014 Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 5 HOT: StArt Up: Top Arts 2014, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

The beautiful clouds of folded paper in The subjectivity of interpretation by Adrian Del-Re.

StArt Up Top Arts 2014 Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia Federation Square Melbourne 6 HOT: StArt Up: Top Arts 2014, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

The incredible detail in the tiny specks of sugar covering the girl’s face. Sugar by Stephanie Pidcock.

A range of talks and learning programs accompany StArt Up: Top Arts 2014 and you can view workbooks, folios and preparatory material to get an insight into the creative process

StArt Up: Top Arts 2014 is an interesting collection of diverse works and it’s inspiring to see what the next generation of artists are working on now. Who knows, this year’s crop could become the Next Big Thing in the art world soon.

StArt Up: Top Arts 2014, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne

Friday 11 Apr – Sunday 20 July

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