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.
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.
Recently I had a slice of cherry pie that was beautifully dripping pitted cherries stuffed inside a sugar-coated shortcrust pastry shell. Oh my.
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.
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‘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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
Hundreds of carved bamboo insects in Swarms by Madeleine McDonough.
Look closely and these blooms are actually made up of body parts of the female figure. Botanical anatomy 1 by Adelle Elksnis.
The beautiful clouds of folded paper in The subjectivity of interpretation by Adrian Del-Re.
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.
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Reviews of what's HOT and NOT in the city.