Sunday, July 5, 2015

Queenie's Sweet Dreams Walking Tour, South Yarra

Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of doing the Sweet Dreams Walking Tour ($85 for 3 hours) in South Yarra run by Queenie's Food Tours.  As the name of the tour suggests, it is all about the desserts.  I had independently been to all of the establishments that we visited, but the joy of doing this tour is that you got to meet at least some of the people behind the creations in the store, and enjoy the camaraderie with like-minded people.  The tour groups are limited to eight people, so you receive a personalised tour and won't get lost in the crowd.

Our first stop was at LuxBite in Toorak Road:  

LuxBite became famed for its Lolly Bag Cake after it was one of the challenges on Masterchef.  I have already tried the Lolly Bag Cake, so I was free to explore other menu items.

In the price of the tour, we were able to have a coffee and a dessert at LuxBite.  I had my usual skinny flat white:

and chose a seasonal pudding - the Winter Warmer, a bread pudding served warm with warm pandan custard:

This was delightfully rich and really hit the spot on a grey, cold Melbourne day.

Christine, our tour guide, chose the Meringue Monster (also pictured at the top of this post): 

The Meringue Monster is a gluten-free delight comprising green tea sponge, pistachio, watermelon yoghurt, sour strawberry mousse and meringue.  I also tried this, and it is as light as a feather.  I think it would be the perfect summer time dessert.

As we were at LuxBite early and there weren't many customers yet, when I spied one of the geniuses behind LuxBite, Bernard Chu, behind the counter, I could not resist asking for a photo with him.  He very kindly obliged: 

Squeee!  At the LuxBite counter, they have these cute bits and bobs that I could not resist photographing:

From LuxBite, we moved on to Adriano Zumbo Patissier in Claremont Street:

I have also been there before. Adriano is a creative genius with cakes and sweets, and the cabinets in his stores are always a kaleidoscope of colour:

Adriano is a Sydney-sider, although he sometimes appears at the Melbourne stores.  Alas, this was not the case on the day of my tour.  However, I did snag a limited edition redskin cronut that I had seen on Facebook (see the back left of this photo):

Redskins are red sugary chewy sweets in Australia, in case you were wondering.

At the side of the Zumbo store, you can watch his staff at work behind a plate glass window:

Our next stop was the Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio in Chapel Street (you can see what a "lovely" day it was from the sky):

I had not been there for many moons.  At Burch & Purchese, we were greeted by staff with samples of marshmallows.  There was also a beautiful stand of meringues on the front counter:

And of course, their desserts are magical:  

This decoration is made of chocolate:

Christine mentioned a gin and tonic tart, pictured below - I was sold and bought one of these:

There were some gorgeous salted caramel cake pops in a jar on the counter - wouldn't you just love these for a child's birthday party?

Unfortunately, we did not get to meet Darren Purchese, but them's the breaks.

We then walked on up Chapel Street to  A La Folie, an establishment that specialises in macarons and petit choux.  (I had visited there late last year.)  Here are some of their gorgeous macarons in the window of the store:

This was my favourite stop on the tour, because the lovely owner of A La Folie, Mercedes, sat down with us and discussed how her shop came to be, including why she specialises in two products and tips for home baking.  Here is Mercedes discussing her wonderful petit choux:

At A La Folie, we got to sample two flavours of macarons and a vanilla petit choux (which I liked better than the raspberry and salted caramel ones that I had last year).

Here is our tour group in front of the Eiffel Tour mural at A La Folie:

And here I am with Mercedes:

I really enjoyed hearing Mercedes' story and learning some tips for making macarons and choux pastry at home.

Our final stop on the tour was at Ganache Chocolate in Toorak Road.  I am a regular at their city store so I am familiar with their product, but it was good to get a behind the scenes perspective.  Unfortunately, Arnaud, the chocolatier, was out, but Steve, the store manager, kindly, took us to see the kitchen where all the action happens. Here is Steve with Christine, our tour guide:

There was no work in progress in the kitchen as it was early Sunday afternoon, but we did see piles of chocolate stilettos drying:

Our tour included a cup of coffee or tea and samples of quiche and savoury croissant:

as well as two chocolates each - honey (made from the honey from the beehive on the roof of the South Yarra store) and coconut:

Everything was delicious, and Steve was a gracious host.

With the tour over and my belly full, I later sampled my haul.  Here is a glimpse inside the Zumbo Redskin Cronut (redskin flavoured  cream, redskin marshmallow topping) ($5.50):

It was good on day one, but by day two, had started to become a little oily.

The B&P gin and tonic tart ($9.50) comprises white lime chocolate, lime curd, gin and tonic jellies, and juniper and lime marshmallows:


At Burch & Purchese, I also bought this chocolate and raspberry crumble to play with on desserts and icecream ($9.50):

At LuxBite, I received a chocolate and a rose macaron in the tour price:
and I bought this delicious kaya coconut jam ($10) (tastes like caramel):

and a Mork salted caramel hot chocolate  kit, a collaboration between Mork and LuxBite ($25):

I am yet to try this out, but I look forward to it.

I shared the cronut, macarons and tart with Tim.  I also bought Tim an almond croissant from A La Folie, as those are his favourite.

Thanks to Christine, our Queenies tour guide, who made this tour a fun experience.

Queenie's Food Tours
Ph: 03 9018 7196 

38 Toorak Rd
South Yarra VIC 3141
Ph: (03) 9867 5888

Adriano Zumbo Patissier
14 Claremont St
South Yarra VIC 3141

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio
647 Chapel St
South Yarra VIC 3141
(03) 9827 7060
A La Folie
589 Chapel Street
South Yarra 3141
Ph: 03 9827 3337
Ganache Chocolate
250 Toorak Rd
South Yarra VIC 3141(03) 9804 7485


Kayte said...

Oh, this Walking Tour has to be my favorite so far! All those lovely desserts, I don't know how you choose, I would be forever choosing. Tim is one lucky guy, even when he doesn't go you, you still bring him back goodies! Your pictures were such fun to look at...I'll probably look at them a few more times yet as I've never done anything like this.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What a great way to pass a grey day! With colourful desserts :P I don't mind walking as long as there are sweeties between stops! ;)

Kari said...

What an amazing tour - I imagine you were so excited going into it, and very satisfied afterwards!

The Caked Crusader said...

Some women coo over shoes or handbags. Not me. Show me a good cake counter! Love your photos and thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the cakes