Sweet Belem

I was on a food tour once, and the guide told me about these amazing Portuguese Custard Tarts. I was naturally quite intrigued because I absolutely love custard tarts. I had thought about dropping by one day to try their famous Portuguese Custard Tarts, but I was either to busy to stop by or it seemed like mission impossible to find parking on New Canterbury Road.

Finally this year I managed to make my very first visit to Sweet Belem. I was so over joyed to find parking. When I arrived at Sweet Belem, the first thing I noticed was there were firstly a lot of customers and secondly there were heaps of cakes on display. I was indeed in heaven!

After much consideration, I decided to order some Portuguese Custard Tarts and a Coconut Brioche. The Portuguese Custard Tarts looked so delicious and flaky.

After what seemed like forever, I finally got served. The young lady who served me seemed to be very grumpy and not friendly, which was surprising considering they won the SMH Good Food Shopping Guide Award 2011 for Best Service! I ordered my Portuguese Custard Tarts and before I could order my Coconut Brioche, she walked off to process my payment. I had to call her back and advise her that I actually wanted to order more items.

After I left Sweet Belem, I could not wait until I got home, so I immediately opened up my Portuguese Custard Tarts package to have a good look and smell of my purchase. They looked and smelt amazing! But I decided that I would wait until I got home so I could properly eat my first Sweet Belem Portuguese Custard Tarts.

The Coconut Brioche also smelt equally as delicious and looked amazing too!

When I got home, I finally had my first taste of Sweet Belem’s Portuguese Custard Tarts. The Portuguese Custard Tarts tasted so delicious. The pastry was so crispy and flaky, the custard was smooth and perfectly sweet and I loved that each tart had a light sprinkle of cinnamon on top. It was definitely love at first bite.

The Coconut Brioche was quite nice too, but definitely not one of the best brioche I have ever eaten.

I have to declare, that Sweet Belem’s Portuguese Custard Tarts are the best Portuguese Custard Tarts I have ever eaten. I even have to say that their Portuguese Custard Tarts were even tastier than my favourite Egg Custart Tarts from Palace Chinese Restaurant.

Sweet Belem is located at:

35B New Canterbury Road, Petersham NSW 2049

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Chocolate and Wattleseed Cake from Cafe Ish

It should be no surprise, when I tell you that I love cake! Can you imagine how happy I was when my 2 year old niece started to love cake too? (not that my 2 year old eats cakes on a regular basis)

Just like cupcakes, it seems that every place is selling cakes these days. The problem is, a lot of these cakes that are on sale these days, are simply rubbish.

The most amazing cake that I have ever eaten is the Chocolate Wattleseed Truffle Cake with Wattle Seed Macadamia Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce and Soy Dust from Cafe Ish. (www.cafeish.com.au)

This cake was amazing from the first bite to the last bite. The cake literally melted in my mouth. The ice cream and chocolate sauce worked so well, that it was like a marriage made in heaven. D, who is not really a cake fan, loved it too. The best thing about this cake, was that it was not too heavy on the stomach, and I did not feel sick afterwards.

This cake is made by Josh who owns Cafe Ish. Cafe Ish makes amazing food and equally as amazing cakes, pastries and bread.

If you are a chocoholic and a cake fan, I definitely recommend that you make a visit to Cafe Ish to try this cake.

Cafe Ish is located at:

82 Campbell Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010

Website:

http://www.cafeish.com.au

I scream for ice cream

I love ice cream….actually I am crazy about ice cream. I have been known to eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch or dinner. When it comes to ice cream, I have no shame.

I want to blame the ice cream man who used to drive his van up and down the street with that music that I am pretty sure hypnotises children.  My brother and I used to go crazy when we heard the music and would start begging mum for money so we could buy ice cream. The soft serve ice cream used to taste so good back in those days.

As an adult, I have become more fussy in what type of ice cream I eat. These days, I can barely name many brands of ice cream that I like that may be sold in the supermarket. I still believe in my theory, that food used to be tastier back in the days. (Boy, I am sounding old).

I have three brands of ice cream and gelato that I love the most!

My favourite ice cream at the moment is Movenpick Ice Cream. At one period of time in 2011, I was seriously obsessed. I have no idea how D used to put up with my obsession for this ice cream.  My favourite flavour of Movenpick Ice Cream is Straticella. I seem to have this love for all ice cream that has chocolate chips. My other favourite flavour there is Swiss Chocolate. The chunks in that ice cream are so huge, that it should be made illegal. Movenpick Ice Cream also make great milkshakes.

My second favourite ice cream, is actually gelato from Gelato Messina. I discovered Gelato Messina when I was hanging out in Darlinghurst. I have tried a few of their different flavours, but I have always resorted back to eating the Coconut and Lychee Gelato. Lately, I have taken a liking to the Salted Caramel and White Chocolate Gelato. I love the sweet and salty textures of the gelato. Gelato Messina is definitely the best gelato I have ever eaten.

My third favourite ice cream is Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. I developed my love for Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream when I was on my holiday in America. When I found out that Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream was being sold in Australia, I was ecstatic. my favourite Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream is Phish Food. I am so glad that Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream is also being sold in Woolworths.

 I truly believe that once you have eaten great ice cream, you can never go back to ordinary ice cream ever again.

My top 5 favourite places for hot chocolate

I am totally obsessed with drinking hot chocolate. I have drunk so many cups of hot chocolate and many times I have felt disappointed. I just feel cafes should concentrate on making great hot chocolate instead of just great coffee.

I really hate going to cafes who burn the milk, use cheap chocolate and  or use cheap milk (one cafe in Top Ryde used No Frills Milk).

Here are my 5 favourite places for hot chocolate:

1. Workshop Espresso on George Street, Sydney NSW 2000: I discovered Workshop Espresso after D went there to try their coffee. Workshop Espresso has the best hot chocolate I have ever have. The chocolate part is delicious and not too sweet and the milk is always frothed to perfection. I am a regular visitor to this place.

2. Vella Nero on Clarence Street, Sydney NSW 2000: I discovered Vella Nero from a coupon I bought online. Vella Nero’s hot chocolate is so delicious and creamy. They froth the milk so well. http://www.vellanero.com.au/

3. Zokoko on Old Bathurst Road, Emu Plains NSW 2750: Zokoko make the most amazing hot chocolate using their home made chocolate mousse. They use very good milk, which definitely assists in the frothing process. http://www.zokoko.com

4. Koko Black Chocolate: Koko Black Chocolate hot chocolate is amazing. I had my first amazing hot chocolate experience here. http://www.kokoblack.com.au

5. Adriano Zumbo on Terry Street, Rozelle, NSW 2039: I used to go to his Balmain Cafe years ago and drink the ice chocolate and hot chocolate. Shame it is closed. But now you can buy these beverages from his Rozelle shop. Adriano Zumbo’s hot chocolates are quite sweet, but very delicious. The perfect chocolate hit.

I suggest that if you are a regular hot chocolate drinker, you should consider buying your own http://www.keecup.com.au and make your mark helping our environment. I have 2 very cute Keep Cups and I think they make hot chocolates taste even better.

Patisse

I found out about Patisse from Masterchef Australia. The owner Vincent Gadan was on Masterchef Australia and I was quite impressed by his creations.

I went to my first visit to Patisse last year. I had so much trouble trying to figure out where the place was, because I am forgot my map and had to navigate Waterloo all by myself.  Ten minutes later, I figured out where Patisse was. The next quest was trying to find parking. It took what seemed like forever to find parking. Waterloo is such a busy area.

When I walked past Patisse’s building, I was in awe. The window displays were gorgeous. The window display looked like dessert heaven.

When I saw the range of desserts at Patisse, I was amazed. My eyes were immediately drawn to the Valrhona Chocolate Tart. I absolutely love Valrhona chocolate, so I definitely had to try that tart. I then had a look at their range of Macarons. After many umms and ahhs, I finally decided to buy a Valrhona Chocolate Tart and a few macarons.

The Valrhona Chocolate Tart was very delicious. The dark bitter chocolate was balanced by the sweetness of the caramel in the base of the tart. The macarons had a nice texture to them, but I was not a huge fan.

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A few months later, I found out that Patisse were having a chocolate high tea. I ended booking one of the last spots and I took my friend Viv. The Patisse high tea was a nice experience. The only thing I did not like, was that we had to share our table with other people. The savoury items that we ate were not too bad. We really wanted to save our stomachs for the dessert part.

 The dessert for the high tea was delicious. Every mouthful of each dessert was amazing. I liked each one so much, that I cannot name which one was my favourite.

Overall the Patisse was the best high tea experience I have had so far.

I think that Patisse is definitely one of the best places to buy desserts in Sydney.

Patisse is located at:

Shop G01, PYD Building, 197 Young Street, Waterloo NSW 2017

Opening hours:

Monday to Saturday 830am-4pm

Website:

http://www.patisse.com.au/

Flour and Stone

I absolutely love baked goods. If I had it my way, I would move next door to a bakery and eat there every day! In the last few years, I have become obsessed with bakeries and was determined to find the perfect one. Lucky for me, I read an article in Time Out Magazine and I discovered Flour and Stone.

After reading this article about Flour and Stone, my stomach started rumbling, I needed to visit this bakery pronto. My friends on Twitter also added to the temptation because they started discussing about the items that they had bought from Flour and Stone. So I looked up their website and tried to figure out where this bakery was. My navigation skills were on and I was ready for my first visit to Flour and Stone.

My first visit to Flour and Stone was amazing. I felt like a child in lolly shop, there was so much to see, so much to smell and so many items I wanted to try. On my first visit, I admittedly went slightly crazy and I felt like I bought almost half the shop.

I bought an almond croissant for my friend, a few lamingtons, muffins, a chocolate croissant and a cinnamon morning buns. I ended up sharing these items with my friends and we were amazed, these items tasted unbelievable.

A few days later, I went and visited again. This time I tried the plain croissant. The plain croissant was so delicious! I was ready to declare there and then that the Flour and Stone croissant was the best croissant I have ever eaten.

During this visit, I also bought a donut, a raspberry macaron, the salted caramel and the chocolate tart. I gave the donut to my friend and she told me it was delicious. I really liked the salted caramel and chocolate tart. It was to die for. The macaron was not to my liking, but it did have a nice texture to it.

A few weeks later I made another visit. I bought the Leek and Gruyere Tart and The Wholesome Carrot Cake. Both were quite delicious. I especially loved the pastry of the Leek and Gruyere Tart.

I really love Flour and Stone. I have to say that Flour and Stone is my new favourite bakery. I try now try to visit Flour and Stone once every few weeks. Everything sold there is so delicious and Flour and Stone is also so close to my work place too.

I really should start my wedding diet.. right?

Flour and Stone is located at:

53 Riley Street, Woolloomooloo, NSW 2011.

Opening hours:

Monday-Friday 7am-4pm and Saturday 8am-2pm

Website:

http://www.flourandstone.com.au/

Cheeky Chocolate

I first heard about Cheeky Chocolate from a tweet by Adriano Zumbo. He said that this new patisserie cafe will be amazing and that he had designed the menu items himself. I was very curious.

Finally Cheeky Chocolate opened and I had totally forgot about it. It actually took me a while to visit the place, I guess I never had the time. I also felt that North Strathfield was a pain to travel to.

My first thoughts when I arrived at Cheeky Chocolate’s patisserie cafe, was that the patisserie cafe had a lovely ambience. I really liked the use of antique inspired furniture and the burlesque feel of the place. It was such a shame that I did not have time to sit down and enjoy a dessert or two. I ended up buying some macarons and a Hot Chocolate to take away.

There were so many macarons to choose from. I ended up buying the Chocolate and Coconut Macaron, the Tim Tam Macaron and the Salted Caramel Macaron. I really liked each Macaron. The Salted Caramel Macaron was definitely my favourite.

The Hot Chocolate was very creamy and delicious. The only issue for me, was that the milk was slightly too hot.

I definitely think that Cheeky Chocolate will become my second favourite place for macarons. I will have to one day go back and try their cakes. I just hope that Adriano Zumbo does not decide to go over board and created weird horrible flavours for their macarons. Keeping the macaron flavours simple is the key.

Cheeky Chocolate is located at:

11 George Street, North Strathfield, NSW 2137

Opening hours:

Tuesday-Sunday from 11am-11pm

Website:

http://www.cheekychocolate.com.au/

I heart baking sweet things

For 2-3 years now, I have been loving baking and experimenting with sweet recipes. As time has progressed, I definitely think I have improved. I do have to confess that Masterchef Australia has inspired me to bake more interesting recipes.

My latest love is baking cake. I never have previously been interested in baking whole cakes, because I have always been too scared. I was too worried that the cake may not cook properly properly, so I always opted to just baking cupcakes.

However, thanks to my lovely Twitter friends, I have acquired some new recipes. My new favourite cake recipe is Coconut and Sour Cream Cake. I was slightly skeptical at first, because whilst I am totally obsessed with all things coconut, I am not a fan of sour cream. On my first attempt, I was surprised, I could not believe how easy this cake was to make. The cake also tasted so delicious and was a definite hit with my work colleagues.

My other favourite thing to bake is Banana Bread. D really loves Banana Bread, so I thought I would try to make him some. I ended up finding a recipe off the internet and I tweaked the recipe a bit, by adding pecan nuts. The Banana Bread tasted so delicious and D really liked it. I also added coconut one time, but it tasted just as good. I am quite surprised that the moist coconut flakes made it into the cake, because I kept eating them because they tasted so good.

But, perhaps my most favourite thing to bake the most is cookies. I started off with a recipe from the back of a Cadbury Chocolate Chips packet and worked from there. I ended up adding new ingredients and removing ingredients too. My favourite cookie recipe is my milk chocolate and pecan cookies. I used couverture chocolate callets from various chocolate places such as Koko Black Chocolate and organic raw pecans. These cookies taste amazing.

I now have purchased a stack of cooking books and have decided that I must try to bake more sweets. But because I am procrastinating, I have not experimented with any new recipes from the cook books just yet. But, in time I will. For the moment I may concentrate on tweaking existing sweet recipes.

Zokoko

Ever since my trip to Africa and recent research on Fair Trade chocolate, I have been developing a “chocolate conscience”. I now try to eat chocolate that is Fair Trade certified.

One day when I was doing a Google search on chocolate in Australia, I found a chocolate name called Zokoko. Zokoko calls themselves “The Goddess of Chocolate- Premium Artisan Chocolate.” After reading this, I was indeed intrigued.

What amazed me the most about Zokoko chocolate was their chocolate making process. I like the idea that the chocolate is sourced from the finest of cacao beans and that the chocolate is not massed produced, but made in small batches. Zokoko also tries to source their cacao beans from sources that are Fair Trade.  (Refer to https://www.zokoko.com/process/)

Lucky for me, D lives very close to Zokoko. So D and I finally went to visit Zokoko and we were amazed. The chocolate in the display cabinets looked amazing and the aromas of coffee and chocolate were tantalising. My first Zokoko item that I tried was their hot chocolate. Tim who worked at Zokoko proclaimed that their hot chocolate will be the best hot chocolate that I will ever have. One sip, and I agreed. The hot chocolate was so smooth, creamy and chocolatey. Tim said the trick was their use of their very own special chocolate mousse which is blended into the hot chocolate.

D and I have religiously visited Zokoko every week and we have tried nearly every chocolate item off the menu. My favourite item is their hand made truffles. The truffle I like the most is the honey chocolate mice and honey chocolate bears. Unfortunately Zokoko do not make these chocolates on a regular basis.

Zokoko also sells Morgans Handcrafted Coffee and Tea and Zokoko makes delicious muffins, cakes and biscuits. I absolutely love their muffins. The muffins are so fresh, moist and they taste amazing.

The Zokoko Melting Moments biscuits are to die for! The buttery goodness of each Melting Moment biscuit melts in your mouth, definitely the best Melting Moments biscuit I have ever eaten

Zokoko also makes great coffee too, using their own brand single origin Morgans Handcrafted Coffee. I am not a coffee fan, but D says it is amazing!

Zokoko is located at:

Unit 3, 84-90 Old Bathurst Road, Emu Heights, NSW 2750.

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 7am-4pm and Saturday 8:30am-12 noon.

Website:

http://www.zokoko.com

Koko Black Chocolate

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved chocolate. Over the years, my palate has changed and I have taken a liking to more refined chocolate.

One of my favourite chocolate brands is Koko Black Chocolate. I stumbled upon Koko Black Chocolate in the Royal Arcade, Melbourne CBD, many years ago. My very first Koko Black Chocolate experience started with a Belgian hot chocolate and Belgian chocolate mousse. Both were to die for! All I could think, was how can I ever eat Cadbury Chocolate ever again.

Ever since my first delicious experience, I have been a regular visitor and online purchaser of Koko Black Chocolate. I pretty much love every item off the Koko Black Chocolate menu, but my favourite Koko Black Chocolate items are the Belgian hot chocolate, the Belgian chocolate mousse and the hand made caramel mousse and the salted caramel chocolates.

I am hoping one day that Koko Black chocolate will open in Sydney. But for the mean time, I will be getting my Koko Black Chocolate fix by making orders online and visiting their salons in Melbourne.

Koko Black Chocolate is located in:

Various salons around Melbourne, Canberra and Claremont, Western Australia.

Website:

http://www.kokoblack.com.au