Never mind that there are 3 loads of washing overtaking my bathroom/laundry room. Plus a bunch of delicates that require hand washing. No really, never mind. I just have to write about Adriano Zumbo's Patisserie!
You may be thinking to yourself "hang on, isn't this the girl who put herself through the torture of a juice detox to kick her sugar addiction????". Yes you're right, it's the same girl. But the girl just couldn't help herself!
Now Adriano Zumbo's patisserie has featured in every one of Sydney's "best patisserie" lists for years and there were always 20 minute lines to sample his creations. Since the Massive Mayham AKA Masterchef, Adriano's business has doubled in turnover. And if you've lived under a rock or outside of Australia and you don't know what Masterchef is, well it's a reality television show that puts 24 ordinary people (this year it was majority lawyers) through the wringer to kick start their culinary career, even though these people have zero idea about what it is actually like to work in a commercial kitchen, have next to no life outside of work as you're too knackered while you're awake to do anything... Yep, they all have a passion for cooking and CANNOT wait to open their own restaurant and publish a cookbook.... or their 15 minutes of fame. Sunday's finale was the 3rd most watched TV event in 10 years in Australia (behind a tennis and football match). Adriano was a celebrity chef that afforded the contestants the most difficult challenges, that's for sure!
I spent a few days in Sydney over the past week, namely for a friends wedding. But I also wanted to enjoy some of my favourite things in Sydney - the harbour, the shopping (which I think is better than Melbourne (!!!)) and visit a few of my favourite neighbourhoods (and a particular patisserie). Each previous time I've been to Sydney I've never had the opportunity to cross town to Balmain to visit Adriano's and try his goodies. Things always got in the way.
So on Saturday afternoon I made my way to Darling Street, only to hit the end of the queue, which was about 60 people deep and over 2 hours long! Sorry Adriano, I needed a stiff drink rather than a macaroon after hearing that. Surely it's not worth 200+ minutes of my life I thought. And I left.
Since I was spending Monday in Sydney too, I thought surely the crowds would die down being a weekday and all (work, anyone?)
So I made the trek back over across Anzac Bridge and joined the queue at around lunch time. I wasn't missing an opportunity, especially when the line this time was only 20 people deep. I thought, I'd be done and sugared up within 15 minutes. Boy was I wrong. The line didn't move during the first 15 minutes in stood in it! Which left me even more puzzled as to what the heck was taking so long and why I was standing outside a patisserie with a bunch of other lunatics in an unmoving line.
But the sweet smell whiffing out the door and through the breeze made me want to stay, as did my quest to find out why the line wasn't moving!
Once inside I was overwhelmed by the sheer tiny-ness of the place! It is literally about 10m deep and 3m wide, no more! If a staff member wanted to leave from behind the counter, the 7-8 people that could fit inside would have to squash up in a corner, so the staff member could slide the glass cabinet across the room and squeeze out!
At any given time, there is about 10 types of cakes and tarts for sale and they often sell out within hours with only 2 people working behind the counter serving customers!!!! (and one person is solely answering the phone! Wielding calls about the address, which Masterchef challenge cake is for sale today, which flavour maracoon is on offer, what the closest side street is to the patisserie, what time they close... how long the queue is..................)
And the person left serving is forced to answer millions of questions about each individual creation, with everyone who was in the queue ahead of me purchasing at least one of everything - and nobody spending less than $150! My new, sugar control self had a budget of $20.
The sweets were all such amazing pieces of art. The tarts are known to be his specialty, so I walked out $19 poorer with 6 macaroons (the flavours of the day were the vanilla and pear & vanilla) and an "Aye Bro Chocolate Munt" which I decided to get at the last moment instead of the lemon tart.
The macaroons were absolute perfection. Best I've ever had. The biscuits were lovely and crunchy and thin and the filling ample, yet light and absolutely delicious.
And the chocolate munt was out of this world! I didn't really read the description while at the patisserie so I was pleasantly surprised to discover a lovely, gooey minty caramel filling. Biting into the tart, the chocolate shortbread was thin and crunchy, while the caramel was liquid gold, it oozed down the shortbread crust, without actually spilling or dripping out. It was magic. The chocolate ganache was the most perfect consistency. Smooth and perfect and just sweet enough. I have honestly never tasted anything like it in my life. I wish I had purchased $150 worth like the others and hoarded it in my luggage and eaten it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 3 days. Forget the detox, you don't often get to eat something this amazing. I was left absolutely speechless by what I had just eaten. Perfection in a pink box. Worth a trip to Sydney alone.