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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Adriano Zumbo Patisserie - Darling Street, Balmain, Sydney

The clock on my MacBook is about to strike 8pm and I am already tucked into bed with the newest issue of US Vogue that's just arrived in my letterbox, as well as a mug of green and pear organic tea in my favourite oversized red mug that I lugged across America with me after I purchased it on my first night in NYC at the M&M's store in Times Square.  I couldn't resist - it was red and had my initial on it! 

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.  


  1. Hi girl...
    Sounds like you had an amazing time, and the cakes were to die mouth is wathering:)

    If you are ever in Oslo you schould check out Pascal...from your writing it sounds about the same. Plus the cappuccino there is very good as well:)

    However i must disagree with you on one point:Melbourne shopping as far as i know i way better:)
    I was there a long time ago though:)

    And the outfit was really smashing...Really loved your post this time...the photos were gorgeous, and the writing awesome:)

    Really good work:)


  2. omg. i could kill your blog if it was alive.
    guess what?
    i am starting the urban remedy detox tomorrow. well today because its 1am.
    i cannot see these photos!
    I am regretting this urban remedy thing so much now.
    i need cakes.
    and LOTS of THEM.
    maybe i should fly to syd the day after i finish ?

    i haven't heard of this zumbo but i want to try.
    i never watched master chef.
    they're all so cute!
    cant believe people were stocking up over $100 of cakes! cray cray!

    i was considering going to the snow next week but now i think i should just go to syd and eat cakes and macarons all day! hahahah
    but i need to stick to detox and fitness

    love your outfit btw!! you look amazing!

  3. Gorgeous blog with fab pictures! I just loved Zumbo on Masterchef- it's sooooooo much bigger out here than in the UK. My boyf doesn't like Zumbo much, not sure why, prob jealous of his sweet abilities! x

  4. Okay this may possibly be my favorite post of yours yet, except for now I want to eat my computer screen. Holy mother of pearl how did you escape without a suitcase full of all that sheer goodness??

    And what is up with this fantastictabulous photo of you at bottom.

    You're 2lbs!! I need to get on this cleans PRONTO!!

    Girl I see that ring of yours...rock it! And the shoes, the SHOES!!

    ps-I will totally get that pan for you and send it. I wonder how much the shipping would be. I'll look into it when I mail the others and let you know. I think Krista from Daily Happenings is going to show up and beat my ass over that pan!! love and hugs to you*

  5. ps - that would be cleansE. good grief. see? starvation has set in!!

  6. Thank you all for your lovely comments!

    SP - I really hope to visit Oslo one day! :)

    Socks lady - the detox is tough while you're doing it, but so worth it after it's done. Try and be good for 2 weeks after at least, THEN you can go to Sydney and indulge!

    Sophie - I'm not a Zumbo fan either, and don't get to watch Masterchef every day - it's on too often - but his cakes are amazing.

    Carrie - please, buy me the darn pan, I'll pay for it and the postage! AND send you a gift in return!!! You're the best xoxo

    I wear the boots way too much, I'm scared I'll ruin them :( they're so comfortable and go with everythingggggggggggg

  7. I love your outfit.

    So glad you made it to Balmain for your little piece of Zumbo heaven.

    SSG xxx

  8. Mmm you're making me want to go to Sydney! I'm not a fan of macaroons but that chocolate things looks/sounds like my type of dessert. The pic of you by the harbour is pretty too - very stylish.

  9. this made me happy for some reason - but all i know is that now i must try this, which means i must go to sydney!

  10. great photos and great outfit!

    xx Niki

  11. Oh my goodness.... those are such fabulous looking cakes and the patisserie looks completely AMAZING... I have to, HAVE to visit...!! Would you be a darling and do a post on best places to go for food and shopping in Sydney before August 6th if you have time? Am off there for the weekend with my daughter on 7th August - just the two of us... can't wait. (we are staying near the harbour area).... sorry have not been round to visiting blogs recently and commenting (nor posting much either) - so busy.... hope all is ok with you. x
    p.s. am off to drool over your post again!

  12. Something to look forward to when we are in Sydney. I fell in love with Brunetti's in Melbourne. Yum!

  13. Funny you should say you wish you'd had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days- this is exactly what I did a couple of days before my birthday. I got 11 cakes...and that was being restrained.

    The thing is- you don't even get Zumbo'd out.

    So delicious.

    And he's really sexy, too. Worth noting.


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