I had seen a comment by Vida on another blog about all these wonderful Chilean and Argentinean bakeries, in Noble Park and Clayton, right near my house. So being the devoted dessert lover that I am, I quickly email Vida to ask if she could give more detailed locations. Vida gave me the rough locations but that didn't help me too much. Finally, she decided to give me a whole tour instead, how generous of her. I had mentioned this bakery tour when I met up with Ella and Furry for dinner at Proud Peacock. Ella said she was interested to come as well, so we all met up to visit these bakeries.
After some initial confusion over whether it was happening this Saturday, I got an sms from Vida saying she was on her way. I quickly get changed (I'm never up before 11pm on Saturdays usually) and go to Haley's Bakery to meet the others. I still had a bit of a headache from all the beers I drank at the Belgian Beer Cafe the previous night, but how could I miss out on cakes. You can read Vida's account of the day here and Ella's account of the day here.
Haley's Bakery is our first stop, a Chilean bakery. Vida was an excellent guide. She tells us about all the specialities and which one each shop did best. She was explaining about ingredients and history and how to eat things. Being the first stop, we were all ultra excited and I went a bit overboard, buying lots and lots of cakes. Here is Ella photographing the cakes while Vida chats to the staff about all their baked goods.
Second stop is Empanadas las Penas, a place I could never have found even if I was seraching for it purposefully. It's located in some little street nestled amongst all these houses. The shop front is so non-descript, you couldn't have guessed what is inside. From the exterior, it could have been a laundry, an accountants office or some seedy establishment if you didn't know what empanadas were. Luckily for us, Vida had done a dry run and actually talked to the laundry place next door to find out where this shop was. Such a dedicated tour guide.
Although all shops seem to be family establishments, this one had that feeling the most. The interior was this cramped space that fit only about 6 people. We were crowding around looking at everything whilst the smell wafting from the ovens was so good, I could taste the food already. When other customers came in, we had to shuffle along a bit to make space.
We bought empanadas from this place as Vida said they did the bests one. They were boiling hot still as they had just come out of the oven. My meat empanada was so yummy, I burnt my mouth a little eating it too quickly.
The fabolous Ella and Furry helped drive me around all day to minimise my hangover pains. They, along with Vida, are my new best foodie friends. Seeing as I live so close to Ella and Furry, it's easier to catch up with them for meals and other food related events.
Third stop was Monica's, an Argentinean cake shop this time. Again the smell was what hit me first. Mmmmmmm. The smell of freshly baked goods is divine.
Again, Vida distracted the staff while we stole....... glorious food porn shots of the food. The petit fours here looked amazing, and also a bargain at $28 for a whole kilo. I wanted to get everything, but we still had other stops and I didn't want them to all melt. Hence I will go back next week to buy one of every petit four.
Our last scheduled stop was Marciano's, a Chilean shop in Clayton. I don't know if I was starting to feel the weight of all the food in my stomach or I was getting even more dehydrated, but Marciano's impressed me the least. The baked goods didn't look as exotic as the other places, nor have that authentic ethnic feel. It was more professional and slightly more sterile feeling. Still, I bought some desserts to take home.
This was suppose to be our last stop, but Vida squeezed in one more stop just for us. We went to the Clayton Road Deli. For the n-th time, Vida went to the counter and started her spiel "We're a group of foodies and I'm taking these guys around showing them different places. We're going to take photos of your shop and put them up on the web and encourage people to come and visit". It was so funny. I was saying to Vida that we had to qualify ourselves and our cameras and reassure the owners that we weren't either a)crazy b)health inspectors c)competing rivals or d)crazy.
Again, I have to go back to the deli and slowly explore to pick up some of my favourite cured meats. The limoncello also looked good. I'm torn between making my own limoncello, which actually won't be cheaper, or buying it. When the limoncello was $10 for 100ml at Dan Murphy's, it was worth it to make my own. But for $30 for 700ml, that's about the same cost as buying the vodka to make my own.
Here was my haul for the day. I'm slowly working through them and noting down which ones I like. There is no photo of the empanadas as I already finished those off before getting home even.
Thanks to Vida for driving all that distance to show us around. Thanks to Ella and Furry for giving me a lift all day. Till the next tour, happy eating.
Haley's Bakery - 11 Elonera Road Noble Park Ph: 9792 5754
Empanadas las Penas - 40 Alfred Street Noble Park Ph: 9558 4600
Monica's Cake Shop - 14 Hosken Street Noble Park Ph: 9562 4699
Marciano's Cakes - 1481 Centre Road Clayton Ph: 9543 5967
Clayton Road Deli - 397 Clayton Road Clayton Ph: 9544 1968