The best ice cream, cake, cheese and coffee
Almost everyone agrees that Messina Gelato in Darlinghurst is the best, but I’m not so sure. There’s a place in Tambourine Mountain up behind Surfers Paradise that sells the most astonishing, dazzling ice cream ever made, Lick ice cream. The story was that a local chef’s wife had gotten sick and he stayed home for months to nurse her and while at home he created Lick ice cream. It’s well worth the plane trip and drive to those mountains.
And while you’re wandering around the art galleries and rain forrest tracks of Mt Tambourine you’ll come across Granny Mac’s Fudge. In Queensland every second shop is a fudgerie but don’t be fooled, this is definitely the one, the best I’ve ever tasted after years and years of painstaking research.
For cakes the research of this blog goes worldwide. On a backpacking trip instead of cathedrals we walked the beaches of Normandy from one end to the other. There are three things in Normandy, seaside villages, d day relics and apple pies. When you sleep in a farmhouse it’s apple pie, in the shops, the hotels and on the streets everywhere it’s fresh, just out of the oven, apple pie. And you never get sick of them, this is homemade French cooking, presented to you with pride and enthusiasm and they’re great. When we got back I thought I’d try the local French apple pie just to see, at the Paris Cake shop in Bondi Rd and as an international expert on the subject I can say Bondi Rd was maybe better than Normandy. I was doing a wedding for French people and was telling them this story and before I came up with the name they boomed out, Paris Cake Shop. They told me the French owner goes back to France to lecture the locals in baking. Not bad eh. There’s a few more cake shops I’d put right up there with the Paris Cake Shop. Christopher’s for Greek cakes, Wellington for unbeatable Kugelhoff, Kurtosh for Hungarian, Pasticceria Papa in Haberfield for Italian, Dinky Die for pies and of course The Gelato Bar for strudel. And the local Chinese/Japanese, 85 degrees in Kingsford. Try getting out of there with just one or two cakes.
Now, for a little refinement. on to cheese. I’m a Bega man or I thought I was. A friend took me into Ocello in Bourke St near Taylor Square which is definitely in the upper, imported masterpieces end of the market. He engaged in witty cheese banter discussing goats, sheep and burying your gruyere in ash because he’d had a childhood on the farm in Germany. My childhood consisted of being trained to run for the door when I see $180 per kilo on a price tag (Holy Goat was the $180 cheese and Holy Goat was what I said). I handed over my inheritance and we got our cheese and left the shop with a nice range and some wine and then I discovered my inner gourmet. It was great. I can’t say I can ever remember savouring or in other words, eating slowly, anything. Well, this was my moment in savouring sunshine, it takes a bit of getting used to but it’s worth it.
Finally coffee. Cafe Hernandez opened nearby renamed as Cafe Corona and it’s great. We’ve got Grounds, Kitchen by Mike, Danks St and Grandma’s Little Bakery all around the corner so we’re spoiled for choice. But I reckon the standout is this little burger and coffee shop in Kangaroo Valley called Jack’s. We’ve been going there for years because it’s the kids favourite milkshake and vegiburger place. We’ve been there, many many times and the coffee just stands out. I can barely tell the difference between Pablo and the hand picked by virgins coffee from The Himalayas but this is noticeably special. Finally after all these years I thought I’d tell the owner how much we like the place. We were there with three other families and when he started talking all our ears pricked up at the sound of that familiar South African accent. What else could we do? We all joined hands, broke into a hora and danced around the counter with him.