36 Murray Street, Angaston, South Australia
This place was a must-visit, as it boldly advertises “the best vanilla slice in the Valley” on all of its promotional material in the tourist guides of the Barossa Valley, and on a large sign outside the premises.
It occupies a traditional neat-looking shop front on the main street of the tiny town of Angaston, but inside it stretches expansively back from the street to form a somewhat funky cafe atmosphere with chill music playing softly. The display counter is large, with a big selection of delicious looking savoury pies, plus dozens of cakes and slices, and then a fresh sandwich bar.
I got my sausage roll and vanilla slice to eat in, taking a table by the wood fireplace and sitting on the comfy two-seater leather lounge with Mrs Snot Block & Roll.
The sausage roll looked hand made and featured a moderately flaky pastry pierced with fork pricks to help the baking. It was somewhat generously sized, being both plump and slightly longer than usual. The first bite revealed a well spiced meat filling, cooked to perfection. It had a touch of rosemary to the herby flavour, but was dominated more by the sharpness of pepper, which is a good thing in this reviewer’s opinion. The flavour was well balanced, spicy without being overwhelming. The pastry was good, but could have done with being a little bit flakier and slightly crisper on the outermost layer. Pretty good overall.
The vanilla slice is a generous rectangular block, composed of two thick layers (5-6 mm) of flaky pastry sandwiching a generous slab of pale yellow custard. The topping is a white icing with thin diagonal cross-hatched brown icing stripes. The custard shows sticky pull marks where the knife has sliced through it, which promises a soft creamy texture.
Although supplied on a plate with a cake fork, I picked the slice up and bit straight into it. The pastry layers are firm enough to hold the slice, but snap pleasantly to allow a bite before squeezing the custard out too much. The custard is creamy and slightly subdued in flavour rather than being too sweet, which is nice. It is also not perfectly smooth, showing some evidence of very small textural inconsistency which speaks positively of a hand-stirred batch. The pastry is not soggy at all, and provides a good crisp texture contrast with the custard. The icing is thin enough not to overwhelm anything and the whole blends together very nicely. There is vanilla flavour and sweetness, but both ever so slightly understated, which makes this a pleasure to eat through the full slice without suffering a sugar overload.
After a few bites, I suddenly become of aware of what this reminds me of. The pastry is almost like a rolled slab of choux pastry, and combined with the creamy custard it gives the effect of a fancy French profiterole in each bite. It’s delicacy and deliciousness in a snot block. This really is the best vanilla slice I’ve had in a long time. Handmade perfection, good textural variety and flavour, and not overly sweet. It’s highly possible that D&M’s claim of best vanilla slice in the Barossa Valley is not overstated.
Sausage roll: 8/10
Vanilla slice: 9/10