Via S. Gottardo, 6780 Airolo, Switzerland
Driving through the Alps from Switzerland to Italy, we passed through a number of small towns. As lunch time loomed, we stopped at the town of Airolo to look for some food. Not much was open, but we found a panetteria and pasticceria called Beffa. Being southern Switzerland, this was an Italian-speaking region. After some halting words with a young lady who didn’t speak any English, we managed to get some panini, freshly made in a back room. And sitting in the pastry display was a set of millefoglie, the Italian version of a vanilla slice.
We got a small round table in the dimly lit cafe section of the pasticceria. An adjacent table held five elderly men who were drinking espressos and having an animated discussion in Italian. This was the sort of place where old men gather to while away the hours gossiping with their friends. After eating our sandwiches, I turned my attention to the millefoglie presented on a similarly aged plate.
Continue reading Pasticceria Beffa, Airolo
318 Chiswick High Street, Chiswick, London, UK
On a business trip to London, I was staying in the Chiswick area for a few days. My explorations of the Chiswick High Street on foot uncovered the delicious looking Valerie Patisserie, which enticed with a window display full of luscious cakes and pastries, crowned by a huge piece of decorative frilliness rendered in dark and white chocolate. Amongst the mouth-watering cakes and slices in the window was a neat row of milles-feuilles, looking for all the world like classic Aussie vanilla slices, complete with the traditional drawn brown icing lines on a top of white icing.
I discovered this early in the day, on a post-breakfast walk before a day full of business meetings, and had already bought a more robust scone from a nearby bakery to serve as morning tea. So I filed the shop away in memory, to return that evening after the work had been completed for the day and buy one of the slices to take back to my hotel after dinner for dessert. The price was £2.95, and for that the lady behind the counter, rather than tossing it in a brown paper bag as would happen back home, placed it in a neat cardboard box emblazoned with the logo of the patisserie, using no less than three logo stickers to seal the box. This was then carefully lowered into a paper carry bag with handles, again decorated with the shop’s logo.
Continue reading Patisserie Valerie, Chiswick, London
783 Military Rd, Mosman, New South Wales
Having already procured lunch from elsewhere, I decided a dessert was in order, and found Homestyle Bakery on the busy main street of Mosman.
This is one of the anonymous shopfront bakeries with functional but perfunctory ageing steel and glass sliding doors that are ubiquitous in suburbs crying out for a little touch of urban renewal to spruce them up. It’s operated by a Vietnamese woman who serves me with a minimum of fuss, as I photograph the tray of offerings that bears the label “French vanilla sliced”.
Continue reading Homestyle Bakery, Mosman
Shop 5A, 23-25 Burns Bay Rd, Lane Cove NSW
Looking up a local bakery to go for lunch, I had originally intended to go to The Pottery Green bakery at Lane Cove. Upon arriving, they didn’t have any vanilla slices, so I went for a walk and found The Cake Man instead. This is a place occupying both sides of an entire arcade between the pedestrian mall and the parking lot at Lane Cove, a locality in the northern suburbs of Sydney. They have a take-away cafe with a few dining tables, a separate fancy cake shop, a restaurant and wine bar, plus their actual bakery and kitchens at this location.
The sausage roll and vanilla slice were described exactly thus by little plaques in the display cabinet and pie warmer – although there was also a “caramelised mille feuille” which looked tempting. The server requested I took a seat at the tables outside, and the items were bought out to me on little plates with serviettes and cutlery.
Continue reading The Cake Man, Lane Cove
28 Pacific Highway, St Leonards, New South Wales
This is a mostly anonymous hole-in-the-wall bakery on the heavy traffic road of the Pacific Highway as it cuts through the suburb of St Leonards. It’s so anonymous that the signage can’t even seem to decide if it’s called “St Leonards Bread & Cakes” or “St Leonards Pies & Cakes”. The shops fronting the major bus stop here have a gritty, run-down feel, with traces of graffiti on the walls, and this place is no exception. It’s operated by a Vietnamese family, and so naturally the French style bread hot from the oven is delightfully soft in the middle and crusty on the outside. They offer a fresh hand-made Vietnamese pork roll, which seems popular, as well as a range of the usual standards.
I secured a sausage roll for $2,70 and a vanilla slice for $3. Being no places to sit in the immediate vicinity, I walked 50 metres or so to the nearest intersection, where a blocked off side street offers a tiny refuge from the traffic with a couple of bench seats.
Continue reading St Leonards Bread & Cakes, St Leonards
Cnr Masonite Rd & Pacific Hwy, Heatherbrae, NSW 2324
Heatherbrae Pies is located a couple of hours north of Sydney, and is an ideal place to stop off for lunch or a snack on a road trip up the NSW coast. Ever since starting this food review blog, I’ve anticipated coming here to do a review. The opportunity arrived, I checked their website, and yes, they do indeed sell Sausage Rolls and Vanilla slices!
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9 Duneba Ave, West Pymble NSW
Arthur’s Bavarian Bakehouse is located in a tiny cluster of shops and restaurants in a quiet suburban street, one block away from the highway at West Pymble. I’ve known about this place for about 15 years and I don’t think anything about it has changed in all that time. They sell a selection of freshly made German style breads and pastries, plus homemade pies, sausage rolls and vanilla slices! There’s also a selection of German household groceries.
The window display proudly declares “Baking with passion”, and the planter boxes and little tables create an inviting friendly atmosphere.
I buy the products from the friendly server and take two brown paper bags to the tables and chairs just outside the front door.
Continue reading Arthur’s Bavarian Bakehouse, West Pymble
144 Coxs Rd, North Ryde, New South Wales
So, this food review blog is actually going to be a combined effort from a number of contributors. Talk began one lunch time with the friends I work with, about the nucleus of an idea where we are food reviewers for one single food item. An item that you can get anywhere. But it should be an item with lots of variability. Something you know when it’s a good one, and know when its a bad one. Vanilla slices! Ubiquitous, beloved, and there’s posh ones and daggy ones and everything in between. Did a brief search, and there’s one other vanilla slice review site, but it’s Melbourne based and seems to have been abandoned for most of the last decade.
Then came the next evolution of the idea – review a complete meal, main and dessert! It was decided then, that the blog would review sausage rolls and vanilla slices. The name “Snot Block and Roll” quickly followed and a plan was afoot to set up the site and start reviewing!
On to my very first review. After a couple of recent failed attempts to locate a suitable bakery on the weekend, I went on a lunchtime expedition to the neighbouring suburb of North Ryde. Parked the car, headed out to cross the road to the bakery I had gone to once before… and found this place instead!
Continue reading Lai’s French Hot Bread & Cakes, North Ryde
40 Murray Street, Nuriootpa, South Australia
I found this bakery cafe for breakfast. Linke’s Bakery has been operating since 1938, as a small sign inside proclaims proudly. Apparently everyone in Nuriootpa was part of the Linke family back then, because across the road is the Linke Butcher, and around the corner is Linke’s Building and Construction.
The bakery does a line in muesli or bacon and eggs and various other breakfast goodies, but I sacrificed the chance for an eggs Benedict to try their sausage roll and vanilla slice. The bakery goods all look really good here, with mouth watering sweet tarts and slices galore, and a full range of hot savoury pies with obviously hand-crimped pastry tops. Given this promising selection, I was looking forward to reviewing the twin quest items.
Continue reading Linke’s Bakery and Tearooms, Nuriootpa