Knead to know: the Hunter’s irresistible bakeries

Here’s your guide to some of the most delicious baked goods in the Hunter: from cinnamon sugar croissants to wholesome loaves of sourdough, get ready to indulge.

Few things are as comforting as a buttery croissant fresh from the oven or a tart so delicious you can’t bear to part with a single crumb. For many of us, bakeries and patisseries are our happy places. Whether it’s picking up a nourishing loaf of sourdough bread for the family or simply indulging your sweet tooth.
The Hunter is lucky to be home to some of the country’s finest pastry chefs who are kneading and baking their way into our hearts. We’ve rounded up some of the most delicious places to get your hands on baked goods in the Hunter.

Covered in Crumbs, Mayfield

When a fine dining chef with a passion for pastry opens his own patisserie, you know it’s going to be something special. That’s the story behind Covered in Crumbs, owned by Gareth Williams who was formerly the pastry chef at Newcastle’s renowned Restaurant Mason.

Set in a beautiful old brick building in Mayfield East, Covered in Crumbs is filled with freshly baked sourdough, pies and all the sweet treats you can imagine.

Gareth’s menu is ever-changing depending on the fruits and fresh produce of each season but the focus is always on authentic ingredients with all products made in-house from scratch including the pastry, jams, custards and gels. Their commercial kitchen is only a two minute drive from their patisserie so when their sourdough arrives it is still warm. The sourdough is made purely from flour, water, salt, a touch of golden syrup and their own starter culture. Each loaf is a hand shaped labour of love.
Covered in Crumbs also has a small prep room on site where customers can watch the cakes and tarts be garnished ready for display.

Gareth is always testing out new flavour profiles but there are many all time favourites that customers are always coming back for, such as their baked chocolate tart, a sweet pastry tart shell filled with baked chocolate mousse and a salted caramel centre. The tart is then dipped in tempered milk chocolate and finished with cacao nibs and sea salt. Another sweet favourite is the apple pie bostock, a brioche tea cake soaked in a fruit syrup with a layer of apple jam, poached apples and almond frangipane. And let’s not forget their irresistible cinnamon sugar croissants, filled with vanilla custard, rolled in cinnamon sugar and sprinkled with crushed pistachios. Popular savoury delights include the beef, cheddar and herb sausage rolls with beautiful buttery, flakey pastry.

Choux Patisserie, Charlestown

French-born chef Nicolas Poelaert has earned a national following for his dreamy, melt-in-your mouth eclairs. It’s hardly surprising given his background as a chef working in some of Europe and Australia’s top restaurants.

When Nicolas moved to Newcastle, he and his wife Tara decided to start Choux Patisserie and introduce locals to his creative masterpieces.

Nicolas says the secret to an excellent eclair is perfecting the soft, fresh choux pastry. From there Nicolas uses his knowledge as a high end chef to create the most incredible fillings and toppings for his eclairs.

The flavours are ever-changing and Nicolas says he has already made over 200 unique recipes. The flavour sensations range from banoffee pie with french vanilla to pistachio mascarpone cheesecake with strawberry. Customers are obsessed with his salted caramel eclairs which he almost always has on the menu.

Nicolas loves to have at least one “adventurous eclair” feature on his menu like strawberry and tomato or raspberry and basil. They may sound like unlikely matches but Nicolas’ incredible palate and ability to balance flavours means your tastebuds will be in for a real treat, no matter how unusual the combination sounds.

All his eclairs are lovingly made using only premium ingredients, such as real fruit and absolutely no artificial flavours. You can find Choux Patisserie on Level 2 at Charlestown Square.

Fosterton Farm Bakery, Dungog

Freshly milled organic, biodynamic grains from Australian farmers are turned into wholesome and delicious loaves of sourdough bread and pastries at Fosterton Farm Bakery.

The farm, set in Fosterton Valley, just out of Dungog on the Williams River overlooks the river flats.
It’s here that baker Simon Brownbridge lovingly ferments and mixes his bread dough by hand, creating the finest loaves of sourdough, from traditional wholewheat to rye, linseed, cobs and spelt loaves.
He also bakes a delectable selection of sweet and savoury pastries such as pumpkin and fetta rolls, and apple and walnut turnovers.

Simon uses only the freshest ingredients and seasonal, homegrown produce from their farm wherever possible. You can find Fosterton’s baked goods at the Slow Food Earth Market in Maitland and the Dungog Saturday Bread Van. Simon also runs practical hands-on traditional sourdough bread baking courses.

Bootleg Bakery, Merewether

On Fridays and Saturdays some of the best baked goods in Newcastle are served up from a small red van parked across from Henderson Park in Merewether.

You won’t know exactly what delicious assortment of breads, tarts and pastries will be on offer each week but you can be sure it’ll be hard to pick between all the tempting options. Savoury selections can range from mushroom and goats cheese tarts to zucchini and ricotta focaccias.

Sweet temptations can include pistachio and ginger cruffins, quince and custard danishes, chocolate mascarpone filled croissants and lime tarts made with freshly picked backyard limes.

The van opens at 8am and it’s best to get in early because they often sell out fast. Then you can enjoy a pastry picnic across the road in Henderson Park. For many Novocastrians this is the ultimate weekend ritual.

Read more about Hunter’s irresistible bakeries in the Summer issue of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.

Story by Nathalie Craig, photography courtesy of Hunter bakeries