Game. Set. Matcha!
My friend Rosa has the biggest heart of anyone I know. She loves to surprise me with (very welcome) visits armed with pastries and sweating bottles of ginger beer. She is the walking, talking definition of 'chicken soup for the soul'; except replace chicken soup with canneles and creme brûlée (Rosa is a pastry whiz with a penchant for fattening French food!).
A month ago, we met up and had an impromptu picnic outside UNSW Library Lawn. It was 4p.m. and I had taken a detour to 22 Grams to pick up chicken and barley soup - a late lunch - and a chai latte for Rosa. 'Try this', I urged. 'It's subtly sweet and a little spicy'. Rosa agreed - approval from a food nerd, hooray! Pulling out a checkered blue picnic rug, she then gestured to a big container; bread and flaky pastries she had bought from Top Impressions Bakery in Wolli Creek.
Forgetting about my lunch, I dove straight into the pastries. Luckily, I had a packet of Kingston biscuits on hand (my favourite store-bought bikkies!). Even more luckily, I had a friend that didn't mind that I got crumbs all over her picnic rug, chucked maple leaves near - and by accident, on! - the food and made her wait before we could eat.
Oozy, flaky, crusty, drooly.... sorry again for getting this all over your picnic rug, Rosa! The pastry shell was a nightmare to cut through, owing to the golden-baked crackly exterior swaddling innards of green tea filling. The cream within was a silken, thick custard with a sweet, matcha flavour which seemed a touch fruity.
Dusted with matcha, the matcha croissant with oozy matcha filling is much-a more matcha than you'd typically expect...-a . Game, set, matcha - this one's a winner!
A classic combination of red bean paste and matcha bun, this bread was generously packed with the starchy sweet paste. Honestly, no complaints here but also no real wow factor which is fine as it was dependable, delicious and filling enough.
The blueberry cream cheese bread is moist and fluffy with the characteristic chew of the white 'cotton bread' found in a Chinese bakery. The flavours are well-matched - cream cheese belies a certain heft and the blueberries a tangy lightness - but fillings were somewhat lacking.
The apple and rhubarb crumble danish is hands-down indulgent, a joy to eat with its teeth-compromising crunch, flaky exterior and tart chunks of fruit that leave juice running down the chin. It gets heavy partway through but the first few bites are a heavenly unity of butter, sugar and 'fruit that tastes more like fruit than fruit is supposed to' so I find it hard to share.
I'm going to end this with a huge thank you to my friend Rosa. Also, thank you for the poster of Benjamin McKenzie (Ryan from The O.C.) which I will treasure until my dying breath. You are fab.