After three very long years it was time Dylan and I visited Melbourne. Our last trip to Victoria was a two week road trip through the Great Ocean Road and Melbourne. A two week gastronomic adventure celebrating our fifth anniversary. We dined at Jacques Reymond, Attica, Loam, MoVida Next Door and many more. This time around we would only have two nights in Melbourne. But that’s ok, we’ve got another getaway planned for February next year 😉
One of the places on my ‘must-do’ list was Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio. I became familiar with Darren Purchese through Twitter and then of course series 2 of Masterchef. I knew he made exquisite looking desserts. I knew they would taste sensational. I knew I had to get to the Sweet Studio and experience his masterpieces for myself.
Upon entering the store we were greeted with a long display case of cakes, dessert tubes and other delicious treats. A bench runs the length of the room and is covered with chocolate bars, jams, pastes, candied nuts and lots and lots of confectionery including chocolate Mr Potato Head and Pablo the Penguin.
Darren Purchese was in the kitchen when we arrived but came out a while later. He said hello and was happy to have a chat, pointing out a number of things around the store. It was then that he brought to my attention the edible art on the wall. Yes, everything is edible. I ended up staring at the piece for a very long time, taking in its complexity and sheer beauty.
While we perused the store we were offered a sampling. Pistachios are not my favourite nut but there’s something about them that works so well in desserts. A combination of pistachio frangipane, cassis curd, green tea meringue, pistachio cream, vanilla & white chocolate mousse and chocolate velvet spray. Layer upon layer of flavours that worked so well together. Plus the cake is usually decorated with green tea sponge and cassis jelly. My one little bite was simply divine.
Caramelised white choc, banana, vanilla cheesecake ($9.00) and Explosive raspberry milk chocolate ($9.00).
Banana desserts are the bomb. That was the only reason I chose this dessert tube over any of the others. A tube layered with banana bread, vanilla cheesecake, cinnamon toffee, caramelised white chocolate mousse and roast banana cream. When I got a little bit of everything in one mouthful I absolutely loved it, but that was near impossible to achieve and instead I found the individual components a little overpowering.
Dylan decided to stick with a Burch & Purchese big seller, Explosive raspberry milk chocolate. A combination of raspberry and milk chocolate mousse, raspberry custard, raspberry compote, explosive milk chocolate chip cookie crumb, exaggerated raspberry cream, raspberry marshmallow and milk chocolate mirror glaze. Dylan’s thoughts were parallel to mine – absolutely loved it when he got everything in one mouthful, but the individual elements were quite rich.
Funnily enough we both loved the taste we had of each other’s dessert more than our own, though maybe that was because we both tried so hard to get a little bit of everything on the spoon for each other.
Passionfruit meringue cloud ($5.00).
I couldn’t resist buying a passionfruit meringue cloud. Packaged in its own little box, safe from all the other goodies, it travelled well and stayed in one piece for the duration of the trip home. As our weekend in Melbourne came to an end we made our way to the airport. I was impatient and decided the cloud wasn’t going to make it to Sydney.
I opened the box to discover my cloud in pieces. Smashed to smithereens the meringue obviously didn’t like the trip from the CBD to the airport. I couldn’t stop laughing at how much I had bashed it about. Appearances aside this was the best meringue I have ever tasted – and Dylan makes an absolutely amazing pavlova. Light, crispy, chewy, full of passionfruit flavour. There is nothing more to say. Except next time I’m buying one for Dylan too so I don’t have to share.
Explosive raspberry wagon wheel ($8.00).
Wagon wheels were one of those things that I loved as a child, though I couldn’t explain why. The chocolate was thin, the jam rather artificial and the marshmallow as fake as it comes; yet Mum often bought them and my brothers and I would devour them. My eyes lit up when I saw B&P’s rendition as I knew it would be good.
With a rich chocolate coating, raspberry marshmallow and raspberry jam this wagon wheel ticked all the right boxes. Dylan found it too sweet but I absolutely adored it. Memories came flooding back of days gone by when I’d eat the original Wagon Wheels but this time around I was looking back wondering why I ever ate them in the first place.
Popcorn & honeycomb rubble ($12.00).
Everyone knows honeycomb and chocolate are a great combination, Cadbury Crunchie is one of my favourite chocolates. But what I never knew was how this combination could be elevated to new heights with the introduction of popcorn. Another textural element the popcorn balanced the sweetness of the honeycomb while the milk chocolate wrapped it all up into pieces of the best rubble I’ve ever eaten. I still can’t believe it is as good as it is. Trust me, make sure you grab a packet or two of this.
City honey honeycomb ($6.00).
Over the last few years I’ve seen more and more restaurants producing their own honey and one of the reasons for doing so is their understanding of the importance of bees (if you have no idea what I’m talking about I suggest you watch Marla Spivak’s TED talk “Why bees are disappearing”). Add to that the locavore movement and rooftop honey is popping up all over town. Burch & Purchese produce their own honey and from that they make honeycomb. Honeycomb that actually tastes like honey – rich, buttery, sweet honey. Great on ice cream or just on its own.
Salted caramel spread ($14.00).
The last Burch & Purchese treat I purchased was salted caramel spread. I had a craving for ice cream topped with salted caramel and thought banana would go quite nicely. Banana slices caramelised in butter and brown sugar, a few scoops of good quality vanilla bean ice cream, drizzled with warm salted caramel. The best decision I’ve made in a long time.
m&m’s smooshed into it, honeycomb sprinkled over it, drizzled on ice cream or indulged by the spoonful; Burch & Purchese’s salted caramel spread has just the right amount of salt and a wonderful depth of caramelisation. You can’t go wrong.
I managed to make my Burch & Purchese treats last a few weeks. Now they’re all gone and I’m sad. But the good news is I’m heading back to Melbourne in February and will be heading back to B&P to try more of their deliciousness.
Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio
647 Chapel Street
South Yarra VIC 3141
(03) 9827 7060
Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio