Saturday, 19 April 2014

A Berry Nice Day Out - 11 April 2014

Last weekend was my wife's birthday so I decided to treat her to a long weekend away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney. The picturesque town of Berry (2 hours south of Sydney) would be our first stop of our weekend getaway. Berry is a place that both my wife and I have wanted to visit for a very long time, mostly because of our love for food.  Berry is a foodie's paradise, filled with specialty retailers selling artisan products, wineries, farms and produce gardens.     

Oregano Bakery
Address: 56 Connells Point Rd, South Hurstville NSW 2221

Before we hit the Princes Highway, we decided to drop by Oregano Bakery for morning tea. Started by husband and wife team, Sonia and Tony Jabour, as a Lebanese pizzeria in 2010, Oregano Bakery's success is due to their signature cinnamon scroll. These things sell like hotcakes (according to Broadsheet, 35,000 are sold in a month!).       

Cinnamon scroll and honey & walnut scroll;cross section of cinnamon scroll 

We ordered one of the original cinnamon scrolls and one honey and walnut scroll. The original cinnamon scroll was definitely our favourite of the two. Just look at those swirls! The scroll was just really delicious: soft, moist, full of cinnamon and had a good amount of sweetness (any sweeter would have been too sweet for me). The scroll was covered in powdered sugar, and as I am not really a fan of powdered sugar, I brushed most of it off to the side.

The honey and walnut resembled a baklava, which I found a bit too sweet for my liking. It was drowned in honey and filled with crunchy walnuts within.

With our sugar craving satisfied, we headed for Berry.

Oregano Bakery on Urbanspoon        

The Berry Tea Shop
Address: 1/66 Albert St, Berry NSW 2535

Our first stop in Berry was the Berry Tea Shop. The Berry Tea Shop opened its doors in June 2010 and was created by husband and wife team, Cliff and Paulina Collier. The specialise in high-grade loose leaf teas, which are brought in directly from their countries of origin and blended by hand in store. They do not do 'flavoured' teas, thank god!

We absolutely loved the space!  It was a spacious, relaxing setting, perfect for a nice pot of tea with a slice of cake or a scone. There were also all kinds of kettles, tea pots, cups and saucers on display, which we were fascinated by. Who doesn't want a rooster kettle or a Winnie the Pooh tea pot?   

My wife may be a tea-lover, but she is also a self-confessed tea snob. This is the person that will use a timer to ensure that her tea has brewed for the "right amount of time". And at home she boils water to a certain temperature depending on the tea leaf used. She definitely knows how to make a good cup of tea so I usually trust her judgement when it comes to picking a good tea!

I ordered the good morning, which was a blend of Ceylon, Assam and Yuuan tea, and my wife opted for darjeeling. Both teas were fantastic! The good morning was a strong, full bodied tea, with a great depth of flavour. The darjeeling was a lighter cup of tea with fresh, floral, woody and muscatel notes. We enjoyed these teas so much that we decided to buy some for home.

The Berry Tea Shop on Urbanspoon

Pompadour's Chocolate House
Address: 113 Queen St, Berry NSW 2535

Next stop was Pompadour's Chocolate House, which was just a short walk from the Berry Tea House across the car park.  Pompadour's offers a wide range of handmade premium chocolate creations. It was the Royal Easter Show awards on display that caught our attention; it's obvious that these guys are serious about making good chocolate!

Milk chocolate bunny and chocolate penguin

It was just a brief visit at Pompadour's for us. We decided to buy a packet of Belgian dark chocolate thins (53% coco solids), a milk chocolate bunny filled with strawberry cream and a penguin (which was made with a combination of milk and white chocolate and also filled with strawberry cream).  Both the bunny and penguin were almost too cute to devour, but the allure of smooth Belgian chocolate was impossible to resist. I highly recommend a stop at Pompadour's to all chocolate lovers out there.

South Coast Providores
Address: 89 Queen St, Berry NSW 2535

A short walk up Queen street takes me to South Coast Providores. This is the place to go for mouth watering conserves, chutneys, sauces, jellies and relishes made from locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables. All the marmalades sounded fantastic and we were looking for something tasty that we could spread on our toast during the frantic morning rush for work. We finally decided on ruby grapefruit and Campari and lemon, lime and bitters marmalades, which were suggested to us by Ian Gray, one of the owners of South Coast Providores.

The Famous Berry Donut Van
Address: 73 Queen St, Berry NSW 2535

The Berry famous donut ($1.50 each), geddit?

Walking further up to the outskirts of Berry takes one to The Famous Berry Donut Van next to Shell petrol station. Stopping by this donut van to have one of their famous donuts has been a ritual for thousands of motorists driving down the South Coast for over 60 years.

So what's the big deal with these donuts? They are fried to order, so they come piping hot, soft and fluffy on the inside and are served with just cinnamon and sugar (thank goodness for that since I have a dislike for the sickly sweet donut icings). They're quite enjoyable but if you're not into donuts (like my wife), they're not likely to convert you. But having these donuts is something that every visitor to Berry has to do at least once.

Famous Berry Donut Van on Urbanspoon  

Il Locale Gelato
Address: 114 Queen St, Berry NSW 2535

Hazelnut and honey & macadamia gelato ($5)

Our walk back up Queen street takes us to Il Locale Gelato. This was not one of the places that I had on my list, but the words gelato and fresh led us into the store. The gelato is freshly churned by The Pines Gelato in Kiama using fresh milk from their farm. For $5 for 2 flavours, we decided to try hazelnut and honey & macadamia flavours.  We enjoyed both flavours but the winner was definitely the hazelnut flavour. The gelato had a nice fresh creamy texture and lovely smooth finish.

Berry Woodfired Sourdough Bakery
Address: 23 Prince Alfred St, Berry NSW 2535

It was passed 2pm, so it was well and truly lunchtime. We had always planned to drop by Berry Sourdough Bakery and Cafe, which is just off the main street of Berry.  There is also a smaller, more conveniently store located on the main street, Milk Wood Bakery, that sells similar things to the bakery. 

The cafe is a very popular stop for hungry south coast motorists and quickly gets packed, especially on weekends. But luckily for us, we came on a Friday, so there were plenty of tables. We were craving for savoury food at this point (almost desperate for it), so after our waitress explained what the specials were, we quickly put in our order for the sourdough pizza and the salad of the day.

Sourdough pizza ($19)

The sourdough pizza ($19) had spinach, red onion, tomato, and house made herbed ricotta. The sourdough pizza base was just amazing. It was a pan style base, rather than the thin bases that I usually have a preference for. It had a nice robust flavour from the sourdough, fluffy and not dense at all for a pan base. The best part of the pizza was definitely the crust, which was quite crispy.

Salad of the day ($17)

A plate of salad ($17) was definitely needed in order after what I had consumed today. This was a fresh, enjoyable salad of carrot, haloumi, sunflower seeds and a caraway vinaigrette. Both my wife and I love the saltiness and meatiness of haloumi. And I thought the addition of aniseed flavour from caraway in the vinaigrette worked well with its acidity.

We had no space left for the delectable tarts in the pantry, so we decided to go for a leisurely walk to our stop, The Treat Factory. We will have to try these during our next visit to Berry.

Berry Sourdough Cafe on Urbanspoon 

The Treat Factory

Address: LOT 1 Old Creamery Ln, Berry NSW 2535

The Treat Factory is the largest gourmet food outlet on the South Coast of New South Wales. They handcraft hundreds of varieties of chocolates, confectionaries, jams and sauces. There are two retail stores in the historic Old Central Creamery, where you can buy a range of award winning products direct from the producer as well hard to find gourmet foods.

Mushroom and truffle oil pasta sauce ($6)

As soon as you walk into the Treat Factory, the first thing you will notice is the wonderful aroma of different spices wafting through the air from large vats bubbling away. After a quick browse, we decided to buy a bottle of mushroom and truffle oil pasta sauce. I am a sucker for all things truffle and just love its pungent aroma.

The freight train that we almost got run over by on our way back to our car from the Treat Factory - we were on the tracks as the gates were about to close!

We spent a good three hours in Berry and thoroughly enjoyed every moment in this beautiful little town. There is more than enough here to keep any food lover interested. We enjoyed talking to all the locals and store owners, and of course sampling all the amazing food, produce and artisan products that this town has to offer. And since it is only 2 hours away from Sydney, Berry is definitely a place that will see me coming back to for many years to come.

Other wife birthday posts:
Biota Dining, Bowral
Tyler's Pantry, Mogo