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A sweet year: the best desserts of 2014

Michelle Brotohusodo

2014 was another big year for the Canberra food scene, with new eateries opening on the northside, southside and in the middle, as well as existing establishments continuing to up their game. For those of you with a sweet tooth like me, a lot of these provided some delicious dishes perfect for getting your dessert fix. Here’s a snapshot of some of my favourites from the year that was 2014 (in no particular order).

San Churro

To the joy of Canberran chocoholics and churro addicts, San Churro opened its doors in Woden in April 2014. While I’m partial to churros (and chocolate), I found that you can’t go wrong with pretty much anything on the menu—it just depends on how high your chocolate tolerance is!

The essentials

The place: Chocolateria San Churro
Where: 8 Bradley Street, Westfield Woden
When: Mon-Thurs 8am-10pm, Friday 8am-midnight, Saturday 10am-midnight, Sunday 10am-10pm
Food: Chocolate, churros, ice cream, macarons, cakes, bizcochos, fondue, sundaes, and more!
Drinks: Spanish hot chocolate, couverture hot chocolate, shakes, smoothies, coffee, iced drinks
Contact: Call 1300 797 620 or visit the website or Facebook page

Chez Frederic

If you follow the HerCanberra Food & Drink Facebook page, you’ll know that Chez Freds quickly became one of my favourite go-to places when it opened in January 2014. But I don’t just go there for the savoury food—Chez Freds also has some delicious desserts. My picks are the chocolate mousse and salted caramel profiteroles, which I recently discovered actually go really well when you eat them together. Oh yeah. Read all about Chez Freds here.

The essentials
The place: Chez Frederic
Where: Unit 4, 14 Lonsdale Street, Braddon
When:  Open Mon-Sat, lunch 12-2pm, dinner 5-9pm
Food: Pasta (including vegetarian options), meat & veggie dishes, desserts
Drinks: A range of wine and beer, as well as soft drinks
Contact: Call 02 6248 0044, visit the website at www.chezfrederic.com.au or check out their Facebook page.

Palette Cafe at Beaver Galleries

In August last year I was lucky enough to spend a day enjoying the Fireside Festival. One of the stops on my trip was the Palette Cafe, where my friend and I decided to try the bread and butter pudding. Wow. It was, and is, hands down the best bread and butter pudding I’ve ever had. Which possibly has something to do with the fact it’s made with croissants…(note the photo below only shows half of one—my friend and I shared and they kindly brought it out to us already cut up!). Read more about my Fireside Festival experience here.

The essentials
The place: Palette Cafe
Where: Inside Beaver Galleries, 81 Denison Street, Deakin
When: Tues-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun 9am-5pm
Food: Cafe food
Drinks: Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soft drinks
Contact: Call (02) 6282 8416 or visit the website at www.thepalettecafe.com.au

Zar Cafe

This Palestinian cafe in the Mawson shops is a hidden gem. My first (of many) visits was back in August where my lunch concluded with a serve of walnut baklava. While I often find baklava overly sweet and sticky, Zar’s walnut baklava gets the balance just right. Yum. Find out more about what Zar Cafe has to offer here.

The essentials
The place: Zar Cafe
Where: Shop 7, Southland Shopping Centre, Mawson
When: Mon-Sat 7am-6pm
Food: Palestinian
Drinks: Coffee, tea (including Palestinian tea with sage), soft drink
Contact: Call (02) 6286 3337 or visit their Facebook page

Frugii ice cream at Stripey Sundae

You probably know by now that Mr Frugii, John Marshall, opened his own shop in Braddon a few weeks ago. But my first taste of Frugii ice cream was at Stripey Sundae in Gold Creek. It’s a lovely space in one of my favourite areas of Canberra, perfect for enjoying a cold Frugii treat, especially on a sunny day (please note that while the photo below shows the inside of the shop, there’s also outdoor seating along the deck). Read more about Stripey Sundae here (note that Yvette is no longer the owner, but the new owner Deepak is just as lovely!).

The essentials
The place: Stripey Sundae
Where: 11 O’Hanlon Place, Nicholls (Gold Creek)
When:  Thursday to Sunday and public holidays, 10am-5pm
Food: Great range of Frugii ice creams, sorbets and gelato, plus devonshire tea, gluten and dairy free brownies, and
Drinks: Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, milkshakes, chocolate affogato
Contact: Call 0403 521 958, visit the website at www.stripeysundae.com.au or check out their Facebook page.

Dessert Castle

If you couldn’t guess from the name, Dessert Castle’s main fare is desserts. Lots of them. Plus frozen yoghurt. While the range of choice is pretty extensive, my go-to was the waffles with ice cream, chocolate, and strawberries. Read about my first visit to Dessert Castle here.

The essentials
The place: Dessert Castle
Where: Childers Street, Canberra (ANU campus, near the UniLodge and Shanghai Dumpling House)
When:  Monday – Friday 8am-10pm, Saturday 10am-10pm
Food: Desserts, handmade chocolates, slices, frozen yoghurt, snow ice cream, as well as café-style savoury food including burgers, pasta and salads
Drinks: A range of hot and cold, including coffees, Belgian hot chocolates, juices, and smoothies
Contact: Visit the website at www.dessertcastle.com.au or check out their Facebook page

Koko Black

Like San Churro, it’s hard to go wrong with anything on Koko Black’s menu. But the particular highlights for me were Koko Black’s annual winter evening of chocolate (think a cocktail followed by four full-size chocolate desserts, plus a hot drink and more chocolate to take home) and dessert degustation—a selection of their seasonal menu. Perfect for someone like me who has trouble deciding but wants to try as much as possible. Read my recap of Koko Black’s winter evening of chocolate here, or find out about its summer menu here.

The essentials
The place: Koko Black
Where: Canberra Centre, Bunda Street
When: Monday to Thursday 8.30am–10.00pm, Friday 8.30am–11.00pm, Saturday 10.00am–11.00pm, Sunday 10.00am–6.00pm
Food: Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate
Drinks: Chocolate, tea, coffee
Contact:  Call (02) 6230 4040 or visit their website or Facebook page

B St. Bakery

While B St. Bakery doesn’t have a shopfront, I discovered their goodies at the Forage at the Vines at Mount Majura Vineyard in November last year. Everything looked so good I couldn’t decide so of course I had to buy a few things to try. They were all as delicious as they looked. When the time came for the main Forage event later that same month, I made sure I stocked up again.

The essentials

The place: B St. Bakery
Where: Can be found at the Forage, but also stock local cafes. Contact them or visit their Facebook page to find out where.
Food: Friands, macarons, brownies, cupcakes, biscuits, tarts, and more! This includes a range of gluten-free options.
Contact:  Call 0422 452 993 or visit their Facebook page

Heather’s House of Cake

I first discovered Heather’s House of Cake in April. While Heather had been selling at the Old Bus Depot Markets, I never tried her creations until visiting her shop at Gold Creek. Not only are they gorgeous, but they are delicious—and some have a surprise inside! I was sad when I heard that the shop had closed—but then I found out that it’s because Heather and her crew are moving to a bigger, better space in Belconnen. Bring on the cupcake party! (I’m serious—you can have a cupcake party at Heather’s shop, where you get to decorate your own cupcakes and make a cupcake bouquet). You can read more about Heather’s journey here.

The essentials

The place: Heather’s House of Cake
Where: Soon to be opening in Belconnen
Food: Cupcakes, including gluten-free options, and custom made cakes.
Contact:  Call (02) 6251 4533 or visit her Facebook page

So that’s my list – I want to hear what made yours!

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Michelle Brotohusodo

Michelle moved to Canberra vowing to stay for two years, tops. 10 years later, she’s a bona fide Canberra convert. When she’s not working in her day job as a public servant, she’s enjoying Canberra’s culinary delights or finding fun things to do/see in and around town.

More about the Author

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