I once held a bake-off amongst my friends where everyone had to bring a baked dessert for judging (and eating). J and B brought a beautiful chocolate babka which was suspiciously excellent…and after a few drinks it was revealed that on a friend’s tip they had bought the babka from Aviv Cakes & Bagels!

I’ve been dreaming of that babka for close to 5 years now and decided that it was time to revisit Aviv. Being in Elsternwick the bakery caters well for a large Jewish clientele – bagels, strudels/kugels, pastries filled with poppy seeds – and Italian/Continental style biscuits and cakes. The bakery is super busy and there are only a handful of chairs and tables so most patrons, including me, opt to take away.

The chocolate babkas are sold by weight and my typical one feeding around 10-12 people cost around $27. It was a gorgeous buttery ring of sweetened risen dough and chocolate paste and a large hunk is perfect with a cup of tea.

There is no need to toast it (like brioche) as I think it’s better as is with just a little ‘freshening up’ in the oven if it’s been sitting a bit. It didn’t go dry or stale over the weekend during which we nibbled at it bit by bit, though on Saturdays they do produce a mini-babka.

The poppyseed strudel was around $15 and was stuffed with a rich, almost savoury poppyseed filling. I like my pastry a little flakier in the French style, but it was still buttery and light.

Aviv is an old-fashioned bakery with a strong following. I’m sure it will continue churning out its classic bakery items like the chocolate babka for many generations to enjoy.

My travel to this cafe was made possible thanks to the Holden Barina.

Aviv Cakes & Bagels 412 Glen Huntly Road  Elsternwick +61 3 9528 6627

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