Stop Press: Baker D Chirico is re-opening Tuesday 9 February Wednesday 10 February until Thursday 1 April (before Good Friday). Tuesday to Fridays, 8am-6pm. Hurrah!
A baked goods bomb has just exploded in Crossley Street.
That was my first impression when I stepped inside Baker D Chirico’s Alice in Wonderland inspired pop up store, the walls zinging with comets of pastries, cakes and bread against the night sky. The groaning counter of delectable sweet treats by pastry chef Louis Vaussenat was reminiscent of the maddest Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and even the staff were storybook cute, dressed in grey servant-girl cap sleeved dresses.
The fitout, packaging and uniforms have been specially designed for the temporary store by previous Baker D Chirico collaborators, husband and wife team Perks and Mini (P.A.M). Mischa Hollenbach (Perks) is responsible for the graphic design of the crazy/delicious wallpaper and mince pie boxes, the recycled cardboard and gold embossed nougat boxes and wacky Monty Python-esque panettone containers. Shauna T (Mini) designed the cute uniforms with an air of French whimsy to them. Patrons of Baker D Chirico’s St Kilda store might notice that the staff’s P.A.M aprons are screenprinted with the same design as the wallpaper of the St Kilda store. Look carefully and it’s images from a vintage hairdressing magazine combined with pictures of bread! So ‘baguette’ is a curly set hairstyle with a baguette intersecting the mouth, ‘pagnotta’ is a pagnotta loaf with a mass of curls over the top and ‘epi’ is a stylish updo with a croissant top and an epi tendril falling down one shoulder. These wonderfully quirky aprons are available to purchase along with tote bags bearing the same designs.
I took a picture of lovely, sweet (but photo-shy) Emily in her apron because I’d also noticed that she’d added her own little Alice in Wonderland touch to her outfit – a silver ring set with a rabbit’s head, perky ears at the ready.
Daniel Chirico has been looking for a city location for a while, and his first venture into the CBD sells baked goods prepared in St Kilda and transported to the city. Breads and pastries are delivered first thing for the 8am opening and then petit fours and other afternoon tea fancies are delivered in the afternoon and sold until closing time at 7pm. Just a tip – if you’re planning a visit on a Monday, be aware that the store may not necessarily open on the dot at 8am and the bread selection is not as comprehensive. That’s because the St Kilda store is not open on Mondays, so instead of six bakers there is only one (Daniel Chirico) producing the bread, and he decides when and what is available on the day.
Every time I’ve visited the store I haven’t been able to resist the large salted caramel macaron ($4.50). Apparently macarons are the most popular item on sale and the salted caramel version is a beautiful indulgence, a breathy sugar hit (but not tooth-numbingly so) with a slightly moist interior encased in eggshell delicate coating. The mince pies ($3.50) are equally delicious, with just the right sweetness in the fruit mince and a moist short pastry that’s neither gluey or crumbly. And of course there’s the famous custard-filled bombolini!
For Christmas I’ve pre-ordered a panettone ($45) and a calico wrapped pain d’epice ($18). I highly recommend the panettone in particular, which comes in fruit or chocolate as well as miniature sizes, as Baker D Chirico is one of the few bakeries in Melbourne that undertakes the laborious three day process to make fresh panettone (with no preservatives).
For the sake of my sweet tooth, I hope that Baker D Chirico decides to stay in the city. But in the meantime, you’ll need to get in quick – the pop up store is only open until 24 December.
Baker D Chirico’s pop up store was part of my Search for the Perfect Mince Pie. And I can confirm that the pannetone was a hit of Christmas morning, lightly toasted and served with ice cream.
Baker D Chirico Pop Up store, 24 Crossley St, Melbourne +61 3 9639 1624