There’s something to be said for revisiting old favourites.

Before I moved to Melbourne, every time I visited the city I’d make a pilgrimage to Brunetti. Back then it was only a single store in Carlton, half its current size. I loved the European atmosphere, the mirrored walls and the glass cabinet full of cakes. There was nowhere else like it back home in Brisbane.

Now, not only has Brunetti spread its delights to other locations (including the panetteria close to my house in Fitzroy, which constantly calls my name), it’s expanded its range of traditional Italian sweets and cakes.

Thanks to FoodPampering, I was invited to sample a selection of Brunetti‘s famous petit fours as well as their newest pastry, La Creazione ($4.50). The latter is choux pastry filled with bitter chocolate cream and a hint of orange. It takes its name from the famous Sistine Chapel image ‘The Creation of Adam’ which has been cleverly printed onto a chocolate plaque. This is an elegant, high-end eclair!

The words that come to mind when describing the Bigne San Guiseppe ($4) are those made famous by Tyra Banks – ‘ugly/pretty’.  The lightly fried doughnut is rather lumpen in appearance but its hunchback looks belie the smooth chantilly cream contained inside – an enticing mixture of cream, vanilla custard and strega liqueur.

I have been known to order a plate of Brunetti petit fours as dessert as I’ve been unable to choose just one single item. I rate the strawberry tart with vanilla custard and the millefoglie – puff pastry with, you guessed it, vanilla custard.

Two other items from Brunetti are also frequently on my shopping list – the thick Italian hot chocolate ($5) and spelt pagnotta ($6). To curb my hot chocolate spending I’ve finally caved in and bought a tin of it to make at home ($12.90). After following the recipe I now know why it is so addictive – it’s a mixture of cocoa, icing sugar, full cream milk and cream. Don’t even bother doing it skinny if you want it to be good.

As for the bread, I don’t have any food intolerances so there’s no medical reason why I should choose to eat spelt over wheat. Yet this crusty bread with an airy soft centre is so good that I’m deliberately choosing spelt and I can get through a whole loaf of it (thickly sliced then slathered with jam or topped with smashed avocado and good olive oil) in two days. I think it’s better untoasted too. Evidently other people are onto this bread. Last Saturday I went to Brunetti at 9am for my bread – and all six loaves had sold out! So don’t say I didn’t warn you :–)

I think everyone has their favourite Brunetti item. RM loves the almond croissant. My mum buys the nougat for gifts. My friend M likes the macarons.

What’s yours?

Brunetti, 194 – 204 Faraday Street, Carlton (and  other locations)

Sunday – Thursday (6am – 11pm)
Friday – Saturday (6am – Midnight)