Showing your love and appreciation for someone by giving the gift of beautiful food is as old as time. Festive treats are the perfect present for everyone, especially those who are hard to buy for, and Subiaco’s bakeries, patisseries and Subi Farmers Market are busy creating tasty treats ready for gifting this Christmas.
Louis Boeglin Patisserie
Alsace-born chef Louis Boeglin loves Christmas and traditions from his homeland, a region in the northeast of France, close to Germany. And that’s lucky for us because we can enjoy all the delicious traditions right here in Subiaco.
Louis will be making ‘bredala’, a traditional Alsace Christmas butter biscuit that comes in many flavours including hazelnut, cinnamon, and lemon, as well as classic vanilla. Bredala are available in boxes of 12 ($24) in mixed flavours and Louis says that they last weeks when kept in an airtight container.
“I learned to make bredala with my grandmother, and infact all the little kids make them with their grandmother during Christmas time. The ginger and honey flavour is a favourite for both my grandmother and me,” Louis says.
“It’s tradition to have bredala with tea or coffee after lunch or dinner, and to give them to children as a morning or afternoon snack. There’s always a little bag or box of bredala in homes at Christmas time where I’m from.
“These biscuits are full of memories for me, memories of big Christmas markets, the flavours and smells of spices, they are a symbol of Christmas, and they represent everything we loved as kids.”
Besides bredala biscuits, Louis will be making Bûche de Noël, which translates as ‘Christmas log’, so named because it’s a roll of sponge cake or biscuit that looks like a log you put on the fire at Christmas.
Although Bûche de Noël can be made with a number of bases and different flavours like chestnut, mandarin, passionfruit, or vanilla, each Christmas Louis makes just one flavour.
“Our Bûche, our log of the year, is chocolate, cherry and blackberry,” he says. “We change the flavour each year. What’s important for Bûche de Noël is not the flavouring, it’s the shape, it must be a log shape.”
Made to order, Louis Boeglin’s Bûche de Noël ($69) has a chocolate biscuit base, blackberry and cherry compote layer, encased in a chocolate mouse and covered in a glossy cherry mirror glaze.
The Christmas treats don’t stop there, Louis will also be baking pain d’epices ($25), akin to a loaf of gingerbread (think banana bread) spiced with cinnamon, star anise, honey, and orange zest.
“You can eat the pain d’epices anyway you like, just sliced, or toasted with butter. Have it as a snack with different toppings or simply with tea, coffee or hot chocolate.”
Louis will also be selling jars of thick chocolate caramel sauce ($9), designed to be eaten with anything.
“Everyone loves caramel sauce, you can just a spread it on toast or warm it up and have with ice cream. It’s something nice to have that lasts long time, and we thought it would be a nice special for Christmas.”
Besides family and food, Louis loves Christmas carols, and you’ll hear them playing in the shop, the office and the kitchen every day for a month.
“I spent my youth growing up in Africa, which was very different to a white Christmas in France. Christmas carols are something we could have in Africa, which was very far away, the carols were a link to home.
"I just love them and I play them all the time, it’s not negotiable!”
For those who love buttery pastry, go straight to Layers Bakery for the prettiest edible Christmas tree you ever did see.
The Christmas tree mille feuille is made from puff pastry and layered with chocolate and vanilla custard, and decorated with fresh meringue, fresh fruit such as raspberries filled with mango puree, strawberries and blueberries, pistachio crème, edible flowers, gold leaf and a gold-dusted macaron as the centrepiece.
The small Christmas tree mille feuille ($85) is for up to eight serves, and the large size ($100) comes with a couple of extra macarons and will serve up to 12.
Located in the Subiaco Square Shopping Centre on Station Street, Layers Bakery, owned by French couple Bertrand Hofman and Julie Vachey, make everything themselves using traditional methods.
Bertrand, who previously worked at Bread in Common, said that last year the Christmas mille feuille was very popular.
“We’ve shaped it like a Christmas tree this year and we think it looks even more beautiful.”
There are limited quantities and the cakes are available by order, so make sure you place yours in plenty of time. This festive season, Layers also plans to offer other treats too.
The Gallic team is garnering a passionate following for its almond croissants, crusty sourdough bread, free from preservatives and colours and made with just two ingredients, flour and water, filled baguettes and delicious slow-cooked brisket pies.
Named after perfect croissants which feature fine layers of delectable pastry, this is the second Christmas celebrated at the patisserie which only opened last December. Since then, the bakery was named as one of the top bakeries in Western Australia in the recently announced WA Good Food Guide, not bad for such a recent addition to Subiaco’s amazing collection of artisan eateries.
Sweet Twist Cookies
Now here’s an advent calendar the family will be fighting over. Cleverly crafted by the super-talented home baker, Sue Tomic under the moniker Sweet Twist Cookies, the Australiana advent calendar is a series of beautifully-decorated natural shortbread cookies, one for each of the 25 days of Christmas. The icing and the food colouring are all natural and vegan and best of all, the sugar preserves the biscuit so it’ll keep for up to six months, if you can resist it for that long.
Advent calendars are made to order ($60) and orders generally take two weeks to fulfill.
Sweet Twist Cookies also have beautiful snowflake cookies ($5 each) that are almost too pretty to eat (have you seen our cover photo?).
Sue started Sweet Twist Cookies six years ago, an idea born after attending a cake-decorating course.
“It all started with an upside-down spice rack and skewer,” Sue says.
“Cakes seemed big and daunting, so I tried biscuits that were smaller and more manageable, and I love the creativity involved in coming up with designs,” Sue says.
Sue bakes the shortbread biscuits herself, about 200 per week, and hand-decorates them before selling them at markets and online. It’s a family affair; her husband makes the cookie cutters and stencils using a 3D-printer and cam cutter.
“I can make anything a customer wants,” says Sue. “I can add names to biscuits so they can be used as a place setting on a table, add holes to them so they can be hung up on a Christmas tree as a decoration, or even used as a gift tag on a present.”
Sue says the largest cookie is A4 in size, and the smallest is a two-centimetre heart.
Besides pretty Christmas cookies, Sweet Twist Cookie makes cookies based on holiday themes and whatever is popular - at the moment it’s Spiderman cookies, Peppa Pig and Minecraft characters.
Sue can make gluten-free biscuits that are imprinted with a stamp, as she explains, the icing doesn’t stick to the cookies without gluten.
Find Sweet Twist Cookie at the Subiaco Farmers Market every second Saturday.
Subi Farmers Market
Wander around the Subi Farmers Markets and you’ll be able to pick up plenty of Christmas treats. The Woodfired Baker will have Stollen, a traditional German spiced fruit and nut bread, Loafers Artisan will have mince pies, Wild Bakery will have their famous not-too-sweet mince pies, Christmas cake and Stollen, the Little Dough Dealer plans to create some festive flavours as does Gfree Donuts for those who prefer gluten-free goodies.
Simon Johnson Subiaco
Fill a hamper or get the staff to do it for you at Simon Johnson where you’ll find everything from nougat to Italian designer pasta, caviar, olives, fancy tea, single origin coffee, deluxe olive oil, speciality salt, cheeses that’ll make you weep and much more. Hampers come in boxes, wicker baskets or tote bags and start from $30. All of their stocked items are international with the exception of local honey.