PASTRY WITH A PASSION
IF YOU ARE PARTIAL TO A BIT OF SWEET TEMPTATION OVER THE FESTIVE SEASON, ORANGERIE PATISSERIE WILL HAVE YOU DROOLING FROM FIFTY PACES
You’ve gotta love a man who is passionate about baking. Especially if that baking involves beautiful works of art. And that’s exactly what Simon Lewis-Jones’ creations are. The skill, application and sheer love that goes into his work shines through in every mouthful and is written all over his face when he discusses his chosen vocation.
From delicate pastries to exquisite cakes and artisan loaves, Simon takes such pride in his craft, it’s almost a shame to eat it.
Unless you’re determined to make your own mince pies this Christmas (and, let’s face it, if you haven’t started you may as well forget it) the only place to buy them is Orangerie, a pretty patisserie in suburban Redlynch, where they will be running out the door as fast as they come out of the oven, from now until close of play Christmas Eve.
Simon started marinating his dried fruit with a secret blend of spices in June to ensure it is lusciously tasty for the festive season and will be putting possibly 1000 of the festive treats on to Cairns tables this Christmas.
Many of them will be pre-ordered, but in the lead-up to the holidays Simon, wife Jenny and their team of chefs won’t be able to make enough to fill demand.
And with good reason. These morsels with fine sweet buttery pastry and tangy fruit mince, which come in a traditional style, as well as a crumble top, are by far the finest in the land.
So, what drives a man to become a purveyor of fine baked goods, a perfectionist who won’t sleep for three nights in the lead-up to Yuletide, the biggest event of his year, and the subsequent public demand for decadent delicacies?
Absorbing a love of culinary finesse from his mother as a lad growing up in Western Australia, Simon would help with the home baking, turning his own handiwork to any pastry off-cuts.
Beginning as an apprentice chef, he went on to specialise in pastry, eventually working in the kitchen of the prestigious Dorchester Hotel, London.
Fast-forward a few years and Simon, along with childhood sweetheart Jenny, fell for the charms of the tropical north, eventually setting up Orangerie at Redlynch nine years ago.
As word began to spread of their wares, customers began to flock from Mossman to Gordonvale and everywhere in between.
Today, some buy the same cakes, tortes and tarts with remarkable regularity.
Others, like myself, never miss out on their superior hot cross buns or mince pies and know exactly where to go for a special occasion treat.
This time of year, big sellers are of course the mince pies, along with gingerbread houses for an exotic table centrepiece, shortbread (traditional English and Viennese), edible reindeer and wreaths and the ever-popular peanut and pistachio brittle.
All come prettily wrapped for additional seasonal cheer. And, when the shutters come down late on Christmas Eve, there’s every chance Jenny will re-enact the exhaustion of Christmas past, selling her last cake and falling promptly asleep in the corner of the shop. Verdict: There is no comparison.