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

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

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.

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