Patis­serie bliss

French-born baker Do­minique Colom­bie opened his first patis­serie in Auck­land in 1986. Since then Pane­ton has set the standard for French pas­tries in New Zealand and has just opened a new premises in the heart of Newmarket


Pane­ton’s French bak­ing

Step through the doors of Pane­ton’s Teed Street cafe and you’ll be greeted with the wel­com­ing aroma of warm, but­tery pas­tries and freshly made Supreme cof­fee. The glass-fronted cabi­nets are full of scrump­tious French de­lights: filled fi­celle and cia­batta sand­wiches, freshly baked mini dan­ishes and Pane­ton’s iconic crois­sants. The pale mint walls, gold-rimmed mar­ble ta­bles and pol­ished con­crete floors trans­port you from the streets of Auck­land straight into a Parisian patis­serie. C’est mag­nifique!

The Newmarket cafe and bak­ery has been open for less than a year but is al­ready a fo­cal point of the Teed Street scene with its de­signer bou­tiques and pop­u­lar brunch spots. The cafe is a show­case for the beau­ti­ful bread and pas­tries that Pane­ton is fa­mous for, with fresh-baked bread from the new St Johns bak­ery site in Farm­house Lane de­liv­ered daily be­fore the sun rises. In ad­di­tion, the Teed Street cafe boasts a full range of frozen pas­try and ready-to-cook pas­tries, as well as whole cakes for spe­cial oc­ca­sions.

Since open­ing its doors to­wards the end of 2016, the Teed Street cafe has de­vel­oped a loyal fol­low­ing of reg­u­lars including cus­tomers who have sup­ported Pane­ton for the 30 years they’ve been in busi­ness. It was just 100 me­tres from here, on Khy­ber Pass, that baker Do­minique Colom­bie and his wife, Celia, opened their first cafe bak­ery, La Tar­terie, in 1986 after mov­ing to New Zealand from France. They’d packed their be­long­ings – including a small, spe­cialised oven – into a con­tainer and set off for Auck­land to set up shop and serve their sweet and savoury French pas­tries. “We couldn’t af­ford the main street, so we thought, ‘If it’s good, peo­ple might come,’” says Do­minique. “And they did!”

The Newmarket cafe and bak­ery has been open for less than a year but is al­ready a fo­cal point of the Teed Street scene

Do­minique grew up work­ing in his par­ents’ patis­serie in a small vil­lage in the South of France. It was a busy lit­tle place and from the age of 7 he would run the shop till with his four brothers. “When peo­ple wanted a fine cake, they would come to my par­ents,” says Do­minique, who con­tin­ued to work along­side his father and learn the craft of tra­di­tional French bak­ing.

When he was old enough, Do­minique moved to Paris to take short cour­ses at the Lenôtre culi­nary school. “From my father I learnt all the ba­sics, but he was work­ing in an old-fash­ioned way. In Paris, I learnt new tech­nol­ogy: freez­ing, pas­teuris­ing and things like that.” It was in Paris that he met Celia, who was work­ing at the OECD, be­fore train­ing at the Cor­don Bleu and work­ing in pas­try shops around the city. “We de­cided we wanted to do some­thing to­gether with food,” he says. And the rest is history.

Pane­ton now has two re­tail lo­ca­tions in Auck­land – Newmarket and Halsey Street – but dis­trib­utes frozen and par-baked prod­ucts through­out New Zealand. It was Do­minique who pi­o­neered the frozen re­tail pas­try busi­ness in New Zealand back in 2010. Not only does this in­no­va­tion al­low Ki­wis to eas­ily whip up patis­serie-wor­thy crois­sants at home, but cafes and ho­tels all around the coun­try can now serve tra­di­tional French pas­tries and breads with­out hav­ing to make them from scratch. The crois­sant recipe is still based on the orig­i­nal Pane­ton method but has been ad­justed for blast freez­ing. “We do big num­bers, but it’s the same qual­ity,” says Do­minique, who can of­ten be found in Teed Street chat­ting to the reg­u­lars, scooter parked out front.

Pane­ton has recently launched its choco­late pas­try, which in­deed tastes just as good as it sounds. In fact, the Newmarket cafe now reg­u­larly whips up a deca­dent choco­late tart made with Pane­ton choco­late pas­try and served with a dol­lop of whipped cream on the side. As if

by…• there wasn’t al­ready rea­son enough to stop

Daily bread Pane­ton’s cafes in Newmarket and Halsey Street (in cen­tral Auck­land) are open Mon­day to Satur­day, and both lo­ca­tions can pro­vide cater­ing for train­ing ses­sions, board meet­ings, morn­ing teas and lunches, and pri­vate func­tions. Pane­ton also...

Bake off Do­minique (pic­tured op­po­site) trained with his pas­try chef father in the South of France and at Lenôtre in Paris. Some 50 staff work across the busi­ness, in the two cafes and at the bak­ery in St Johns.

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