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The Great Barrier Reef was my first foray into snorkeling, and it wrecked me for life; the standard was set so high, nothing else will ever compare. Thanks to Queenie's Food Tours, I've had my equivalent experience in the macaron world. But as usual, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Unpretentious and with the gift of the gab, Melbourne foodie Andrew Prior (Masterchef contestant Season 5) quickly and comfortably familiarized himself with our group, and filled us in on (and then showed us) the secrets of the sweet shops of South Yarra.
Macarons from A La Folie (that ruined me for life!)
An epic tour guide, his height and radio-voice are not all Andrew has going for him. More than just business partnerships, the owners and operators at the establishments that we visited obviously respected Andrew, and had come to know him as a friend; not difficult, when he's visiting them with new groups several times a month. I felt like I knew him at the end of our 3 hour Sweet Dreams tour.
I don't want to spoil all the surprises, but we did start at Lux Bites, with scrumptious selections of petite four sized desserts and delectable drinks to go with them. We then heard the heart story and successes of the passionate French Iranian owner of A La Folie (incidentally, she was visited a few days later by none other than Michael Bublé when he was in Melbourne for his latest tour).
We were given time to shop and chat and taste and linger and sip and savour throughout the tour, all while Andrew made himself readily available for questions and conversation.
Queenie's Food Tours currently offers walking tours (Sweet Dreams in South Yarra, Breakfast tour in CBD, Lunch tour in CBD), cuisine tours (French, Italian, and Gluten Free), and corporate events; the costs are excellent value for the dollar, and include transport for the non-walking tours, tastings, and meal (confirm details when booking).
And yes, the cronut. Adriano Zumbo calls his version of this croissant-come-donut the "zonut." I don't even want to know the kilojoule count on these little gems. Actually I do. Some sources estimate that this evil sweet is over 2,000 kj and 35g of fat. "The pastry is made by frying a laminated dough in grape seed oil; the fried pastry is then sugared, filled, and glazed" (Wikipedia). Good thing they're not gluten free, or I may have been tempted to try one before this nutritional insight. By the way, all stops on this tour had gluten free options.
Lux Bite macarons including exclusive flavours- bamboo oolong tea, ribena lemonade, and pandan
Where's your favourite macaron hiding out? Have you been pleasantly puckered or sourly saddened by a sweet shop recently? Do share in the comments section below. In the meantime, find some new favourites by booking this tour with Andrew, and get yourself wrecked for life, because your standards just won't be the same.