Saturday, 8 October 2011

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio

647 Chapel Street
South Yarra, 3141

ladybird cake/entrance/flower wall art
Where science meets sweetness. Anyone who is even vaguely interested in food probably knows that the phrase refers to Burch and Purchese Sweet Studio, a small unassuming shop tucked away on Chapel Street. Walk inside however, and you’ll be greeted with what’s possibly the most dessert-tastic shop in all of Melbourne. It’s like a Willy Wonka factory of assorted cakes, sweets, ice-creams and everything saccharine. The result was a place so photogenic that me and the birthday boy, K, spent almost an hour with our cameras out. So a big thanks to K for all the fantastic photos he contributed to this post (with his DSLR and 3 different lenses), and get ready for enough photos to give you a toothache!

cake cabinet (individual portions, $9)

The first thing that catches the eye as you walk through the doors is a long glass cabinet stretching across the room filled with cakes and more cakes of all shapes and sizes. The individual portions of cake sat in the cabinet looking like edible works of art. They were absolutely gorgeous. 

coconut, passionfruit, ginger, mint/vanilla, pistachio, lemon, green tea/chocolate, mandarin, salted caramel/raspberry, white choc, honey, lychee/raspberry & milk chocolate eclair/cherry, chocolate, cocoa nib
cake cabinet/vanilla, pistachio, lemon, green tea/chocolate, mandarin, salted caramel/flower wall art
banana, caramel, rum/cake cabinet/vanilla, pistachio, lemon, green tea/raspberry, white choc, honey, lychee

There was also a selection of larger cakes for sale. They were larger versions of a select few of the individual cake portions, but they looked no less stunning.

chocolate, mandarin, salted caramel/coconut, passionfruit, ginger, mint/banana, caramel, rum/vanilla, pistachio, lemon, green tea/rapsberry, white chocolate, honey, lycee
And sitting on top of the cake cabinet was a tower of meringue clouds. Fluffy, shiny, and subtly coloured, they actually did look like they were plucked from the sky.

meringue cloud stand

window display/strawberry meringue clouds/passionfruit meringue clouds/edible greeting card

When we finally managed to tear our eyes away from the counter, we turned to the shelf running the entire length of the store, groaning under the weight of all the goodies on it. There was everything from freeze dried fruit to salted caramel spread to edible clay to chocolate dominoes. We were literally big kids in a candy store.

50/50 chocolate hazelnut and salted caramel spread/chocolate bars/business card/gift pack

fruit salad white chocolate/freeze dried orange slices/coconut, passionfruit, ginger, mint/cake display

But wait! There’s more!

back room
Right at the back of the store sits the famed ingredient wall. Hundreds of jars of ingredients sat on a shelf that spanned from the floor to the ceiling. Some of the more unusual ingredients include wasabi, basil, and 8 different kinds of sugar.

ladybird cake/edible flowers/spring racing dozen

And sitting in front of the ingredient wall is a collection of lavishly decorated cakes. We couldn’t stop taking pictures. 

coconut, passionfruit, ginger, mint/ladybird/back room display

edible flowers/pig cake/chocolate cake/racing car cake

ladybird cake/cake cabinet/back room display

edible flowers

I was especially smitten with these edible flowers. Get close enough and you can actually smell the chocolate soil these flowers are ‘planted’ in. 

spring racing dozen ($115)

Equally beautiful were these small cakes sitting in a beribboned box. Aptly named the Spring Racing Dozen ($115), one can't help just imagine ladies in sundresses and bonnets tucking into these with a cup of tea.

spring racing dozen ($115)

chocolate cake/palette wall art/spring racing dozen

And right at the back of the store, the doors to heaven the kitchen was thrown wide open, giving us a peek into the kitchen where Ian Burch and Darren Purchese themselves worked on their latest creations.


And now comes the hard part – choosing what cakes we wanted. After ten minutes of careful, agonised deliberation, we finally decided.

raspberry, white choc, honey, lychee (white chocolate & raspberry mousse, raspberry & lychee jelly, muesli & honey nut sponge, raspberry & hibiscus jam, honey lychee syrup, exaggerated raspberry cream, white chocolate velvet spray, $9)

K chose the Raspberry, White Choc, Honey, Lychee ($9)

(Kendari 60% chocolate mousse, Murray River salted caramel, burnt mandarin cream/St Clements marmalade/aerated chocolate shortbread/chocolate mirror glaze, $9)

Whilst I went with the Chocolate, Mandarin, Salted Caramel ($9)

We also picked up a Strawberry Meringue Cloud ($5), and our purcheses (pun intended) were boxed up for us to take away. I loved how they stuck the descriptions of the cakes inside the box so we knew exactly what we were eating.

Ten minutes later, we found ourselves in a nearby shopping center, ready to dig into our desserts. Then we encountered a problem – neither of us could bear to sink our spoons into our perfect cakes, it seemed almost criminal.

Strawberry Meringue Cloud ($5)
So instead we started on the strawberry meringue cloud. I will bet you anything under the sun that you have never had anything like this before. The crisp shell of the meringue disintegrated into the sticky, stretchy insides that almost resembled strawberry bubblegum. And the taste was unbelievable. I was converted over to two things I, a moment ago, disliked. Even if you hate meringue and strawberry like I did, you’ll want to give this a go. It will without a doubt change your mind.

The meringue was finished, and we couldn’t put it off any longer. We steeled our hearts, and sunk our spoons into the cakes. And once we did, there was no turning back.

Raspberry, White Choc, Honey, Lychee ($9)

The Raspberry, White Choc, Honey, Lychee was creamy, floral, and absolutely stunning. It was sweet and light with a strong raspberry taste without being tart. I dropped my half of the jelly that sat on top of the cake, but according to K it tasted subtly of lychee. It was a shame that we couldn’t really taste the lychee in this, or it would have been the perfect dessert.

Chocolate, Mandarin, Salted Caramel ($9)

My choice, the Chocolate, Mandarin, Salted Caramel, was as different to K’s in taste as it is in appearance. Rich and decadent, the chocolate mousse inside was shot through with the fragrance of burnt mandarin. It’s an absolute must for orange chocolate lovers. And right at the center was a perfect little orb of sticky salted caramel. My only complaint is that I wish there had been more of it.

But alas, all good things must come to an end, and a few minutes later, both our desserts have disappeared without a trace.

Rating: 14.5/20 – where science meets sweetness

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio on Urbanspoon

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