I’ve never been a big fan of donuts (though I do like them – I’m not crazy), but the hype around Daniel’s Donuts has been so big over the last year that I had to go and check it out. Everyone from mum’s co-workers to Chris’ co-workers has been banging on about how they’re the best donuts they’ve ever had, and combined with the fact that my sister was dying to visit, and that it’s actually near-ish to home, prompted a drive down to Springvale one afternoon while I was in Melbourne.
I may not have gotten to have as much Fergburger as I would have liked to whilst I was in Queenstown, but you know what I did have a lot of? Fergbaker, the bakery (go figure) that marked the first expansion of the Ferg empire, a whole 10 years after the original Fergburger opened in 2001. Fergbaker may, on appearances, be your typical bakery, but you’ll realise that it is so much better than that after you walk in and have a look around. Aside from your typical array of loaves and sweets, there’s also a tantalising array of sweet and savoury pastries, as well as gourmet sandwiches, and an entire menu of country-styled pies. I was like a child in a candy store. Or you know, like anyone in a good bakery.
Armed with a voucher that entitled us to 10% off our purchase (you can get one by simply making any purchase at Fergburger, but it’s only valid for that day), we headed to Mrs Ferg Gelateria to get our dessert fix. Despite Queenstown city being only about a quarter of the size of the Melbourne CBD, there are actually two locations for Mrs Ferg. The original sits two doors down from Fergburger, whilst the smaller offshoot faces the Lake Wakatipu. It’s a pretty good setup really, given how popular the lakefront area is during the balmy summer nights.
Despite the horror that is the med school workload, I have managed to find occasional pockets of peace and relaxation. Every now and then, I’ll be blessed with a free Friday afternoon, during which I’ll allow myself a couple hours off for a nice meal, and maybe wander around the city for a bit of retail therapy. You know, for sanity purposes. One of the first places I hit up on a Friday was Café Cre Asion, one of Sydney’s all-time greats cafes – at least if Zomato is to be believed. Opened all the way back in 2011, Café Cre Asion has the honour of being Sydney’s first dedicated matcha café, back in a time where green tea was neither ubiquitous nor fashionable.
For the longest time, my go-to place for good gelato is Gelato Messina. Between their 40-odd flavours and half a dozen decadent specials that rotate on a weekly basis, I saw no need to ever go anywhere else. But after a few people have told me that Pidapipo is even better than Messina, there was nothing for it but to try it out. Having previously walked past and seen the ridiculous queues, I had deliberately chosen a cold, rainy night to visit and sure enough, there was no wait to endure. With that said though, the small gelateria still benefited from a steady stream of customers; enough to make any other place jealous for sure.
When pictures like these show up in your sphere of awareness, there’s no choice but to stand up and pay attention. With their ethereal and endlessly instagrammable soft-serve sculptures, Aqua S has been a huge hit in Sydney for the best part of two years, and has now finally made the jump to QV, Melbourne. Aqua S may seem like an arbitrary and nonsensical name, but it makes perfect sense once you realise that their signature dessert is the sky-blue sea salt soft serve. Decorated in contrasting shades of sweet pastel, you can get your soft serve at Aqua S with everything from sweet egg rolls to an entire cloud of freshly spun fairy floss. And if sweet-and-salty isn’t your thing, they also have 2 other flavours that rotate on a fortnightly basis; on the night we were there, it was Royal Milk Tea and Cranberry, though in the past there have been everything from Milo to apricot, and even bizarro flavours such as Pumpkin Soup, Tofu, and Tomato (but not all together – that would be much too crazy).