If I was to tell you that one of the best bakeries I have ever visited is in Waikanae, New Zealand, would you believe me?
I’ve visited 46 countries, so it might take me a little while to convince you. I can assure you though, they’re onto a good thing in Waikanae.
About a month ago, a friend and I set out to find somewhere for lunch on the Kapiti Coast. After passing up several dismal options (Kiwi customer service – get your act together!), we started our epicurean odyssey at Salt and Wood Collective in Waikanae.
11 Ngaio Rd, Waikanae 5036
We arrived at about 9.45AM, and the place was already humming. It was packed with all sorts of people – couples, people enjoying a Sunday morning coffee, families, groups of friends. This is always a good sign in my book. I was pretty excited to find a few random additions to the menu, and settled on a hot chocolate and what could best be described as a baked egg extravaganza, featuring chunks of pork. I’m all class, I know. I know what I like.
Salt and Wood Collective is an American-style brewpub, which features the local tipple, North End Brewing. The folks that own the place know what they are doing – the also own the Long Beach Tavern (another favourite!), the aforementioned North End Brewing, and the gorgeous Olde Beach Bakery – which I’ll come to shortly.
The menu on offer was extensive, and has so many different things I want to try. I’ll be sure to be back. The hot chocolate I had was absolutely delicious – not always an easy feat for an almond milk job! My meal was rich, hearty and filling. The service was great, the atmosphere buzzing, and the prices good.
With a focus on using local, quality ingredients. What more can you ask for in your local neighborhood eating and watering hole?
Olde Beach Bakery, 3 Ono St, Waikanae Beach
We continued our day of eating at the gorgeous little Olde Beach Bakery in Waikanae Beach.
The thing about bakeries in New Zealand is that they are always a little bit hit-and-miss. Considering how much we love hand-made, artisanal products, the truck-stop-pie still haunts the New Zealand foodie scene. Just the other day I was commenting to my mum that, despite all of the progress we have seen in New Zealand, every town still has one of those gross little tuck shops where the mass-produced Mrs Mac’s sit in the warmer for 12 hours. By that time, they’re thermo-nuclear. Safer Communities Together, and all that.
So to see a local bakery producing top quality hand baked goods, which are delicious and well-priced to boot, is a real joy. And I’m not kidding when I say that the products are some of the best I had had, anywhere in the world. They’re well presented, tasty, and cost-effective. Turnover is high, so you know they are always going to be fresh. What’s not to like?
The place itself is adorable, and has a distinct 1960s milk bar kind of vibe. On a good day, the garden is full of patrons enjoying the sun, and the tasty treats on offer. The thing is, you can tell that the people working – and running – the Olde Beach Bakery really do love their work, and take pride in it. In fact, the website for the company reads:
We pride ourselves on establishing relationships with our customers and taking care of our staff, and we do our best to capture local resources to create high quality fare. We strive to provide a venue where there is something for everyone, as at the end of the day, we believe in Waikanae Beach and the Kapiti Coast.
To sum it up – if you are ever in the neighborhood, make sure you take the time to visit. If it’s really busy – as it often is – grab some food to takeaway, and have a picnic on the shores of Waikanae Beach or the river. You won’t be disappointed.
Lastly, a quick Google revealed that the kind folks at Olde Beach Bakery were generous enough to reveal their beloved cheese scone recipe. Any New Zealander knows that a good cheese scone recipe is the stuff. If you’re a little further afield than Waikanae and want to replicate the delicious cheesy treats on offer at Olde Beach at home, look no further.
OLDE BEACH BAKERY CHEESE SCONES
Makes 1 dozen
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
50gm soft butter
1½ cups grated cheese
1 cup of milk
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs, get rid of any big lumps. Stir in the cheese.
Make a well in the centre and add milk, mix quickly with a knife to form a soft dough, but be careful not to over mix. Tip dough onto a lightly floured board and shape it into a ball and flatten into a disc.
Split into 12 triangles. Sprinkle with extra grated cheese if you wish.
Bake at 160C for 15 minutes, or until as soft or crispy as you like.
(originally published on Stuff)