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By Heather• 6 Jun 2018
In a suburb better known for its classic Kiwi bakeries specialising in pies and lamingtons, Kilbirnie has become the place to go for exquisite and Instagrammable patisserie. Sugar Flour opened a few months ago and has been creating a stir on social media and selling out of baked goods before closing time.
Owner and patisserie chef, Maxine Scheckter, is of the Ontrays family, so was brought up appreciating quality food and ingredients. She laughingly says that she loves food but has limited creativity for anything other than patisserie – which is our good luck I'd say.
At the ripe old age of 22, Maxine's patisserie background includes stints at Logan Brown, Gateaux Thoumieux in Paris and working under Heston Blumenthal (did she start work straight out of nappies?!) — some exacting teachers, which clearly shows in the end product.
Maxine is up baking at 3am every morning, as some items take days to craft. Maxine uses as much local and NZ product as possible, but does confess to using Danish butter, which apparently has a better fat profile for patisserie, and Valrhona chocolate which has the particular mouthfeel she’s after.
Purely in the interests of research, I decided I’d better try a couple of things. After much oohing and aahing, I chose the persimmon tart and the lemon meringue. And I may or may not have added a cute wee toffee apple to finish later.
The persimmon tart had light silky custard and soft vanilla-infused persimmon against sweet and crisp short pastry. The lemon meringue was oh-so-silky and smooth with tart grapefruit marmalade, lemon peel, and baby basil leaves cutting through the sweetness and a final flourish of gold leaf for a totally luxurious treat.
To accompany your sweet or savoury pastry, Sugar Flour have a small menu of locally sourced beverages including Libertine teas, Karamu coffee and Six Barrel Soda. Sugar Flour’s hot chocolate has a gorgeous unctuous texture and might even be my new all-time favourite; it’s made with Valrhona chocolate and served with a house-made toasted vanilla marshmallow.
Sugar Flour is only open Fridays and weekends, and they only stay open until the baked goods sell out – so my advice is to get in early! This is patisserie worth setting the alarm for.
PS. After five years of much fun writing for Word on the Street, I am heading off on an overseas adventure and then relocating to Napier. Thank you all for your readership and support, and keep getting out there supporting the wonderful Wellington food scene! HeatherC