For an Instagrammable treat, check out some of these drool-worthy creations that are high up on the Aussie snack list.
By Georgia Rickard
Home to the world’s coffee capital, host of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, and populated by millions of ardent devourers of smashed avo (that’s avocado on toast, for those who don’t speak the local lingo), Australia has some of the best food on earth. It should come as no surprise that Australians enjoy a photoworthy snack as much as the next Instagrammer. Here are some of the latest treats we’re enjoying around the nation.
What Australia is snacking on right now
The fairy floss dessert burger, Melbourne
What’s inside the fairy floss dessert burger? “Magic!” says Ly Nguyen. She and her partner Dario D’Agostino co-own the Long Story Short cafe in Melbourne, and recently added this outrageous, “wildly popular” concoction to their menu. A pink, sugary dome of fairy floss topped with popping candy, dried crushed raspberries, and flowers, hides “a Sicilian brioche bun filled with honeycomb gelato, fruit pieces and jellies, and covered with white chocolate matcha sauce,” Nguyen says. “Pour a cup of coconut milk over the top and watch the fairy floss disintegrate, to reveal the dessert burger underneath.” Long Story Short has received plenty of media attention in the past for other tasty creations: a video of its “hot chocolate experience”, in which hot chocolate is poured over a sphere of chocolate to reveal a marshmallow stack, has racked up 12 million views.
The panookie, Hobart
It’s not a pancake, it’s not a cookie – it’s some kind of hybrid, and it has taken over Hobart. “The panookie is a pizza pie of cookie dough, baked into a pan and topped with various goodies, as well as house-made marshmallow and a scoop of Valhalla [a famous Tasmanian ice cream],” says Min Ratthanakun, owner of the Honey Badger Dessert Cafe. The cafe serves the panookie in three varieties – black (served with milk and dark chocolate), white (white chocolate cookie dough served with boysenberry ice cream) and blonde (peanut butter and choc chip dough served with caramel fudge ice cream and orange blossom Persian fairy floss). “People love them,” Ratthanakun says. “We make our own cookie dough, we make our own marshmallows and we top them with all kinds of goodness like Oreo crumbs, flaked almonds, seasonal berries and caramel beads.” In Salamanca Square, Hobart’s famous historical precinct, the cafe is the perfect spot to stop at after you’ve strolled the waterfront and browsed through the area’s galleries and gift shops. Shopping burns calories – you deserve a panookie!
The rainbow coffee, Brisbane
Several unusually coloured lattes have made their debut on Instagram in recent years, but the rainbow latte at the Piggy Back cafe is slightly different, says the cafe’s manager, Marina Ghobrial, because creator Emily Coumbis “was determined not to compromise on taste”. As head barista, Coumbis is passionate about her coffee and experimented with several versions before she mastered her technique, which Ghobrial says tastes “just like a classic Australian latte”. “We steam the milk, use simple food colouring to do the latte art on top, and serve each drink with a double shot of espresso on the side,” Ghobrial says. Since introducing the drink to its menu, the cafe has hosted so many global travellers that a map has been installed along one wall, allowing visitors to mark where they’re from. “People have come from everywhere,” Ghobrial says.
The matcha burger, Melbourne
Melbourne’s Matcha Mylkbar is well acquainted with fame: in 2016, the vegan eatery created the smurf latte, a bright blue drink (pictured above) that went viral. But the most popular item on the menu is actually the bright green matcha burger, says Mylkbar co-founder Mark Filippelli. “The burger features a green brioche bun coloured by matcha and a fried ‘chicken’ patty made of garden protein and grain,” he says. Despite serving an entirely plant-based menu, the restaurant doesn’t advertise its food as vegan. “We don’t serve typical vegan food, and our customers aren't necessarily vegan – they’re just people who enjoy eating tasty things,” Filippelli says. Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth is one of them, says Mylkbar’s general manager, Ruby Shine. “He has dropped in several times; he and his family get a smorgasbord of items,” Shine says. Sounds to us like a good reason to go.
The chrysanthenum soft serve, Canberra
Chrysanthemum is a common flavour in South-East Asia. When Cantonese-Australian Kent Nhan co-founded Canberra restaurant XO, he decided to give Australian diners a taste of his upbringing. “Where I grew up, in Hong Kong, chrysanthemum-flavoured juice is served to children as part of traditional yum cha breakfast,” he says. “Chrysanthenum is also commonly used in cooking across South-East Asia.” Nhan decided to infuse the flavour of the famous flower into a soft serve dessert – with great results. The uniquely coloured soft serve, with a similar flavour profile to caramel and honey, was an instant hit – so much so that XO has begun adding a new soft serve flavour to its menu every month. This month it’s Milo – a crunchy chocolate powder usually served in a glass of milk to Australian children. We can only imagine what might be next.
The pink toast, Sydney
Beetroot, cream cheese and toast with raisins in it – we can’t say we saw this one coming, but co-owner of Mug Life, Geoff Bannister, swears it’s a hit. “The beetroot gives the cream cheese a subtle extra taste that’s complementary to the sweetness in the raisins,” he says. “Our strawberry beetroot hibiscus tea shake has a similar taste profile; both sell very well.” We can’t say we’re convinced, but the queues streaming out of Sydney’s two Mug Life stores do seem to back up his claims. You can order Pop-Tarts, enormous burgers, unusually flavoured shakes and 14 different kinds of brightly coloured doughnut at the stores, which are playfully themed with various references to the ’90s (including rap legends Thug Life: expect to hear ’90s hip-hop and R&B playing on the stereo); don’t forget your camera.
The blue bowl, Sydney
Concrete Jungle in Sydney is serving blue bowls for breakfast, and locals are eating them up. While the meals at this trendy cafe, in Sydney’s inner-city art precinct, Chippendale, look too good to be healthy, the entire menu is health-conscious – including the blue bowl. Blue algae powder is blended with pineapple, banana, coconut yoghurt and a splash of coconut water to create that precise shade of blue, with house-made granola, edible flowers, coconut flakes, crunchy buckwheat, blueberries and freeze-dried raspberries for flavour, colour and satisfying crunch. Happily, we can confirm it tastes as good as it looks – a little like bubblegum – and the cafe is just as ’grammable as its food. Picture a light-filled, industrial space dotted with hanging vines and blonde wood and you’re practically there.
Rocky road cake, Adelaide
Rocky road is an Australian invention, or so legend has it. Reputedly named after the hastily constructed tracks leading to the gold mines during Australia’s 19th century gold rush, the mix was invented as a means of using up chocolate that had melted on the voyage from Europe, and featured local nuts, seeds and whatever else was available. It must have been a hit with hungry miners, for Rocky Road remains popular to this day. At Adelaide’s 50SIXONE, the treat has been given an extra decadent makeover – the rocky road cake is a solid block of multicoloured marshmallows, whole Oreo biscuits, aerated chocolate pieces and pistachios. 50SIXONE is also the brains behind the OMG Snapchat That – a bright blue, bubblegum-flavoured thickshake topped with sweet treats, rainbow sour strips, and a giant lollipop.
The avocado flower bagel, Brisbane
Two of Instagram’s great loves – avocado on toast and rainbow bagels – have been fused at Queensland’s NYC Bagel Deli to create a snack that’s almost too pretty to eat. “There’s always a collective sigh at the table when we serve the avocado rose,” NYC Bagel Deli co-owner Eddie Tice says. The Feta and Avo Rose, as it’s known, is in essence a fairly simple treat: “It’s an open, toasted bagel with a base of crumbled Danish feta, layered with avocado, dukkah, fresh lime and edible flowers,” Tice says. The difference is the delicately sliced avocado, arranged like the petals of a rose: “You need a perfectly ripe avocado to get the right effect,” Tice says. He admits he was a little concerned about putting the treat on the menu. “They’re labour intensive. But people love them. And the rainbow bagel is created using natural colours, so it tastes just like a normal bagel.”
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