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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Pit -stop in Cessnock

bakery window in Cessnock
Bakery window in Cessnock

Being the happy city slicker that I am, it's not until I leave the confines of Sydney that I realise the speed and pace at which I take things for granted.

As we head up the main street of downtown Cessnock, it feels like everyone else is dawdling along at half-speed. And finally I start to see why country people think Sydneysiders are always brusque and in a hurry.

Grice's bakery
Grice's Bakery, Cessnock

We're on a mini-break to the Hunter Valley, and having set out from Sydney in the early morn, we've made a pit-stop at Cessnock for a much needed caffeine hit.

I'm on the hunt for a local bakery and we soon find Grice's Bakery, an old-fashioned storefront with whole cakes in the window, pies and sausage rolls in the pie warmer, and plenty of sweet treats on wire racks in the glass cabinet display.

vanilla slice
Vanilla slice $1.50

A vanilla slice, always an Aussie favourite, comes away with me, its baked custard filling encased by layers of pastry and topped with a sweet layer of candy pink icing. I've always loved the ones with passionfruit icing (with real passionfruit seeds!) on top, but there are none here today, alas.

raisin toast
Raisin toast

Across the road we head to Klewz Kafe for coffee. Geet has the raisin toast which is generously portioned although a little dry.


Our coffees arrive with petit fours of Tiny Teddies. Mine end up drowning after our waitress spills the foam all down the sides of the cup on her walk to our table, giggles and then places it in front of me wordlessly before disappearing back into the kitchen. We feel like hard-nosed city folk that we've even noticed.

Fifteen minutes later I'm rummaging in the local Father Riley's Op Shop - satiating a kitchen knick-knack fetish I've recently acquired. Not only do I find a silver clam shell tea stand in the "free" box (I'd bought one very similar for $4 only a few months before), but the darling volunteer at the register peers at my cake bar tin (one of those old ones that never rusts despite its many dings) and says "dearie me, there's no price on that one, I'd better give that one to you for free."

All this is added to a handful of free cookbooks (including a tome of English and Irish recipes), more silverware and assorted crockery, and we're back in the car on our way to our first vineyard in the Hunter Valley! Who said Cessnock didn't bring joy?

Father Riley's Op Shop
101 Vincent Street, Cessnock
Tel: +61 (02) 4991 4426

Grice's Quality Cakes and Pies
96 Vincent Street, Cessnock
Tel: +61 (02) 4990 1150

Klewz Kafe
Shop 1, 115 Vincent Street, Cessnock
Tel: +61 (02) 4991 2856

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Hunter Valley 2008/1: Maitland Gaol tour
Hunter Valley 2008/2: Morpeth Pie Man and Morpeth Sourdough
Hunter Valley 2008/3: Dinner at the Newcastle Travelodge Hotel
Hunter Valley 2008/4: Vineyards and cheese tasting

Hunter Valley 2007/1: Cessnock
Hunter Valley 2007/2: Vineyards, cheeseshops and an olive centre
Hunter Valley 2007/3: Lunch at Harrigan's Irish Pub
Hunter Valley 2007/4: A vineyard, cheeseshop and beer brewery
Hunter Valley 2007/5: Dinner at Chez Pok
6 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 2/06/2007 11:59:00 pm


  • At 2/07/2007 5:54 am, Blogger thisisnaive said…

    I feel really impatient when I leave London for the English countryside too. But I guess we have to slow down sometimes and appreciate the charm. Petit fours of Tiny Teddies are really kitsch!

  • At 2/07/2007 8:20 am, Blogger Kat said…

    Speaking of feeling like a jaded cityslicker, we went around Victoria last month and discovered Chinese restaurants that were actually closed. For two weeks in January. That was quite a shock, let me tell you.

  • At 2/07/2007 5:03 pm, Blogger Brooke - Little Miss Moi said…

    I grew up doing the drive from Brisbane to Sydney and vice versa as I've always lived in either town... I can't tell is Cessnock is a rather sophisticated country town, or if all the towns are like that and I just haven't stopped to look. The raisin toast did look yummy...

  • At 2/07/2007 5:18 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    my selection criteria for purchasing vanilla slices is that the filling needs to be whiter and creamier. I've never enjoyed the really yellow custardy ones, but to each her own, right!

  • At 2/07/2007 5:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i forgot to say, in New Zealand you can get bigger teddy gingery bears and they are great with a cup of tea.

  • At 2/09/2007 6:43 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So which vineyards did you 'do'? My personal faves are Peterson's (although I can't see how they can continue to call themselves a champagne house!) and Evans Family Estate. Hugh is a really charming gent and his wines are beyond superlatives. The boyf and I were there a fortnight ago, when Mr Evans was trés busy picking that morning. Still found time to guide us through his labour of love and even offering us a massive discount!


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