If visions of cupcakes, brownies and caramel brownies have you longing for a bakery fix, then Floriditas Café & Restaurant is the place for you in Wellington, New Zealand. Floriditas is a legendary café located on Cuba Street, and Floriditas Bakery is around the corner in a former potter’s studio off Swan Lane.
Floriditas Cafe — Wellington, New Zealand restaurant
Courtesy of Zest Food Tours of New Zealand, I stepped into Floriditas Bakery for a behind-the-scenes experience with Julie Clark, one of three partners at Floriditas. From New Zealand, like many other natives, Julie left her hometown and garnered her experience “cooking from London to Africa.”
Owner Julie and her partners entered the Wellington dining scene in the late 1980’s when the concept of eating out hadn’t really taken off. Their concept was casual and debuted brunch at their original 28-seating restaurant which took off quickly.
Since then, they’ve expanded and are open 6:30 am to 10:30 pm every day. Wellington diners choose from three menus titled morning, noon and night, with food served continuously throughout. The menus are seasonal, simple and stylish – fitting to the surrounding Victorian-esque décor with pressed tin ceiling, bold wallpaper, and low lighting.
Menus change, in tune with the seasons and the ingredients available, and this is reflected in the book’s theme and structure. The dishes on the Floriditas menu are simple and stylish, with clean vibrant flavors that let the ingredients shine through. Recipes, just like food, should be shared – that’s why Julie, Marc and James opened Floriditas, and that’s why they wrote this book.
Overload of Fresh-Baked Goodness
Entering the commercial kitchen is an amazing overload of fresh-baked goodness, taking me back to my childhood and Saturday morning visits to the old-fashioned Iowa bakery in my hometown. Floriditas supplies bakery goods to their own café and restaurant, as well as Moore Wilson Fresh – – New Zealand’s version of Whole Foods specializing in gourmet foods.
Production at Floriditas Bakery begins at 4:30 am, and owner/chef Julie recalls a Kiwi saying “you’re a good housewife if your tins were full.” Floriditas Bakery takes pride in recreating popular local recipes handed down from generation – such as New Zealand Pavlova, a meringue based dessert that melts in your mouth.
Picture perfect and deliciously tempting pastries, cakes, and breads surround us in Floriditas. Afghan biscuits (made with cornflakes with no rising agents). Tarts, tarts, tarts – choose from Neenish tarts, walnut tarts. Bread: walnut raisin fruit bread, ciabetta and buttermilk baps.
We were then treated to a caramel brownie demo – while the fresh baked smells of a bakery filled the kitchen. Of course, we ended the behind-the-scenes experience with samplings of multiple tasty Floriditas desserts.
Floriditas Cafe & Restaurant and Floriditas Bakery add two more must-stops on your New Zealand vacation.
Original post published 11/29/2011