Our guide: best bakeries in Adelaide and South Australia

SA Tourism travel blog

1. La Madeleine, Norwood

It’s common wisdom that a proper French croissant is a hard thing to find outside France.

But La Madeleine may prove the exception to the rule.

The charming café bakery on The Strip in fashionable Norwood is seriously Francophile-central, with an exterior decorated with geranium pots and an interior dotted with the marble tables so classic in France.

Given it’s owned and the kitchen directed by French chef Guillaume Blanc, it’s hardly surprising.

But his homage to his homeland is not just window dressing. Blanc trained at the famous LeNotre school in Paris.

This is a place for rich, aromatic coffee, and the classic plain flaky croissant done just right.

But then it takes it into new territory, such as a raspberry and pistachio filled, version – that might give Blanc’s countrymen the heebie-jeebies. But locals adore them.

The kitchen rolls out a rainbow of finely beautiful pastries and desserts.

But of course, taste is paramount and the finest ingredients see to it that these perfectly formed treats pop in that department.

La Madeleine also does gluten free desserts and treats, baguettes and crepes.

2. The Rolling Pin Bakery and Patisserie, Magill

South Australian brothers James and Phillip Donnelly opened Rolling Pin Bakery and Patisserie in Magill in 2013.

The business has been so successful, they’ve opened two more branches.

They’re at the crest of the wave of Adelaide’s young sweets-loving foodies, who have been inspired by South Australia’s ready availability of top quality produce to marry it with French culinary tradition.

The Donnellys are both under 25, with Phillip Donnelly only finishing his apprenticeship two weeks before they opened their original shop.

But it was an apprenticeship that included a period in France, when he fell in love with the patisserie concept. It wasn’t long before Adelaide fell in love with he and his brother’s take on it.

Alongside striving to deliver a high quality coffee offering, The Rolling Pin revels in sweet classics such as a Belgian chocolate brownie and citron tart.

But the Donnellys like to put their spin on things too: a chocolate éclair becomes a Turkish delight éclair, for instance.

A chocolate tart is finished with house-made golden syrup and honeycomb. The citron tart gets a chocolate crust and South Australian blood orange curd filling.

As for the take home stuff, Adelaide’s dinner party hosts can wow guests with the likes of an “8-inch pistachio crème mousse with stewed cinnamon apple and macaron butter pastry tart.”

3. Stirling Cellars and Patisserie, Stirling

Taking the concept of ‘mixed business’ into stylish territory, the Stirling Cellars & Patisserie in the Adelaide Hills has stunning interior design of blond wood, chunky trestles, white stools, glossy subway tiles, a marble bar and glamorous oversized hurricane lamp pendants.

But there’s plenty of action to go with it at this café and bottle shop which won Best Retail Outlet at the South Australian AHA awards for 2012.

The attention to detail is echoed in the coffee. The house blend is created specifically for the patisserie by 5 Senses, or aficionados can choose from a specialty range sourced from boutique roasters Proud Mary and Small Batch.

The pastries, all made in house, are high quality classics alongside baguettes and pies. The owners say all is “Made the old-fashioned way – with hands and heart.”

The bottle shop component of this unique space is not to be missed, though. It houses a big range of local, international and Adelaide Hills wines and there’s often a tasting on, hosted by a local winemaker.

4. Clare Rise Bakery, Clare

Seeing a need in Clare for a bakery, former wine industry professionals Chris and Amanda Harris opened Clare Rise Bakery in 2013.

It was a return to his roots for Chris, who trained under a German baker as a very young man.

It was also a return for the 1895 stone property that houses their enterprise; the hand engraved foundation stone reveals it was built by another baker, all those years ago.

Their six-days-a-week offering is a mix of the classic and experimental, using as much local produce as much as they can.

Lucky for them, Australia’s only producer of stone milled durum flour, Pangkarra, is nearby in the Clare Valley.

It’s made from 100 per cent durum wheat from the family farm and the stone milling means it retains the whole grain, making it a healthier food with a great taste and texture.

Chris and Amanda combine it with local seasonal fruits including quandongs, figs and rhubarb to produce goods that are not only in demand on their beautiful shop verandah with district views, but also for restaurants and cafes elsewhere.

5. Home Grain Bakery, Aldinga

Baking everything from scratch from local ingredients and using recipes “that would make your grandmother proud”, the Fleurieu Peninsula’s Home Grown Bakery is the product of another young couple’s vision.

Toff and Cara West met at Flinders University and had a dream of owning a café. In 2011, when they spied the historic mid-1800s general store for sale in the beautiful beachside town of Aldinga, they set about renovating it and turning it into a bakery.

That was in 2011, and so successful has it been, they’ve opened another brand at McLaren Flat.

Their bakers make everything fresh daily and do a roaring trade in pies, from an egg and bacon brekkie pie, to a classic minced beef and a tuna mornay version.

House doughnuts lead the pack of classic Australian sweet treats such as vanilla slices, scones, muffins chocolate eclairs, finger buns, brownies, cheesecakes and croissants.

The Wests also bake proudly handcrafted bread that sees locals going out of their way to pick up a loaf.

6. Queen of Tarts, Adelaide

In a street filled with great coffee and café options you probably can’t go past Queen of Tarts on Hutt Street. Yes there’s great coffee but there’s also wonderfully attentive service as well.

More of a café than a straight bakery, Queen of Tarts delivers an exquisite range of savoury and sweet treats ranging from wonderful pies and quiches to delectable lemon tarts and cannoli. A highlight is a baked chocolate tartlet of lip-schmacking goodness.

A quirky interior matched with an eclectic mix of disco and euro-house tunes makes it one café experience you won’t find anywhere else. What’s more: everything is cooked on-site. Testament to the winning formula is the Queen has been standing now for over 30 years.

7. Mulots, Hyde Park

Andre Guerinet and wife Annette are a couple of the originals when it comes to Adelaide’s love of all things French at the moment. They’ve been turning out French savoury and sweet treats since 1985 at this rather quaint bakery in Hyde Park.

Yes the coffee is good but it’s the patisseries items are what makes Mulots a must visit. Try French specialties on the savoury side such as the potato and onion filled Pate Berrichon or maybe a French hot dog (flaky pastry with a Vienna Sausage.

On the sweet side of things, order a croquembouche for a family celebration or sit in the café with freshly baked Madeleines, macarons or mango mousse or lime tart over summer. Truly delicious.

Mulots’ also serves a selection of imported French soft drinks for those keen to indulge their inner Francophile to the fullest. And for those wanting to go even further, Andre offers courses throughout the year where he shares some of his knowledge with eager home cooks.


/Courtesy of SA Tourism. View in full here.