If you love of hot cross buns, you’re in for a treat. Hootsens Bakery is a favourite for those who love buttery, fruit-rich and yeasty buns. It’s one of the few bakeries in Melbourne with a team of dedicated pastry chefs who make all products in-house.
Hootsens has been an operating bakery in the same spot since the 1940s.
As it becomes harder to find a decent sandwich or a bowl of seriously homemade soup, this institution provides humble sustenance as well as favourites like sour cherry danish, brezel (exactly like those found in Europe), bee sting (bienenstich) cake and bread and butter pudding.
Owner, Rosemary, has been in charge for nine years and is always thrilled when customers arrive for the first time and discover the homely feel and delicious offerings. Rosemary works alongside her brother, David, who is also her business partner and the head pastry chef.
Hootsens provides yet another distinctive treat on this fabulous shopping strip. As Rosemary says: “I love that each store is unique”, there is nothing like a strip shopping centre for its vibrancy and originality. These are features you just don’t find in large department stores.”
The chefs decide what to prepare based on their own intuition and customer requests, not the latest trends. After so many years, they have an instinctive sense of the types of goodies to load into the glass display cases.
If you know exactly what you want to buy, it is a good idea to order ahead. As the day progresses, many favourites sell out. Pastries, quiches and certain breads are extremely popular and one customer suggests the elusive cheese twists have usually disappeared by lunchtime. Croissants, says another customer with a thick French accent, “are the best out of Paris”. The coffee is also exceptional, according to this particular expert.
Rosemary says a visit at Christmas time is a must. The store turns into a whimsical wonderland of German biscuits known as lebkuchen, gingerbread houses and trees. “We pride ourselves on making our creations completely edible,” says Rosemary.
“In summer, our meringue tier is a sensational dessert. It’s spectacular and bound to impress your guests. We work really hard to provide our customers not only a quality product but one that creates memories when they have a special occasion. We have customers who are third generation coming in to purchase cakes and breads that evoke a walk down memory lane. Their grandparents had similar, if not the same, at family celebrations in the past.”
"One of the few bakeries in Melbourne with a team of dedicated pastry chefs."