Style Melbourne

Melbourne Spaces: Il Fornaio

The word that comes immediately to mind when entering Il Fornaio is “bountiful”. Nothing provides more simple pleasure than being surrounded by piles of fresh produce – quinces, artichokes, chestnuts – and a seemingly never-ending font of Moscato. This is before even getting to the new reason to visit the bakery; recently instated chef Philippa Sibley and her wicked ways with the sweet stuff.

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Philippa is a woman who doesn’t mind suffering for her craft. Many chefs and bakers have to put up with a scald or three, yet showing off worked-in hands she also reveals “I’m allergic to flour”. On opening night she has been awake since 5am yet with a smile and a bloom in her hair she alternately relaxes into the throng of dessert lovers cramming the store, assists with plating up hundreds of sunny citrus tarts and guides her young son on how to decorate tiny chocolate cakes. It will be business as usual the day after so no time for catch up on beauty sleep. Though the bakery’s new owners from the St. Ali coffee group may be able to help with a caffeinated pep up.

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After sampling a variety of desserts that hark back to our collective childhood; pineapple syrup-drenched doughnuts, chocolate fondant with liquorice – the mini ice cream cones laced with strawberry chunks and topped with candied rose petals were my favourite. Sibley’s now infamous, Masterchef challenge dessert was also sinful. Officially dubbed the intimidating sounding ‘Caramel Parfait Glace with Salted Peanut Caramel and Milk Chocolate Mousse‘, I think ‘Snickers cake’ sums it up perfectly. The gooey, melting confection evokes the real thing in a sophisticated way, without being tooth-achingly sweet. For me, as a savoury tooth, a hint of salt is always welcome.

Time for some serious food envy;

il fornaio with philippa sibleyil fornaio with philippa sibleyil fornaio with philippa sibleyil fornaio with philippa sibleyil fornaio with philippa sibleyil fornaio with philippa sibleyil fornaio with philippa sibleyil fornaio with philippa sibley

Il Fornaio can be found at 2 Acland Street St Kilda.

One Thought on “Melbourne Spaces: Il Fornaio

  1. there are places like this that I miss living in the CBD.. i remember when that end of Acland St was just developed.. i think i used to drop by after work and pick up some sort of bread, possibly a fruit loaf or the like.. must re-visit soon. Thanks for the post.

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