Pastry: Fresh, crisp and dark brown, crumbly and messy to eat 8.5/10
Presentation: Though battered in the bag, proportially sound 7.5/10
Value for money: $3.50 - Medium / large portion and a good return 9/10
Overall score: 8/10
Filling: Light, fluffy and very serviceable whipped custard 7.5/10
Pastry: Fresh, crisp and dark brown, crumbly and messy to eat 8.5/10
Presentation: Though battered in the bag, proportially sound 7.5/10
Value for money: $3.50 - Medium / large portion and a good return 9/10
Overall score: 8/10
In a new pocket of Williamstown I had never ventured before, I stumbled upon this Aussie-Vietnamese bakery selling some pretty awesome looking vanilla slices. Large in size and hefty in thick white icing I opted for the more sophisticated French variety sat next door. With a clear bright red layer of jam inside I was eager to see what I’d got when I opened the bag. Sadly she didn’t fair too well in her short trip from counter to car and had lost the majority of the icing sugar and neatness from the display cabinet. Nevertheless, I chowed down outside of my car (thankfully) and enjoyed what I tasted, the pastry was excellent; baked fresh on a Sunday and dropping shards all over the floor made me grateful for not being sat in the car still. The filling was pleasently creamy, light and with a hint of vanilla. The jam in truth wasn’t required in this ensemble and I felt it slightly overpowering in an already sweet offering. It tasted like a cheap strawberry jam, not an upmarket, sophisticated preserve like I’m used to! A great little find.
Filling: Tasteless, piped ‘custard’ 2/10
Pastry: Sublime, biscuity and puffed 10/10
Presentation: Authentically Italian, somewhat rustic 6/10
Value for money: $2.50 - Small portion, a tale of two extremes 5/10
Overall score: 5.75/10
With a name like Pastry Paradise I was slightly sceptical of what I might find here in the weird and wonderful world of custard based pastries. Nevertheless I saw what I came for (the Italian Vanilla Slice - Milfolglie) in their rather eye catching window display and headed swiftly in. Taking out a half sized square shaped portion for $2.50, I headed back to the car and devoured. Needing to half the portion by departing the layers I held mini portions in my hand and instantly noticed the biscuit like crunch of the pastry. It’s uncommon to get pastry this good in most bakeries, so I really savoured this. The butter content must have been high as it was so crisp, puffed and golden. Truly wonderful! Quite reversely, the poor excuse for custard left me questioning where it all went wrong. Had this been a rich, eggy, vanilla custard adhering the heavenly layers of flaked goodness together the outcome would have been quite different. Sadly, this was not the case.
Filling: Thick, stodgy and lacking flavour 5/10
Pastry: Nicely flaked layers but not fresh and crunchy 4/10
Presentation: Enticing but deceptive 7.5/10
Value for money: $3.50 - Medium portion but disappointing overall 5/10
Overall score: 5.4/10
The last time I drove up Derby Street six months or so ago, the Hot Bread Bakery had disappeared. Miraculously, this time round it’s reopened with a nice new shop refit and name. I was pretty optimistic when I saw the vanilla slices in the cabinet; tall in stature, flaky brown layers of pastry, a healthy dusting of icing sugar and a rich, eggy looking custard.
My optimism was soon met with the reality that looks can indeed be deceiving. A harsh truth, that I have experienced innumerable times. The pastry might well have been a dark brown colour and flaking all over the place, but fresh it was not. Potentially a day old and beginning to go soft, it was a real let down. The custard too proved disappointing, with a severe lack of creaminess, vanilla content and fluffiness. Instead it was quite dense, stodgy and slightly powdery in taste. A real shame, as proportionally the ratios were excellent and priced at what I thought was reasonable for the sized portion (had it been fresh!)
Filling: Light and airy custard 6/10
Pastry: Well puffed but slightly under baked 5/10
Presentation: Tri-layer, tall and generous proportions 7/10
Value for money: $4.30 - Medium/large portion but not memorable 6/10
Overall score: 6/10
For Snot Blog consumption today I visited and left with a Melissa Cakes tri-layer vanilla slice. Impressed with the size, proportions and cost of this one, I unwrapped the thin foil and attempted a cut with a takeaway fork....with no luck. I was met with some resistance, but the pastry was quite puffed and not tightly baked. Instead I cut through the middle and ate the thing as two mini vanilla slices (one with the sugar on top). The pastry as mentioned was not the flakiest, I put this down to the lack of butter in the mix and the bake time in the oven. The custard was satisfactory; light, airy, fresh and with some vanilla, though not anything out of the ordinary. Had this come as a two layer slice I might not have been as forthcoming with my appraisal, but at least Melissa’s gives you a fair chunk of product for your money.
Filling: Thick, stodgy and creamy, lacking flavour 6/10
Pastry: Thin, but soft and stale 3/10
Presentation: Thick, yellow tinted icing, thick rectangular slab 7/10
Value for money: $4 - Medium portion size, not fresh 6/10
Overall score: 5.5/10
A brand new shopping village called Warrally has sprung up on the outskirts of Barwon Heads since the last time I went for a swim there a good few years ago. Conveniently, heading there again I pulled in and grabbed lunch before I got all sandy on the beach. With only a few cafes to choose from, I headed into Sullies Kiosk and took out what appeared to be quite an interesting vanilla slice. I wasn’t sure at first if they baked their cakes, but I’d guess they use a supplier. The slice had real promise, with visible vanilla bean speckles dotted throughout the custard. The filling was creamy and quite heavy, but sadly lacking a vanilla flavour, even with the clear vanilla content. The pastry was at least a day old and soft. It flexed in my grip and made the custard flop quite precariously out the sides. If less dense I would have been wearing quite a lot of it on my shirt. The icing had a slight yellow tint, definitely not white. It’s flavour resesmbling white chocolate and again, creamy and sweet. In fact, the icing is what came through the most with each mouthful. Potentially this should be called a white chocolate vanilla slice. I’d be keen to try another one when freshly baked and delivered to the premises.
Filling: Sweet, sugary whipped cream 4/10
Pastry: Thin but dense sheets, no crispness and lacking overall 2/10
Presentation: Patterned icing, hidden jam layer, three layers of pastry 6/10
Value for money: £1.80 ($2.70) - Halved and shared and still too much sugar 2.5/10
Overall score: 3.6/10
My final slice whilst in Blighty and not a great end to the trip. Flaky J and I halved the offering and reflected.
It was clear the filing was whipped cream, but what I was not expecting was the heavy dose of additional sugar thrown into the mix. To make matters worse, the jam and fondant icing just made the whole thing a diabetic’s worst nightmare. The pastry was pretty lacklustre and because there were three layers of the stuff it made biting through quite a tricky and messy exploit. Similar other slices I’ve tasted recently, there is a severe lack of quality in some of these puffed or flaked efforts. The raspberry jam was OK but unnecessary with this much sugar. I’m pleased we shared this one as I’m afraid I would have had to pass.
Flaky J’s assessment - “A sugar delivery vehicle. In the same way a good vanilla slice is made with love and comes to life in your mouth this tasted lifeless, dead and bereft of any spark of joy or professional pride. Their pasties are great though.”
Filling: Frozen custard - more like icy milk, flavourless 2/10
Pastry: Thick, robust and biscuity taste 2/10
Presentation: Patterned icing, proportionally poor 3/10
Value for money: £1.60 ($2.70) for four - Small portions, hardly a vanilla slice 2.5/10
Overall score: 2.9/10
Attempt 1 - Frozen slices
With low expectations for the outcome of these frozen vanillas, myself and Flaky J (back on the scene over the festive break) sampled the goods. Noticeable from the outset was the short, squat appearance of each slice, with thick pastry in relation to the supposed custard filling. Left to defrost for the recommended 45 minutes, I bit through and felt sensitivity of my teeth with the ice cold middle. The pastry was obviously concocted to avoid sogginess from the freezing and thawing out process and had the consistency of tough bread and a taste that resembled digestive biscuits - but not in a good way. The icing was too thin to add impact and started running when picked up, so clearly doesn’t like being frozen. Altogether, I was right not to have high expeditions.
Flaky J’s assessment - Flaky J was too upset to comment.
Filling: Creamy, thick but dull custard 4/10
Pastry: Satisfactory thickness but soggy and unhelpful 3/10
Presentation: Half decent, glossy white icing, nicely proportioned 6.5/10
Value for money: £1.76 ($2.80) for four - Small but adequate portions, messy to eat (requires wet wipes) 6/10
Overall score: 4.9/10
Attempt 2- Fresh custard slices
So attempt 2 saw me and Flaky J take out a four pack of Asda’s fresh custard slices. Though technically not a vanilla slice, it’s the same thing in most instances. An instant improvement from the disastrous frozen attempt, these boys contained smooth, thick, creamy custard (though somewhat flavourless) and the pastry could be easily consumed without chipping a tooth. Sadly the pastry was soggy, but at least it was pastry. The real highlight was the soft, white icing that heat formed on my fingertips and required a good lick to remove.
Flaky J’s assessment - “Good fundamentals for a 44p slice. Wish there was more flavour in the custard, vanilla flavouring was subtle. If I ever end up on benefits this may be my slice of choice.”
Filling: Creamy, but flavourless custard 4.5/10
Pastry: Thin, soggy, uninteresting layers 2/10
Presentation: Uniformed, neat and tidy, decorative yellow patterned icing 6.5/10
Value for money: £1.30 ($2.30) for two - Small portions, passable, not great 5/10
Overall score: 5.5/10
Shopping for groceries in nearby Bexhill-On-Sea, I stumbled upon Tesco Supermarket selling a custard slice. Naturally, I was game to give them a go at an affordable double pack costing just £1.30. I can compare this to a pre-packed Coles equivalent, with a prediction of soggy pastry and sticky icing prior to unwrapping the goods. Quite accurately, the whole slice had a slight wobble to it, due to to the soggy layers of pastry and partially set custard filling. Upon first bite I was quite happy to taste a creamy, not overly sweet custard. Though lacking vanilla content and a loose texture, the actual makeup of the filling was OK. The pastry was thin, but far from crunchy. It lacked flavour and distinction but aided the transportation of the custard suitably. The icing was indeed sticky and performed quite well. Two for the price of one is good value I guess, but I’d rather have a pre-packed Coles version when back in Oz.
Filling: Whipped confectioners cream 2/10
Pastry: Robust and dry 2/10
Presentation: Not bad overall, decorative icing 6/10
Value for money: £0.95 ($1.70) - Small portion, messy eat, not great overall 3.5/10
Overall score: 3.3/10
Back in the motherland and on the South East Coast for the festive period, I immediately hit up the local Oak Bakery. Selling a vanilla slice for less than a pound, I took this lighter than air assembly to a nearby car park with a cracking seaside view. Blowing an absolute hooley outside, I braved the gale force wind and chomped on the slice outside of the car. Thankfully so, as after the first bite, I lost a third of the filling, with my trousers wearing some and the rest on the ground in a sorry heap. The cause was rigid, unforgiving pastry lacking any flake or richness. It squeezed the air like whipped cream filling out with ease. Oddly enough, the whole slice tasted very little of any flavour worth mentioning. I ate what could be salvaged, but left feeling saddened by the mess on my trousers mostly.
Filling: Solidified, starchy, flavourless custard 2/10
Pastry: Thick, cumbersome layers of soft pastry 2/10
Presentation: Bad proportions, poorly presented, even with the icing sugar 1/10
Value for money: $4 - Small portion (thankfully), poorly made and nearly a throwaway job 1.5/10
Overall score: 1.6/10
Regulars to the Blog, or even those with a hint of nous might have predicted the outcome of this review based on the photo below. I have to admit that the vanilla slice didn’t look quite as bad when it was on display in the bakery, but sadly lost its icing sugar during transit home. Nonetheless, proportionally this slice is poor, with a heavy pastry to filling ratio. Not only that, the custard itself was more gelatinous than necessary, slightly crusty and cracked round the edges and lacking notable flavour. The thick layers of pastry were not tightly baked or crunchy, more of a softened texture that really didn’t offer much to the slice. Selling at $4 there is little value for money here; poor ingredients, execution and fulfilment. Due to its small size I did eat the slice, but had it been bigger it would have definitely been a throwaway job.
Filling: The only decent part - fluffy, creamy and vanilla flavoured 7.5/10
Pastry: Fatty, clumped, heavy layers 2/10
Presentation: A dogs dinner, very poorly presented 3/10
Value for money: $4 - Average portion size, pastry not worth eating 4/10
Overall score: 4.15/10
I was quite excited heading to Caulfield, with a planned pit stop in a local Danish-inspired bakery. Upon receiving my item I was quite surprised to see the state of it within the box. Looking like it had fallen off a plate and been picked up again, the custard was smooshed out the side, the icing sugar had partially disappeared and what lay beneath looked decidedly translucent. Upon my first bite, I was immediately faced with what felt like a slab of thick, tough and fatty pastry, with no crunch whatsoever. After a few bites, the custard had escaped from the other side, so I pretty much just ate the custard and left the rest for the bin. The custard itself was OK; light, fluffy, creamy and with a taste like vanilla ice cream I used to get in a soft serve back home. All of their reviews read positively, so hopefully their other items are better than this!
Filling: Fluffy, creamy vanilla custard 9/10
Pastry: Beautifully Baker, flaky layers 9/10
Presentation: Not bad, slight pastry loss and thick pink tinged fondant icing 7/10
Value for money: $4 - Large portion size, hellish filling 9/10
Overall score: 8.75/10
After a solid morning of rain, there was no sign of it letting up, so I decided to stop in Montmorency village to grab a sandwich. I also couldn’t resist one of their homemade vanilla slices, on display as a slab and looking far too good to ignore. Having already eaten the monster from Brent’s Patisserie in Eltham earlier in the morning, this really was just gluttony. I took the slice home where I continued to unwrap and pull this similar sized specimen apart.
Much like the slice from Eltham, the filling was huge and the icing almost 3mm thick, but with a hint of pink (purely aesthetic I later found out). The pastry was possibly better than my first slice of the day, even more flake and a tad darker in colour. It’s a shame I had to lose some from avoiding the sugary fondant towards the end, as it became just a little too overbearing. The custard was similar in taste and texture to Brent’s, but potentially slightly heavier and with less vanilla content - but still extremely good by most people’s standards.
What a shame the icing brought this slice down, a third of the thickness would have sufficed and if the pink had been a hint of strawberry or raspberry it could have been quite interesting. Well worth a stop if you’re in the area, and the retro value of the old Milkbar is also worth mentioning.
Filling: Light, fluffy, exceptionally creamy vanilla custard 9.5/10
Pastry: Wafer thin, super crunchy layers 8.5/10
Presentation: Excellent ratio of custard to pastry, thick fondant icing 8/10
Value for money: $3.80 - Larger than average portion size, exceptional value 10/10
Overall score: 9/10
Regular readers of this blog will know that I have an issue with bakeries using the word ‘patisserie’. However, this time round Brent is well entitled to use such a term. My vanilla slice was outstanding. Selling at a very reasonable $3.80 it was proportioned for the fuller gentlemen and was quite an effort to complete. Nevertheless, I endeavoured and my moustache took a hammering, reserving some custard for snacking later on.
The custard was delightful. A really rich, creamy and whipped texture, not overly sweet and packed full of vanilla. There was a mound of it too, hard to contain once I got under way and the potential to make a real mess. The pastry was deceptively crunchy, baked in thin, compacted layers and gave the slice a great platform to pick up and eat freestyle. One only slight negative was the thickness of the icing; though in actual fact the sweetness offset the richness and creaminess of the custard quite well.
A real triumph in the North.
Filling: Thick, strong vanilla flavoured custard 7/10
Pastry: Pale, thin compacted layers, good crunch 7/10
Presentation: Not the best looker, odd proportions and heavily iced 5/10
Value for money: $4.50 - Gargantuan portion size, two servings 8/10
Overall score: 7/10
Selling at $4.50 this whopper of a vanilla slice could have been a catastrophic waste of money or a moment of magic. Well actually, it was neither...let me explain.
Undeniably huge in size, weight and calories, the slice needed a photo next to a prop (my phone), just to show the true scale. I wasn’t optimistic about how good it would be; in truth the pastry looked under baked and potentially soggy, the custard looked a bit gelatinous and pale and the icing somewhat thickly spread and lacking a tempting gloss. Not to mention, I’ve had a few doozies from Vietnamese bakeries in my time,
In cutting the slice on its side a welcoming resistance and crunching sound made me aware of a half decent pastry lurking inside. Whilst only a pale colour, the layers were tightly baked and fresh, allowing a good crunch and flake. The custard too was better than expected; a thick, creamy, smooth texture with only a hint of gelatin and packed with vanilla flavour. Admittedly the icing was a bit cumbersome, thick and hard to break through, but it didn’t detract from an otherwise decent effort.
It was only after four or five mouthfuls that I reached half way and stopped. Morning tea sorted for the next day, all for the handsome price of $4.50. Not bad.
Filling: Vanilla custard with rather nice chocolate mousse 8/10
Pastry: Disappointingly soft, not up to standard 3/10
Presentation: Not refined, somewhat messy, coffee icing 4/10
Value for money: $4.80 - Average portion size, not great 5/10
Overall score: 5/10
It’s rare that I drive through Woodend and don’t stop at Bourkies. In five years doing the Blog, the mocha vanilla slice has always eluded me. I’ve smashed all of their other varieties (vanilla, strawberry, passionfruit, raspberry fusion), all with excellent attributes. In finally taking out the mocha slice, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. I’m not sure if Bourkies are using different pastry, or they were just having an off day, but the two sheets in this offering were lacklustre, soggy and barely baked. The chocolate mousse was really quite tasty; airy, sweet and a rich chocolate flavour. It worked well with the sweet, but still slightly bitter coffee icing, producing the mocha flavour as advertised. Hidden in the ensemble was still their traditional vanilla custard that in truth got lost in flavour, but was still very welcome. I feel that $4.80 is too steep for this ‘artisan’ variety and coupled with the poor pastry today, it really should have been more memorable for the right reasons.
Filling: Smooth, creamy custard 6.5/10
Pastry: Pale and lacking bite 4/10
Presentation: Average, overly thick white fondant icing 5/10
Value for money: $4.20 - Average portion size, easily forgettable 5.5/10
Overall score: 5.25/10
Romsey Hot Bread Bakery was my pit stop while driving to Edgar’s Mission. I took out a half decent looking vanilla slice, though dubiously pale looking pastry could have gone either way. When handled, I immediately felt the somewhat soft pastry, though I left my judgement for the bite and taste tests. The pastry was not awful, though it was a million miles from being buttery and flaky. It handled sufficiently to allow large bites of all layers, with a heavy icing being very overbearing on top. The custard was actually nice; milky, creamy and velvety smooth in texture, with a hint of vanilla essence. A decent enough effort, but not as good as others I’ve tasted in the Macedon Ranges.
Filling: Standard bakers custard and fresh whipped cream 6.5/10
Pastry: Disappointingly soft, no flake or crunch 4/10
Presentation: Neatly assembled half and half filling, dodgy brown icing 6/10
Value for money: $4 - Average portion size, not top quality 5.5/10
Overall score: 5.5/10
With not being from the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, I found Kerrie Road Bakery Cafe to have the best reviews in the immediate area I was visiting, so took a punt on a cheeky vanilla slice. I opted for the lesser seen chocolate iced French vanilla variety as the size disparity between itself and its Aussie cousin was notable. With the additional layer of whipped cream and chocolate icing as an alternative to traditional, the two changes made huge differences to the overall outcome. The cream was a bonus to an otherwise pretty average custard underneath. Though a nice smooth texture, the custard itself had little flavour to speak of. The pastry looked excellent from it’s side profile; delicately thin, tight layers of mid brown pastry. It was a complete surprise that the pastry had no crunch whatsoever when cut with a knife. It delivered no resistance to the knife; by no means soggy, but soft being in the optimum word. And that chocolate icing? Rubbish! Not a rich, indulgent chocolate taste, but a cheap cocoa aftertaste instead.
Filling: Subtle vanilla flavoured custard 6/10
Pastry: Thankfully dark and flaky, but too much of it 9/10
Presentation: Triple layer, crumbly pastry everywhere, bit of a mess 5/10
Value for money: $6.50 - Huge portion, filling but greatly overpriced 6/10
Overall score: 6.5/10
Sneakily hiding in a quiet back street of Moonee Ponds lurks an Artisan Bakery, only today discovered. With a wallet full of cash I inspected the vanilla slice and was undecided about the outcome. The pastry looked extremely flaky, but I wasn’t certain it was fresh. At a colossal $6.50, I’m pleased to inform that the portion was in keeping with the price tag. Nevertheless, I took the beast home and sat it down with a knife in hand. Thankfully, when turned on to its side, with a sharp blade resting on the pastry, resistance was immediately felt and my anxiety subsided. The pastry in fact was excellent; super rich, salty, baked dark brown and a very worthy addition to the slice. The custard was somewhat average in comparison. With notably less custard to pastry, it almost got lost between the dominant layers of the good stuff. There was undoubtedly a hint of vanilla, but little else. Artisan in name, Artisan in price, but not really Artisan in vanilla slices.
Filling: Deliciously sweet, creamy vanilla custard 9/10
Pastry: Thin with excellent biscuity crunch 9/10
Presentation: Run of the mill , square shaped with glossy white icing 7.5/10
Value for money: $4.60 - Medium portion, fresh and satisfying 8/10
Overall score: 8.4/10
With Horsham being a good half way pit stop between Adelaide and Melbourne, I fancied a late afternoon vanilla slice after the somewhat disappointing effort from Keith earlier in the day, Conways popped up on Google as having an excellent slice, so I drove through the town in search of greatness, I was not disappointed either. The slice sells for $4.60, which is slightly higher than most country towns selling similar sized and presented products. It’s presentation is typically Victorian, having now seen many insane varieties in neighbouring states. It was refreshing to have a flaky, crispy crunch from each bite. The delicately thin layers proved sturdy, functional and easy to chow down on. The custard too was very well constructed; sweet, creamy, vanilla flavoured and a nice, smooth, sticky viscosity. The icing was thin, simple and offset the pastry well, while not leaving sticky finger prints for my efforts. Overall a very good vanilla slice, potentially just a little overpriced.
Filling: Heavily set, discoloured edges but oddly nice 7.5/10
Pastry: Woefully inadequate 0.5/10
Presentation: Homemade, lacking style 3/10
Value for money: $5.50 - Medium portion, stale and parts inedible 2/10
Overall score: 3.25/10
Heading back to Melbourne, the 2 year old needed a park break to let off some steam. We pulled into Keith and sat in the sun whilst Mrs B went to a nearby cafe. She returned with a focaccia for me and a “quite good” looking vanilla slice according to her. Good is not how I would describe its aesthetics; instantly noticeable was the discoloured custard edge, the pale and wet looking pastry sheets and the light, patchy dusting of icing sugar on top.
Nevertheless, always grateful, I used my wooden cutlery to take it apart and taste each element. One 5 cent piece of pastry is all I needed to know that I wouldn’t eat any more. Tasting exactly how it looks, it’s wet, oily, soft texture put me right off. Instead I chose to eat the custard from between the two limp layers. The custard was not a good texture either; set with gelatine and resembling more of a custard jelly. It was however, surprisingly tasty with notable vanilla bean speckles running through. It was creamy and sweet and although somewhat confusing in texture I enjoyed the flavour.
Excellent park in Keith by the way. The train track ride on was so much fun for the 2 year old and the rest of the family!
Filling: Lots of fresh, creamy custard 7.5/10
Pastry: White as a ghost and no crunch 3/10
Presentation: Rudimentary, but good proportion of custard 7/10
Value for money: $4.60 - Large portion, fresh but no mind blowing 6/10
Overall score: 5.9/10
Many in this neck of the woods consider Dulwich to have the best vanilla slices. I also read that they smashed the world record in 2016 for the biggest vanilla slice, weighing in at over 800kg. With most place shut due to the Labour Day public holiday, Dulwich remained open and were ideal candidates for a visit en route to the zoo.
My first thoughts were that that the slice could swing either way. Though large and proportionally good, the pastry looked rather anemic and the icing potentially too thick. My suspicions rang true when picking up the beast for the first time, I immediately felt a soft and disappointingly pale pastry. It allowed for pick up, but little else. It lacked crunch and really should have been better for a bakery chain with a big rep. The custard was pretty good; sweet, creamy and lots of it. I admit that I did drop some on the floor with a few messy bites. The icing was excellent to end on a positive. Though quite thick, it was super melty and required some a serious wipes to remove from each holding finger.
Filling: Super creamy, thickened vanilla custard 8/10
Pastry: Surprisingly crisp and wafer like 8/10
Presentation: Accomplished and proportionally sound 8.5/10
Value for money: $4.60- Massive portion, fresh, sweet and filling 10/10
Overall score: 8.6/10
What more could you want from a visit to Hahndorf? Spring sunshine, German themed everything and Otto’s bakery selling “award winning” vanilla slices the size of your head. I was happy to oblige with my portion and strolled happily down the picturesque high street, chomping away until nothing remained. At only $4.60 for a very generous sized piece, I wasn’t anticipating the quality of the ingredients being so good if I’m honest.
Although the pastry was quite puffed and a mid-baked light brown colour, it was wafer like; crunchy and crisp. It made picking up the slice very straight forward and I’m happy to report that I had no spills whatsoever during my stroll. The custard was beautifully soft, creamy and full of vanilla. It threatened to dollop out the sides with each bite, but I kept my wits about me to ensure it all ended up in my belly rather than the pavement. Finally, the icing; potentially too thick and overbearing, but actually a good soft texture and the chocolate swirls were what I was left with as a pleasant aftertaste.
German sausage and hock platter for dinner too at the Hahndorf Hotel! Great day out.
Filling: Half decent custard and bitter blueberry jam 8/10
Pastry: Impossibly thick and hard 1/10
Presentation: Certainly hand crafted and memorable 7.5/10
Value for money: $5- Large portion but not the best components 5/10
Overall score: 5.4/10
When I stumbled upon Goolwa Bakery, neatly tucked in a laneway off the main shopping strip of upmarket Stirling I got excited at what might be on offer. I was really pleased to see slabs of vanilla slices for sale, one with an unusual helping of thick blueberry jam. Taken back by the blueberry, I failed to really consider the white topping. It was only when I paid my five dollars and proceeded to unwrap the monster that I could see it for what it truly was...coconut and marshmallow.
Thankfully I took a fork with me, because any attempt of lifting this thing in the air would have ended in loss of filling, fallen pastry sheets and impossible blueberry stains on my jumper that Mrs B would have struggled to remove. The first puncture of the fork revealed a metal like resistance of the pastry. It refused to cut, tear, breakdown and enter the mix with all the other layers. Therefore it was redundant. I simply used it’s stable surface to scoop the rather nice vanilla custard and sticky, bitter blueberry jam into my mouth as astonished passers by looked on. Notably, the top later also shared the same fate, and quite honestly a coconut element to this was just over the top anyway.
Filling: Woeful pudding mix 2 /10
Pastry: Almost non-existent soggy layers 0.5/10
Presentation: Out of proportion, lacking finesse and love 2/10
Value for money: $3.90 - Small portion (thankfully) but mostly a throwaway job 2/10
Overall score: 1.6/10
Today I was duped. Duped big time. What looked to be a reasonable offering in a busy Bacchus Marsh Bakery, turned out to be a thing of vanilla slice nightmares. When unwrapping the goods, my first headache started when the bag had been welded shut by tacky icing, causing a series of pastry delaminations and any chance of picking up the slice left in the bag. Due to the suspect pastry layers the slice proved too much hassle to consume and was eventually thrown away. Soggy, white pastry and pretty awful pudding mix filling really is not worth the price tag of $4.20. Neither is the claim of ‘French style pastries’ on their window. The whole thing is confused and a real let down.
Filling: Seriously bad, slimey, flavourless ‘custard’ 0.5/10
Pastry: Pathetic, blonde layers, not up to task 1/10
Presentation: Half sized portion, somewhat unrefined 2/10
Value for money: $3.30 - Small portion, fresh but disasterous 2/10
Overall score: 1.4/10
Port Fairy served two purposes in my recent drive across the state - a toilet stop and a bakery endorsed by State Premier Daniel Andrews. Now, Daniel clearly didn’t have one of their vanilla slices, or if he did he has exceptionally low standards of his custard based pastries. Selling a huge $6 slab or half sized portion for $3.30 I opted for the more sensibly sized offering. Given the outcome of my rating, I’m satisfied this was the best option all round!
Firstly three layers of blonde, puffed pastry propped up the sloppy and slimey yellow tasteless filling. Custard would be a bold statement; it really beared little resemblance to custard whatsoever and had little distinguishing features. Daniel might be able to shed some light on the ingredients to the filling, as I could not.
A thick dusting of icing sugar was not enough to conceal the poor quality of the components underneath. With last year’s disappointment at a nearby cafe, Cobbs Bakery selling dodgy looking vanillas and now this, perhaps I might only use the toilet when in town next time.
This is the Snot Blog.
A journal of vanilla slice hunting, consuming and reviewing. Enjoy the posts, as well as my other pages.
Please use the category sections listed below. If you suggest it, I've probably already been there!
Feel free to get in touch by using the contact tab.
SNOT BLOCK & ROLL