I planned to meet Mr Cake at his hotel (he was in Auckland for work during the week - a fact we sadly didn't know when we booked our flights, but c'est la vie...) at 8.30am and pick him up for breakfast. I'd asked some dedicated foodies for good spots for breakfast and Kokako was recommended and looked good to me.
My flight landed at 7.30 - and actually was a bit early - but as it turned out the rental car I'd booked took a bit longer to pick up than I'd hoped, and then of course I got confused in the traffic so I was a wee bit late getting to him, but got there in the end. He hopped in and I told him where we were headed. When we're somewhere we don't know we tend to use the GPS on our phones to find our way - iPhones are great for navigating unknown cities... Usually! So he entered the address and off we went. We're still not sure what went wrong - perhaps a mispelling or something - but it took us to totally the wrong place! By the time we had got to the wrong place (because that wasn't straightforward either!) it was too late to get to where we had planned to go, since Mr Cake had a meeting he had to be back for, and we didn't spy any promising looking cafes, so in the end I just dropped him off at his hotel with a muffin - we never made it to Kokako. :-(
My woes weren't over - without my navigator picking off the destinations on my foodie fun list was more difficult than I would have liked, and I was already behind schedule.
First on my list was Heart of Flavour, in Newmarket. I had seen someone raving about it on a website somewhere and it had stuck in my head, and they are a dessert-focussed place, which seemed like a good fit for me, even at 10am. ;-) I popped in and drooled over the lovely cakes, chocolates, and other treats. I would have loved to have gotten a cake but I knew there was no chance of one surviving the day in a hot rental car and then a flight to Christchurch, but I did get a selection of the scrummy looking chocolates.
Sadly, last night I thought a chocolate or two might be just the thing to satisfy a late-night sugar craving, and went digging around in my suitcase - only to realise that I don't have them, and in fact must have left them in the rental car! So doubtless whoever cleaned it got a nice surprise - nice, that is, if they got to them before they were melted into a gooey mess.
After Taste of Auckland we made a stop at Philippe's Chocolate en route to the airport. As well as chocolates they have French bread and pastries (mmm, almond croissant!) and a selection of lovely cakes and desserts. We chose four little desserts to share with Mr Cake's parents for supper.
After a reasonably painless plane ride we finally got to break out the goodies - kudos to Air NZ for letting me get on the plane with not only my handbag and giant laptop bag but also a big bag of goodies from Sabato and Taste of Auckland and a cake box from Philippe's - very precious cargo. ;-)
We got a chocolate mousse (in layers of white, milk and dark chocolate); mille feuille; tiramisu; and opera cake, which apparently I was too intent on eating to photograph. The mousse was light and tasty and was my pick - I do like the balance of flavours of different layers of mousse, so that you can try them separately or all together.
The mille feuille will not rate, I'm afraid, on the Ultimate Custard Square Hunt; the pastry was a little soggy, the custard was fairly bland (inoffensive but in no way making up for the other components) and the icing was very gluggy - sorry, Philippe, but we weren't in love with this.
The tiramisu was creamy and fluffy and definitely had the coffee going on - I think I prefer my tiramisu a bit heavier (i.e. not so much air beaten in) but I think this was pretty good all the same (and that my preference is not very authentic!).
The opera cake was a bit of a let down - I have made this a couple of times and perhaps expect too much, or have prejudiced my tastebuds. Anyway, it wasn't that it wasn't nice - but I found the sponge to be a bit too firm, and the ganache topping, though delicious, was so thick and dark that it fairly effectively obscured all the other flavours.
My recommendation, then, would be to go for the more desserty options at Philippe's - the pastries and chocolates did look great, though, so perhaps we should have gone with some of those.
Between these adventures and Taste of Auckland Friday was a great day, packed with delicious food - even if I did fail a little bit. ;-) If you have a quick break somewhere do you pack as much in as possible or take it easy and play by ear?
Heart of Flavour is located at 4 Roxburgh Street, Newmarket, Auckland, ph 09 520 1048.
Sabato is located at 57 Normanby Road, Mt Eden, Auckland, ph 09 630 8751, www.sabato.co.nz
Philippe's Chocolate is located at 293/295 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland, ph 09 376 1754, www.philippechocolate.co.nz