One thing Mum always taught me was to have a number of staples in the pantry or fridge just in case you don’t have anything to cook and no time to get to the shops. Therefore 9 times out of 10, I will always have eggs, pasta and puff pastry amongst other ingredients in my current possession. Strange I know, but several times I have been able to whip something up in no time at all with these bare basics. 5 years ago, I lived in Paddington, Sydney and of all things, I knew I was out of puff and had some friends popping over in 30 minutes for afternoon tea. With IGA closed and unable to buy my usual Pampas variety, I headed into Paddington Fine Foods and pondered the $19.95 price tag of some pastry called Careme. It was all fancy in a lemon-yellow rectangular box and certainly much more than the usual $4 budget and after only a couple of seconds pondering with only 20 minutes now to spare, I whipped out a twenty and I was walking home quick smart re-counting the recipe in my head.
5 years on and my man recently surprised me with a gorgeous weekend away to the Barossa for my birthday and following my love of markets, we headed to the Barossa Farmers Markets. Open each Saturday, the markets are the finest selection in the valley of all the local produce and immediately my senses were enticed the minute I entered the gates. On an A-stand up ahead, I suddenly recognised the word Careme written amongst lemon meringue, chocolate – and passion-fruit and not being able to help myself, I wandered over to the mini glass fridge showcasing its delicate pastries and tarts – all ready and shiny to eat. Looking like they had just come out of the oven, I purchased a lemon meringue tart and watched as the girl carefully lifted it out and into a tiny white cake box before taping it shut with a oval yellow sticker. Holding my prized possession upright and licking my lips with anticipation, my man only had to look at me for half a second to realise I had succumbed and found something to love and so tantalising to buy. Reaching the car, I tried to hold back but could not resist a nibble or more like the whole tart, instantly savouring the sweetness of the lemon curd and the lightness of the Careme pastry and the Paddington memory came flooding back. Based in Tanunda, S.A. and owned by locals, William and Claire Wood, Careme is named after the famous Patissier, Antonin Careme (1783-1833) and after devouring the lemon meringue tart, I now know in reflection that it was definitely worth every last cent of that $19.95.