Beloved French-style bakery Chouquette arrives in Graceville
Few things tickle a carb-lover’s fancy like pulling apart a buttery, flaky croissant. You don’t have to be a pastry aficionado to appreciate a good one, and it’s easy to tell when you’ve got a croissant that’s sublime or sub-par. If we took a survey of Brisbane’s best croissants, we’re certain many of you would pinpoint Chouquette as a sure-fire winner and it’s easy to see why. The popular boulangerie and patisserie has long been a go-to for traditional French pastries, authentic baguettes and eye-catching cakes – now residents of Brisbane’s west can get their fix quicker with Chouquette’s brand-new shop in Graceville. Here is the need-to-know info on this big-ticket arrival …
When Fabrice Delaunay was growing up, every Sunday he hopped on his bike – armed with a list of provisions dictated by his parents – and peddled to the local bakery to stock up on essential supplies. In many of France’s smaller towns, boulangeries and patisseries are community gathering spots – places to not only grab fresh loaves and sweets, but engage with the larger community. This is the kind of welcoming spirit Normandy-born Fabrice seeks to encourage with Chouquette, the beloved French-style bakery concept that he and his wife Meggy took on a few years back. Last week Chouquette expanded to Brisbane’s western suburbs, bolstering its portfolio (which also includes locations in New Farm and Brisbane City) with a new meeting point on bustling Graceville promenade Honour Avenue. Sandwiched between local institutions Hunter & Scout, Lick! Ice-Cream and Botellon, Chouquette cements the strip’s standing as a bona fide community hub, and the opening weekend saw locals come out in droves to snag Chouquette’s famed viennoiserie, freshly baked loaves and cakes. The secret to Chouquette’s success is the no-shortcuts approach to French baking, where due respect is paid to heritage, ingredients and traditional techniques, ensuring a consistent quality that even has French expats tearfully reminiscent of the bakeries of their home country. Although cautious to not overextend operations and risk sacrificing quality, with many pastry lovers trekking across Brisbane to visit Chouquette’s New Farm HQ, the invitation to occupy the Graceville space (formerly home to Greens & Grains) proved to be a must-seize opportunity for Fabrice and his team.
A quick refurbishment has transformed the Graceville locale into a cosy retail space much like its New Farm sibling. Graceville stocks the majority of Chouquette’s full range of boulangerie goods, with products baked in New Farm and delivered in two loads each morning. The cabinet is filled to the brim with buttery croissants, hot savoury items, artisanal breads (traditional baguettes, sourdough loaves and focaccia), decadent sweets (think pain au chocolat, canneles, flan Parisien, tiramisu, mille feuille, eclairs, strawberry tarts, lemon tarts, macarons and more experimental monthly specials) and coffee from Newstead-based Industry Beans. While Chouquette has a team of nine pastry chefs working to cater to demand, the hands-on and labour-intensive workload required to craft the core range (the croissant-making process alone takes three days from start to finish, and the team is producing 750 croissants a day) means that securing your desired treat often comes down to how early you can arrive to buy it. Graceville recorded several sell-out days over its opening period, but Fabrice and his team are looking to expand production with the forthcoming addition of new proofers and ovens at its New Farm pastry kitchen, which should help cater to our appetite for boulangerie and patisserie goodies.
Chouquette Graceville is open to the public! Head to the Stumble Guide for opening hours and other important bits of info.
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