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The hunt for the Southern Highland’s best Hot Cross Bun..

Easter is a special time of year for so many reasons, not least for the abundance of delicious treats that tend to accompany the occasion – including my favourite the Hot Cross Bun.

Knowing the Southern Highlands has loads of great bakeries and patisseries, I have been eagerly awaiting the chance to munch my way through some stellar buns in hunt of the region’s best. It was a tough sampling process…(HAH, as if!) but I managed to narrow it down to the top 4:

1. FLEUR DE LYS | MOSS VALE

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Not necessarily the prettiest, but most definitely the yummiest! Satisfyingly dense and sweet, with a pleasant fruit mix of currants and raisins. Best feature – the rich custard cross! Totally blows the old flour and water paste right out of the water. YUM. $2.50 a pop.

Where:254-262 Argyle Street, Moss Vale
When: Opening hours a little vague..just pop on by and try your luck!

 

2. FLOUR WATER SALT | BOWRAL

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Dark and fruit toast-ish, not too sweet, and best enjoyed warmed just enough to smell the spice and served with lashings of butter. This plump-looking bun has the added bonus of being crafted from organic spelt flour. Available in classic fruit or decadent dark chocolate. $3- a pop.

Where: 374 Bong Bong Street, Bowral
When: 8am-4pm Tuesday-Saturday

3. GUMNUT PATISSERIE | BERRIMA

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More of a sweet brioche than a bun – but hey, ain’t no one saying no to brioche! Fluffy crosses, very lightly fruit filled and covered in a sticky glaze. These buns ought to be shared, as they verge on the sickly sweet side of the pastry spectrum. $2.50 a pop.

Where: Shop 1, Post Office Corner, Hume Highway, Berrima
When: Open 7 days 9am – 5pm

4. SOUTHERN RISE | ROBERTSON

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Simple and more classic, this bun is perfect for kids, or for those who prefer something a little more plain. At $1.50 a bun, you can’t really go wrong! Available in choc or fruit.

Where: 34 Hoddle Street, Robertson
When: Monday – Saturday 5am – 5pm

Now go forth and eat some buns, you can thank me later!

 

The Artist’s Deli

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Without giving away too much ‘insider information’ on the who’s who of the Highlands  (yes, I have some local know how now!), I can tell you there are a few big names in the Australian art world who call this region home. Generally speaking, the Southern Highlands has quite an established and impressive art scene with notable galleries and exhibitions in Mittagong, Bowral and Berrima.

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If we can be frank – and I think we can – I really do not know that much about art at all. But I like the idea of knowing a lot about art! I would say, with some embarrassment, that I err on the ‘craft’ side of the art spectrum. You know, homemade cards, recycled wrapping paper, putting decorative things in jars and tying them with string etc.  Which is maybe why The Artist’s Deli in Bowral makes an exhibition space with real grown up art so appealing to a crafty person like myself.

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Beyond the artworks on display themselves, this little business offers an outstanding selection of beautiful big sheets of recycled textured saa (mulberry) paper from Thailand and Bali. There are also some general art supplies – brushes, paints, charcoals, oils, pencils – and some general quirky handmade giftware. My personal favourite is the range of Uashmama washable paper lunchboxes, handbags and satchels.

The Artist’s Deli is a fun place to visit and I think a good indication of the kind of creativity and ingenuity that seems to thrive in this part of New South Wales. Pop in for a look on your way to breakfast at the Milk Factory Gallery Cafe next door, or alternatively on your way to Rivers if you’re that way inclined..!

Where: 6-7/31 Station Street, Bowral 

When: Closed Tuesday Wednesday, Thursday – Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday + Monday 11am – 3pm.

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Akira Sushi

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I’ve never been to Japan so I won’t claim to know what I’m talking about, but I will say that Akira Sushi in Bowral makes some damn tasty Japanese food. I got the tip off about this little gem when some dear friends of mine mentioned they were going out to eat some delicious sushi (in the Highlands? Say whaat?). I promptly invited myself along to third wheel their date night and I have no regrets.The takeaway selection is great if you’re on the run, but I would recommend eating in and having yourself a feast among the cute origami paper styled wallpaper.

The sushi rolls are enormous and made fresh to order (like seriously, you can share these). The ramen and broths are piping hot and hearty and none of that all-noodle-no-goodstuff kind of nonsense from food courts. And if it’s just too difficult to decide, have yourself a Bento box! If you’re lucky you’ll catch a glimpse of their 2:30pm staff meal and wonder why they don’t put THAT on the menu too. Go for gyoza udon or the grilled salmon roll.

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Where: Shop 6, 328 Bong Bong Street, Bowral (behind Gloria Jeans Coffee).

When: Monday – Saturday 10:30am – 9:00pm, Sunday 10:30am – 6:00pm.

 

Dirty Jane’s Antiques Auction

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I don’t know that anyone really knows how auctions work (I certainly do not), but I still think you should reserve this Sunday morning for Dirty Jane’s Antiques auction anyway. Once every couple of months the back parking lot of Dirty Jane’s antiques warehouse is converted into something resembling a posh flea market with all items up for auction as the day progresses. To my fellow penniless plebs, this is our time to shine in the antiques domain with most bids starting at the very reasonable price of $5.00! Less than the price of a cup of coffee on soy with an extra shot in a mug a day!

The forecast for this weekend is clear, sunny and mild but if the morning chill hangs around too long you can always nip inside to Your Vintage Occasion for a tea and scone. Items available range from random scraps of used timber to vintage scales and pirate chests. If you’re looking for something in particular, you will probably find it. And if you’re not looking, you will probably find what you never knew you missed! I will be busy working for the man this time round but I’ve left you with a few snaps of some of my favourite pieces from last time..

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Where: 391 Bong Bong street, Bowral

When: 9am onwards Sunday 14 September (Bi-monthly from then onwards)

Bowral Public School Markets

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Markets like these are the stuff that dreams are made of.

Every second Saturday of the month the grounds of Bowral Public School are inundated with people, pets, plants and produce and the playground is transformed into a bustling marketplace. These are by far the best attended markets in the district, both in terms of vendors and the general public. It’s a real comfort to see such gusto in the community’s support for something like this.

The atmosphere is super relaxed and the selection of stalls feels like a perfect mix between Glebe and Paddington markets in Sydney…with less beards. Here can be found good coffee, cute clothes, weird seedling varieties, colourful fresh flowers, organic vegetables, damn good pho, talented buskers, tulip bulbs, turkish towels, foie gras…and the list goes on! You may even catch a glimpse of Geoff Jansz the man himself!

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If you can time your visit to the Highlands with these markets, your weekend will be all the better for it I promise you. Go for a caramel shortbread from City Biscuits, spuds from Highland Gourmet Potatoes, and – if your budget allows it – leather ware from the cute boys at Paterson and Salisbury.

Where: Bowral Public School, Bendooley Street, Bowral

When: Every second Saturday of the month, 8am – 1pm

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