A LITTLE slice of France has landed in Broadmeadow.
French patisserie French Faves opened three weeks ago, operated by France-born, Australia-based manager-turned-pastry chef Charline Barre, whose exquisite tarts and traditional fresh-baked baguettes and croissants are a dream come true for those craving authentic French pastries.
The cafe is located inside a new complex on Belford Street, offering indoor and outdoor seating (dog-friendly), as well as an open-plan kitchen which allows customers to sit back and watch as the team of pastry chefs create the cafe's delights in-house.
Using both traditional and modern recipes, Barre opened French Faves after gaining a following at farmers market events around Newcastle and Lake Macquarie last year. The market's two best sellers - lemon meringue tart with lemon cream and French meringue with dark chocolate ganache, salted butter caramel and sea salt flakes - are on the menu at French Faves, along with a hazelnut and milk chocolate tart with whole hazelnuts, vanilla custard tart with seasonal fruits, and special creations such as Barre's version of a tarte tatin with caramelised diced apple, frangipane, vanilla chantilly cream and salted butter caramel.
The cafe operates for breakfast and lunch, with the breakfast menu offering traditional French favourites including baguettes served with pots of Barre's homemade jam and salted caramel butter, with the option to add a croissant (plain; almond; pain au chocolate; vegan) or French biscuit for an indulgent breakfast.
French favourites are on the lunch menu too, including quiches and baguette sandwiches.
"We have three baguettes on the menu," Barre says.
"We have the ham and cheese, the classic one with French butter and Swiss cheese, chicken, egg and mayonnaise, which is a very classic one in France too, and then we have another that I have created which is a vegetarian one that is a grain baguette with brie cheese, green apple and mayo and honey."
The cafe serves coffee from Newcastle-based Silverskin Roasters as well as a range of other drinks including French favourite diabolo soda with mint or raspberry syrup.
"We also have a small shop where you can find some French food that you can take home," Barre says.
"It is stocked with some of the things I miss from home."
Cakes are available to order, including a chocolate fondant cake decorated with raspberry jelly, and a gluten-free almond and raspberry cake.
French Faves is also creating Mother's Day hampers ($39) which can be ordered in advance.
Barre's passion for food was instilled in her from a young age growing up in northern France.
"I am crazy about food. I am very passionate about food and this, I think, came from my Mum because she is a very good cook," Barre says.
"My Dad loves gardening and he always grew everything we ate when we were younger. My Mum would just create recipes with whatever we had at the moment. When I learned how to cook, I tried to follow her."
It was after an inspiring three-year working holiday in Australia that Barre embarked on a career in food, learning skills from chef friends in France and running a food truck that led her to open her first restaurant in 2017.
A year later, she moved to Australia with her partner and launched French Faves in 2020 to share her culture and passion for food.
"I am an entrepreneur, I really love to create concepts and it's always about food," Barre says.
"There is not a lot of French food in Newcastle, so I thought it would be a good idea to fill that gap. The other thing is I really wanted a team to work with and I'm lucky I have found a very good team."
French Faves is located at 14-18 Belford Street, Broadmeadow. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 7am to 2pm.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: