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Beat Eats: Beachside bakeries, what more could you want this summer?

Is there anything sweeter than biting into a crumbly, buttery croissant, on a breezy bayside beach, while dipping your toes in the crisp, post-winter sea? The answer to that is, always and forever, no there isn’t. That’s exactly what I experienced last weekend when the south side’s spring glow and extraordinary bakeries combined for a time of ultimate contentment and appreciation for the simple things in life. Yes, I’m aware that there’s a lot happening bayside besides sourdough and blue water, but seeing as we’re on the topic, I’d like to share my top buns and beaches.

Wood Frog Bakery, gracing the iconic Barkly Street St Kilda, isn’t hard to miss with their eager customers peeking over the crowds at the abundance of baked treats waiting to be indulged. The vacant ex-furniture store turned beautiful bakehouse is known above all for their almond croissants which marry romantically with their frothy coffees. Although my absolute must order are their pizzas – Napoli and pesto, roasted vegetables or fungi. I’d suggest ordering takeaway and heading to Half Moon Bay (it’s just a short drive away).

Then comes original small time pie baker turned prominent pie master Harrow & Eton, who has recently been awarded one of Melbourne’s top ten bakeries. Their menu offers a seriously impressive selection of impressive pies and I’m certain you’ve never had pies quite like them. Such heavens include their Brekky Pie of free-range eggs, double-smoked bacon, tomato, cheddar and sour cream, their mandarin duck pie of ginger-infused duck fillets, mandarins, star anise and spices (voted one of Australia’s top five pies) and their mushroom, spinach and feta pie of mushrooms, spinach, feta slow-cooked with white wine and herbs. Again I’d suggest ordering takeaway and heading down to Elwood beach for a certified day of bliss.

I couldn’t possibly finish this piece without a sole mention of a baker along Acland Street – Melbourne’s only strip for window shopping at sweets and treats. And Monarch Cakes is one definitely taking this mention. The bakery, who’ve been baking the same recipes for over 80 years now,  serve treats originating from their original shop in Poland. You absolutely must try their 100-year-old polish baked cheese, their chocolate kooglhoupf and their famous plum cake which have all featured on their menu for longer than I’ve lived. Enjoy these cakes walking the along our beloved St Kilda beach.