Monday, January 16, 2012

Holbrook Lamingtons

In my post Driving Home    I mentioned lamingtons.  There is a wonderful bakery at Holbrook, on the Hume Highway, roughly midway between Sydney and Melbourne, which is famous for meat pies and lamingtons.  

Many years ago, when we still lived in Sydney, both Marius and I worked full time.  With two small children, and restricted leave, we struggled to manage the holidays.  Our generous parents would help out by letting the children stay with them for a week or two at a time.  This meant that rather than having separate 'childminding-only' leave, we were able to take our holidays as a family.

Marius's parents lived about three or four hours drive away, which is easily manageable on a weekend.  We would deliver the children, stay over night and drive back to Sydney (and work) the next day.  My parents lived in Melbourne, which in those days before multiple by-passes and dual carriageways, was a twelve hour journey, making it impossible to do a return trip in a weekend.  We developed a wonderful scheme where we would meet my parents (and sometimes stay overnight) at Holbrook, famous for its submarine.  After we had handed over the children, we would head north to Sydney and my parents south back to Melbourne.

If we were not staying overnight, we would stop and have a picnic together in one of the lovely parks.  At Holbrook we discovered the Holbrook Bakery (now sadly competing with imitations) where we sampled the meat pies, sausage rolls and especially the lamingtons.

I am delighted to report the Bakery is still operating, and the lamingtons remain fabulous.  (A lamington is made from plain sponge cake, cut into 2 inch cubes, dipped in melted chocolate and then covered in dessicated coconut.  Avoid ones filled with jam and/or synthetic cream as they are decidedly inferior.) 

Just after Christmas last year, on the way up to Forster, we stopped for our picnic at Holbrook.  It is the perfect distance from Melbourne for lunch, if you leave between 8 and 9 in the morning.  When we pulled up outside the bakery, there were plenty of people milling about, dithering over the menu, but Prima and I walked up to the counter and ordered three  meat pies and (amazingly conservative) a half dozen lamingtons.  By the time we walked out of the shop with our order, the queue was out the door and onto the footpath.  Popular place.

On the way back to Melbourne, Marius and Primus stopped at Holbrook again.  They bought 2 dozen lamingtons and managed to eat a quarter of them on their way home.

It is lovely when some things remain the same as the shrine in one's memory.

Prima and Primus, at Holbrook, c 1992



Elisabeth said...

My now dead mother in law could make wonderful lamingtons, Isabel, the ones coated in red jelly and coconut, as well as the chocolate ones.

Funnily enough people in my husband's family always ask for them for the wakes at funerals.

I've been to Holbrook many times on our hikes to canberra many moons ago, but I have not had the pleasure of a visit to the bakery.

Your little ones, the two Ps, are lovely. What splendid memories can unfold when we go back over old ground.

the cuby poet said...

We travel to Scotland at the very least once a year and always part of the journey includes a stop at the bakery in Calendar to pick up yummies such as scotch pancakes,treacle scones and many other proper Scottish treats, god forbid the day the bakery closes.Lamingtons are not called that here in fact not sure what they are!

Anonymous said...

I've been absent and missed so much!! But when I saw this post today it took me back ... not heard the word lamington for years but I loved them when I visited Oz - I've had a catch up and looks like you had a great holiday over Christmas.

jabblog said...

Delicious memories, in so many senses.

Jenny Woolf said...

I've always wondered what lamingtons were. Thanks for enlightening me! they do sound delicious.
Your kids look absolutely sweet :)