23 June 2011

Sonoma Baking Company HQ: Launch and Factory Tour, Alexandria (22 June 2011)

32-44 Birmingham Street, Alexandria NSW 2015

The rise of Sonoma HQ

The love of my father, our love for him, and our love for baking a beautiful loaf of sourdough – it’s these simple, but powerful things that have made us who we are today.

Thanks to Louise Lynch from Liquid Ideas for inviting me along to the launch and factory tour of the new Sonoma Baking Company HQ in Alexandria. If you're a lover of bread then you've probably already tasted and bought Sonoma in one of their cafes around Sydney. 10 years on and they've probably now become one of the biggest, if not the biggest, artisan bakers in Sydney and quite possibly Australia perhaps. It was a very well-attended launch with little room to move in their large cafe space.

Wines were from Donny Goodmac and my beer from Fat Yak which was a very nice drop. The Butter by Pepe Saya and Vintage Club Cheddar Cheese from YEA Brand in the display shelves caught the eye of many guests and thankfully made their way into everyones goodie bags by the end of the night along with a huge sourdough bread to smear it on for breakfast. Canapés were good with the Sourdough bruschetta with smoked eggplant caviar & white anchovy and Seared scallop on roast fennel purée & baby cress being my favourites along with the very tasty Sourdough bruschetta with wild mushroom, pesto & goats cheese. The factory tour was interesting and I was amazed how large the place was which is run around the clock. I must try and return to see what yummy treats will be available in the cafe and to see if they make a good coffee.

Cream of celery soup with truffle oil

Chinese pulled pork finger sandwich with cucumber & shallot

Mini duck confit pie with beetroot jam

Sourdough bruschetta with smoked eggplant caviar & white anchovy

Chicken, walnut & tarragon finger sandwich

Seared scallop on roast fennel purée & baby cress

Sourdough bruschetta with wild mushroom, pesto & goats cheese

Tart of balsamic poached pear, gorgonzola & pecan

Donny Goodmac Shiraz 2008 and Chardonnay 2009, Fat Yak Pale Ale

Australian Cultured Butter Churned by Pepe Saya

Vintage Club Cheddar Cheese YEA Brand

Service counter

Speech time — full house

Speech time: MC chatting with owner Andrew Connole (right)

That looks like Alessandro Pavoni at the back and is that a couple of My Kitchen Rules contestants too amongst the crowd?

Coffee crew guys

Photos down memory lane

Hey, is that that guy from that MasterChef show? Was it Adam Liaw? I think it might be. Nah, probably not. Maybe just someone that looks like him. Nevermind.

DJ in the house — nice hat!

Official photographer — nice tripod

The factory tour

Checking out the factory

Hairnets aren't particularly sexy but they keep the bread hygienic

Look at the size of that dough mixer — very impressive

Flour storage

Lining the trays

Baskets for different shaped bread

Basket trolleys

Bread coming out of the oven

So fresh it makes your stomach want some — but we can't touch

Is it an oven or a lift? — It's a bloody big oven!

Here comes the baked bread out of the oven

Food, booze and shoes and Gourmantic taking their bread shots — nice hats!

A window view to the cafe and back into the factory — nice smile!

I desperately wanted to try some of those fresh madeleines — but sadly not this time

Packaging the bread — these guys have their work cut out for them all night

Just a few crates of bread of many different styles

A few happy tour participants with sexy hairnets

Goodie bag of TimeOut Sydney, Sourdough bread, Granola, Cheese and Butter — I guess that takes care of breakfast!

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Tony Hollingsworth said...

Awesome coverage of an awesome new space to enjoy Sonoma from - you're so timely too with yout posts Simon - inspiring and professional!

Can't wait to get some sort of tweetup going in there. Been hearing about it all week as some colleagues also attended the opening.

Thanks for sharing this.

Tony Hollingsworth

muppy said...

That goats cheese, mushroom and pesto combination looks delicious. And those high heals in a factory have to be against safety regs......

Martyna@WholesomeCook said...

What an amazing opportunity to peek around backstage!

I am a big artisan bread lover, so my heart is jumping for joy knowing that more and more people in Australia are getting into their quality breads. Great post!

Chanel said...

Fantastic coverage Simon! I'm so excited by the new food hotspots happening in my area now - can't wait to visit Sonoma.

Nice goodie bag. Pepe Saya cultured butter is just divine, perfect for spreading thickly on fresh bread. Yum! :D

Dressed and Eaten said...

Great post. Would have been great to check it out on the other end. That tart sounds great. I do love their bread. Agreed, it is so pleasing to see more and more quality bread. New bakery not far from me, yay.

Keely aka The Richest Girl in Bondi said...

Would've been fantastic to poke around the factory Simon! I bet the Vintage Club Cheddar Cheese would've been to die for on the sourdough bread. Sometimes the simplest things are the best way to hit the spot.

Richard Elliot said...

Very jealous of you Simon! What a great opportunity to see behind the scenes at Sanoma, with my Sourdough Project I'd love to have had the opportunity.

Gianna@TheEmptyFridge said...

Screw the kitchen aid! That's what I call a mixer!

Trisha said...

This is music to my ears (?eyes). A Sonoma and Bourke St Bakeries close to where I live!!! Love love love it!

Jenn Brigole said...

Good on you to be able to take part of this wonderful experience. If I were there to witness, which is impossible (ever!), that dough mixer would chase me in my sleep. lol That's for sharing! :)

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