Growing up, I was taught that you should never show up to someone's home empty handed. Now when I'm visiting friends and family in Sydney, I almost always bring food. Here are my favourite places to pick up sweet treats to give as gifts, plus one yummy home dinner service:
Black Star Pastry
I love ordering birthday cakes from Black Star and love any wedding with a Black Star cake! They're well-priced, have grown-up flavour combinations and the presentation is always amazing. I've ordered a pavlova for my Dad's 60th (his favourite) and another solid and special cake is the orange cake with persian fig, which you see here as a breakfast dessert :)
While I haven't tried it, I've seen a lot of beautiful Unbirthday cakes on Instagram and would love to give or receive one as a birthday cake. And if you're a cupcake person, or know one, I've bought a mini gift box from The Cupcake Room before and they wrote my friend's name on a cupcake!
Because $20 buys you a lot of gelato and it comes in a cute suitcase-style box. I've bought the smaller $10 box for friends and couples and my family is always excited about the biggest box that fits around a litre and between four and five flavours. I used to panic about having it in the car for 20-30 minutes but the gelato comes firmly packed in a hefty styrofoam box and has survived a one-and-a-half hour trip to the coast.
Nearly every week in the lead up to Christmas I stopped by Kakawa on my way home from work. I bought the loveliest little gifts for work and family friends, spending anywhere between $5-$15 per item, and picked up a few fancier chocolates for my friend Angie and Tony. Their Easter chocolates are really inventive and fun, and if I'm travelling back to Wagga the staff pack my chocolate in a foil bag along with a mini ice pack :)
I love Pana's raw chocolate bars because they're dense and flavourful, plus the packaging is lovely too. I'd recommend these treats for health conscious friends, vegans and people who've quit sugar. The desserts are raw so they can't travel too far or in extreme heat but there are solid items like the brazil nut ganache on the menu that've survived a six hour road trip.The Dinner Ladies
I love cooking for friends especially when they need it most, and while I've had some success sending baked goods in the mail, sometimes cookies just don't cut it. My friend Marina put me onto this dinner service and Tony and I have used it a couple of times to send some love from Wagga Wagga. It's really fun to pick out meals for other people (my favourite part is choosing dessert - we recently sent a plum and hazelnut crumble to friends) and the website lists how much preparation is needed, and the ingredients too. The meals are home delivered and come in a fancy foam box to keep them cool and the women who run it are really helpful if you do need to ring and ask questions.