Hidden in the quiet hinterland town of Cooroy on the Sunshine Coast, Maison de Provence sits. Locals have known about this place for a long time, and we think they have purposely kept it a ‘town secret’ so that they could enjoy an endless supply of fabulous pastries….until now. The word is out, and people are flocking from far and wide to seek out this little gem.
The vibrant owners Eric and Francoise Pernoud are not new to this country, having been here for over 20 years. Cooking is in Eric’s blood, having been brought up from a very early age working in his fathers patisserie in France. It was here that his culinary foundations were developed. Later, working at many of the hot spots in New York developed his creativity flourished, before making the transition to Australia where he was corporate pastry chef of the Ritz Carlton Sydney. Eric’s inspiration comes from the pastry chefs of Europe as well as the well known Heston Bumenthal.
When we arrived at the front counter, we found an amazingly colourful array of pastries, petit fours, macaroons, cakes and other fine desserts on display in the glass cabinet. Our eyes quickly darted from one tasty treat, back to the other. Oh the torture! Finally we had made up our mind and decided what we would order, but hang on…. there’s another one in the corner we hadn’t seen before, screaming at us ‘eat me, eat me’. Creme caramel? Or Creme brulee? A chocolate croissant, or lemon tart?
Eric’s chocolate work is outstanding, teeny tiny works of art which adorn many of the fine desserts. In fact ALL his work is outstanding. You won’t find any mass produced, monstrously sized, tasteless ‘Mud cakes’ that you often find in chain cafes here in Australia. Each delicious morsel has taken time, effort, packed full of love and it shows. From when these delights are staring at you in the cabinet, to when you pop them in your mouth and your taste buds send that lovely ‘delicious’ message up to your brain.
There is also a selection of healthy salads, soups, frenchie croque monsieur (oozy cheesy toast), escargot (snails), and cassoulet (hearty stew). A selection of sandwiches made on house baked baguette (how more french can you get?) and the sourdough in particular is heavenly.
Aside from exceptional food, this patisserie delivers a little something ‘extra’. The business is family owned and operated with the Pernouds two eldest children Erika and Axel also working here. Francoise (Erics wife) fleets around the patisserie leaving a trail of frenchie chic, and delivers customers a delicious smile. We were lucky enough to meet the Pernouds by chance, when I mentioned to the waiter that I have particular dietary requirements. We were pleasantly surprised to be visited shortly after this by the patissiere himself Eric, asking us how he could help cater for my needs. All with a smile and a genuine interest in keeping me happy (Eric was totally unaware that we had a blog). It is this kind of service that sets Maison de Provence apart and stand out from the crowd.
The patisserie fittingly displays a selection of homewares and gifts with a French inspired theme, and you can sit either outdoors on the verandah or inside in the cosy cafe.The combination of a super talented patisierre, friendly owners who take pride in their establishment, fabulous food and coffee as well as great value for money, make Maison de Provence one of those places you just want to keep going back for more and more….And THAT we certainly will!
Before you go, read the Nutrition Guru’s take on French food philosophy and why we should eat little sweet treats without feeling GUILTY. Read the article here.