A Melbourne, London & Hong Kong dessert blog
Is this the start of a whoopie pie invasion into Australia?
Down the escalator to David Jones’ Food Hall, the disintinctive warm aroma of freshly baked cookies hits you. Further inside, there is an expensive fruit grocer, gourmet delicatessen, and a series of stalls offering salad, antipasto, sushi, oysters and champagne even, and hot and fast lunch food of paninis, pizza and pies. DJs Food Hall may not be the spectacular cavern that is London’s Harrods Food Hall, but it has recently began stocking something that Harrods has only just begun to stock, and which the UK, some parts of Europe, and most definitely the US have gone absolutely ga-ga for (as witnessed on a recent sojourn to that part of the world). Allow MoMo & Coco to tell you: what happens when you splice the genes of a macaron, a cupcake and a cookie, and mix them together? You get the best of all three sweet irresistibles!
Perfect in this latest economic environment of seeking out homegrown comfort, say hello to the Big Ma Ma that is the “Whoopie Pie!” Originating from the land of the big, bold and beautiful, this curvaceous American stunner has disputed origins in either Pennsylvania or Maine. The Maine people believe that the Whoopie Pie is an Amish tradition, named as such because of the delighted sound that Amish farmers would emit upon seeing such a dessert in their lunch boxes. To this day, the Maine people hold annual festivals in honour of the Whoopie Pie, and being the US, there’s always a “who-can-eat-the-most-in-the-least-time?” competition (see here). On the other hand, the Pennsylvanians are so steadfast in their claim on the Whoopie Pie that they have codified it in legislation as the state’s dessert (see here).
Since about September 2011, an external supplier, Ribbons & Bow, couriers into David Jones’ Food Hall a small selection of Whoopie Pies ($4.50 each) on a weekly basis. A Whoopie Pie is essentially two dense cake-like and cookie-like concave sandwiches pressing together a fluffy buttery cream filling. It’s similar in size to a savoury burger — just under 4 inches or 10 cm in diameter. It’s hardly as sugary as a macaron, nor as saccharine as some cupcakes can be when heavily iced. However, even a quarter of a Whoopie Pie will leave one feeling as full as having devoured a box of macarons or two full-size cupcakes, with arguably far less calories consumed. It’s an all-round win-win-win-win-win situation in our opinion. :)
The chocolate taste of Ribbons & Bows’ Chocolate Whoopie Pie is not as overwhelmingly rich as that characteristic of a chocolate cake. This is ideal, to offset the creamy luxury of the lightly-flavoured vanilla filling. Similarly, to counter both the textural density of the cake and the creamy filling, the Red Velvet Whoopie Pie is suitably restrained in flavour punch, with just an undercurrent of the characteristic red velvet flavour. The Chocolate Mint Whoopie Pie is the more robustly flavoured Whoopie Pie available from Ribbons & Bows, the chocolate cake medallions balanced by an edgy, rather phosphorescent green, minty cream filling.
In MoMo & Coco’s scouting around cafes and patisseries in Melbourne’s CBD and inner city, the Ribbons & Bows’ Whoopie Pies at David Jones Food Hall was our first sighting of Whoopie Pies in Melbourne, and our first taste of Australian-made Whoopie Pies since our US trip. They compare favourably with our US experiences. MoMo & Coco envisage that it will be very very soon when Whoopie Pies will capture the hearts of other Melbourne-based sweet tooths and inevitably, dessert entrepreneurs.
- Dessert adventure checklist
- Dessert destination: Ribbons & Bows, directly available at 172 Perry Street, Fairfield, Vic 3078; or otherwise at David Jones Food Hall, Bourke St Mall, Melbourne CBD.
- Budget: $.
- Sweet irresistibles: Whoopie Pie.
- Must-eat: The “Chocolate” Whoopie Pie.
- The short and sweet story: Is this the start of a whoopie pie invasion into Australia?