Former MasterChef grand finale judge Guillaume Nicoli is the French Willy Wonka of baked goods.
It's a cliche for sure, but the French are famed for their gastronomy - and Ma Cherie, a Parisian pastry cafe tucked away in a miniature shopping district off Ponsonby Road, makes the case once again.
The retail facing of a French pastry and sweet goods wholesaler (stocked in the likes of Farro, Nosh and Didas), they've held a well established reputation in Auckland for some time. Breaking ground with a patisserie was a natural next step, allowing them face time with consumers - something critical when you truly love creating excellent food and sharing it, which the owners clearly do. From a traditional and French inspired breakfast menu, to their savoury menu chocked full of 'from scratch' croissants, croque monsieur and other baked options, to the true pinnacle...
The dessert items. Macarons, cakes, pastries, custard tarts, eclairs, crepes, biscuits and all manner of other delights. It's like a Willy Wonka's of baked goods, but in a small cabinet on Ponsonby Road. One guest, a confessed macaroon-addict, consumed no less than 6 and judged them "perfect". Should you ponder it, know that Pastry Chef/Director Guillaume Nicoli was a former MasterChef grand finale judge, having done so for his knowledge of macrons and their towering presence. No questions, just desserts.
Having never been to France, unfortunately I cannot attest to it's similarity to the real deal, however Guillaume assures me his multitude of French customers speaks for itself - and I believe him. The light, airy fit-out and courtyard surrounds also seems just the right fit - conjuring up Auckland's own version of a cafe-laden lane.
It's decadence done well, and well worth a visit and coffee/dessert break, particularly if one lazy weekend you consider a day of Parisian style eating - i.e. have breakfast, collect pastries, have lunch, eat pastries. Then dessert. Who are you to question their knowledge in these matters?