Melbourne cafe on the streetWhen wandering the laneways of the Melbourne city and the high streets of the ‘burbs, you can’t help but feel like the city planning department decided the key to a sustainable city is a café on every corner.

Last week, I jetted down from Sydney for a brief holiday of retail therapy and belly-warming food.

It wasn’t long before we picked up a three-a-day latte habit during our time in the city of laneways.

The surprising part of our coffee consumption?  We never had a bad cup of coffee. An impossible feat in any other city, but for Melbourne it’s an expectation by its residents.

The residents of Melbourne demand the best of their baristas, and they get it. While speed is not their forte, you could taste the time invested into the patient brewing.

Of course, where there is coffee there is cake…. and macarons.

Here is the short and sweet review of our favourite places for a bit of yummy-ness on the side of your coffee order.

Cacao

Melbourne Cacao macaron stack

Macarons by Cacao L to R - jam and cream lamington and violet and cassis

Winner of 2010 Melbourne’s Best Macaron, Cacao had a lot to stand up for and I was pleasantly surprised that their macarons met the challenge. Light crisp shells, excellent feet and the strong ganache flavours made for a lovely treat

I chose two macaron flavours – jam and cream lamington and violet and cassis. The jam and cream lamington had a vanilla cream and sweet raspberry jam filling sandwiched between chocolate shells, dusted with a light coconut topping to live up to its name. The violet and cassis had a light violet cream and a strong blackcurrant ganache. It’s difficult to play favourites but my preference was for the violet and cassis as the blackcurrant ganache and pretty colour was really striking.

How sweet is this coffee cup at Cacao?

Latte $3.50
Macarons $2.20 each

Location:
Melbourne GPO
Cnr Bourke & Elizabeth Streets, Melbourne

La Belle Miette

Stepping into La Belle Miette is like entering a Marie Antoniette movie inspired Parisian patisserie. Sweet window displays and pastel hued interiors are very appealing to my inner lady and I was so hopeful the contents wouldn’t disappoint.

La Belle Miette specialises in macarons and it was a tough decision between the flavours. I chose pimms and pomegranate, a striking flavour combination that had a subtle taste. I expected robust pomegranate sweetness but the flavour was lighter, favouring the pimms note. The texture could only be described as perfect – smooth and shiny with the right amount of give when bitten.

Macaron by La Belle Miette - pimms and pomegranate

Macarons between $2.50-2.80 each

Location:
30 Hardware Lane, Melbourne

Hopetoun Tea Rooms

The Hopetoun Tea Rooms are a Melbourne institution dating back to 1892. The dramatic green and black décor and glass cases of sweet and sticky treats had me lining up for 30 mins on a Saturday morning.

Sweet treats in the window of Hopetoun Tea Room

The staff were run off there feet with the crowds of ladies who lunch, but were apologetic and friendly when orders were missed or delayed. We tried three different cakes which were all scrumptious and devoured before a camera could appear. The cake menu changes frequently and after you look in the window, I challenge you to order just one slice.

Location:
The Block Arcade
Shop 1 & 2
282 Collins Street, Melbourne