wind rattling the windowpanes woke me on this particular Sunday in very early summer. Sommelier, of course, slept right through it. I waited, played on my phone, tried to doze, waited some more, until it was a reasonable time to wake a loved one on a weekend (I wake up for work at 5:30am, which is not a reasonable time to wake a loved one on a weekend).
I touched his cheek gently, he opened his eyes to blearily glare at me, “Do you want to do a donut tour of Hobart?” I whispered
I got a grunt of mostly agreement in return.
“Then be a dear and make some coffee.”
This is our usual morning routine, I demand the coffee, he makes the coffee, it’s the secret to a happy relationship.
We didn’t really plan this trip per se, we made a list of cafes that we knew sold donuts and vaguely planned a route that would take us by some of the more interesting graffiti in Hobart. We had agreed that a donut tour of Hobart should be a walking tour as well, we’re on a wedding diet you see, so we’re trying to make healthier decisions.
- Bury Me Standing – American style sweets, treats and bagels.
We started by parking at the Mellville Street carpark and walking to Bury Me Standing café. Bury Me Standing specialises in bagels. It has a seating section and a take away section. The queue for the take away section can get quite long, especially on a Sunday when the market is going on right outside the door. I am claustrophobic in small rooms and prone to sensory overload in crowds, especially when hungry, so I left Sommelier in charge of ordering. Having a designated orderer often proves expedient, at least in my case. The trick is to trust your orderer and also to not be a picky eater. We got an everything bagel and a cinnamon crunch bagel, having previously agreed to get two things at every place and share them. Also, in the interests of academia, it should be noted that this article identifies any treat either containing yeast or a hole in the centre, to be a ‘donut’ – we drew inspiration from the online dictionary we consulted (yes, we consulted a dictionary), which identifies donuts as ‘a small fried cake of sweetened dough, typically in the shape of a ball or ring,’ or it’s secondary definition; ‘a ring-shaped object, in particular a vacuum chamber in some types of particle accelerator’. The primary benefit of this definition of a donut is that it allows for one to consume a savoury ring-shaped meal before embarking on a blood-sugar crashing rampage. We ate our ring-shaped object in front of the Stormie Mills classic “Lost Giant” the location of which I won’t specifically reveal so that you can go on your own adventure, but I will say that it is very close to Bury me Standing.
- Lady Hester – middle eastern flavour palate filled sourdough doughnuts.
Having eaten and therefore feeling less prone to sensory overload we braved the crowds and the queues of Farmgate Market to score ourselves the internationally renowned, sourdough treats at Lady Hester. Sommelier and I are pretty hardcore Lady Hester fans. We are on first name terms with the staff members, I have, on more than one occasion, helped them set up/pack down and been paid in donuts, we’re basically Lady Hester’s groupies. They are at Farmgate Market every Sunday and tend to show up at most of the festivals around Hobart, they are often at Dark Mofo, but if you need a weekday Lady Hester fix you will struggle. Lady Hester has a secret hole in the wall location (it’s at 136 Collins Street –rear basement—you go get the secret donuts, you deserve them) from which you can buy donuts on a Friday, they sell out fast though. The best way to get around the disappointment of missing out on Lady Hester’s secret flavours is to order online, orders must be placed before Wednesday and picked up on Friday. If you get to farmgate early on a Sunday and don’t mind standing in line then you treat yourself on Sunday too. It’s all about self-care. We enjoyed our Lady Hester dark chocolate and pomegranate, and sticky date with caramel pearls while surrounded by Topsk murals. At least, I think their name is Topsk, everything was tagged ‘Topsk’ but I can’t find any online presence for that artist.
- Queens – classic patisserie, and nostalgia flavoured glazed donuts.
We walked to Queens from our secret Topsk location through Bidencopse Lane which connects the Centrepoint shopping centre to Liverpool street. The laneway is filled with commissioned murals that were put up as part of the Vibrance festival. If graffiti and street art is an interest of yours then you should take the detour in to see it. I’ve told you where it is so that you don’t completely miss every piece of street art in Hobart. Queens patisserie has the best croissants I’ve ever eaten outside of the French colonies (I lived in Vanuatu for a bit), and, as someone who has made croissants from scratch precisely one time in my life, I consider myself a total expert on the matter. As this is a donut tour though we did not buy a croissant (literally the first time I found myself regretting the dictionary defined parameters of our tour). Sommelier got a golden gay time donut (it’s an Australian staple that usually comes in the form of an ice-cream, they are either completely oblivious to the hilarity of the name, or just in denial, I can’t tell which), and I cheated and got a lemon meringue cruffin, a croissant/muffin (it has yeast in it! It counts). The donuts at Queens are made with traditional dough, but the glazes are what makes them stand out. They come in an array of rotating flavours that mostly appeal to the Australian sense of nostalgia. If you are in the market for a ‘typical Australian flavour’ then Queens is a good place to start. They also list their bake times online, and in the doorway so that you can time your arrival to get the freshest pastry around.
- Imago – French, but fancy French.
Sommelier’s mother recently told us about the patisserie Imago, and we though we would give it a go. We went via Small-Fry, a popular café that usually has donuts, but they do not do donuts on a Sunday, which is just as well because it turns out that we don’t have nearly the sugar tolerance we thought we did. We hastily renegotiated the ‘each pick a flavour and share’ rule that we had set out with to a more sensible ‘agree on a flavour, buy one donut and share that one donut’ rule when we arrived at Imago, the previously unknown café on Elizabeth street. Our lives flashed before our eyes when they announced their special of the day – brandy custard and raspberry jam donut with dark chocolate ganache. Luckily there was only one flavour so it was much easier for us to just share the one donut, under the new rules we were living by.
From Imago we walked up to North Hobart in search of more donuts (I say walked, but we stumbled in a sugar haze), we were grateful for a sudden squall of rain that allowed us to cool our jets a little. On arrival, 15 mins later (I thought the walk took 20mins, I think the sugar got to us), we learned that most places that do usually sell donuts on a weekday have their pasty supplied by Hobart’s primary pastry wholesaler, Rogue Pastry – who do not operate on a Sunday. So we turned around and walked to our last stop, Daci and Daci, who had sold out of donuts, which was a blessed relief because we couldn’t eat another bite of any donut, ring shaped, yeast filled, particle accelerator, or otherwise. We trudged home to eat a celery stick.
Hobart can be a bit of a mixed bag over the weekend; there are markets and many locals enjoy the Sunday market nearest them, but many of the shops are closed. If you aren’t in the market mood then you do have options. Your specific donuts needs can be met on a Sunday, you just have to know where to look. I hope this helps you find them — eat your veggies, and say hi to your dentist from me.