New Zealand's best croissant awarded to Wairarapa's Clareville Bakery

Clareville Bakery's winning croissants.
Clareville Bakery's winning croissants. Photo credit: Supplied by Clareville Bakery via RNZ

From RNZ's Morning Report

Time, skill and 27 layers of New Zealand butter are the key ingredients for New Zealand's best croissant, according to its maker.

Wairarapa's Clareville Bakery won the prize for best croissant in Baking NZ's Christmas competition, with judges describing the pastry as "technically impeccable".

"They clearly have some very talented bakers and they're utilising their ability to the maximum," chief judge Ron Omelvena said.

Clareville Bakery owner and head baker Michael Kloeg said the croissant was the "quintessential" bakery product that revealed the skill of its makers. 

"It's something that we’re constantly tweaking and constantly monitoring.

"I put it down to the time factor, and using really, really good ingredients. We use New Zealand butter, we use New Zealand wheat for our flour, and then it's just a matter of allowing time to ferment the dough well - that's where you get the wonderful flavour from."

Kloeg said the bakery lets the croissant dough ferment for 24 hours before painstakingly folding in 27 layers of butter.

"There are no shortcuts, that's what I'm trying to say." 

The bakery also took the prize for best fruit cake and third prize for best fruit mince tart - first prize in that category was won by Auckland's Wild Grain Bakery.

Kloeg said the bakery's fruit cake was "very traditional" and the result of combining several recipes, including one from his brother-in-law's mother. It contains a mix of dried fruit, spices and "a whole lot of brandy".

"A good fruit cake needs time to mature, time for the flavours to mellow out."

Omelvena said all the entries were "absolutely right up there". 

"In all categories, it was very hard to have a standout product," he said.

Baking NZ Christmas Competition Results

Best Croissant:

  1. Clareville Bakery (Wairarapa) 
  2. Daily Bread (Auckland)
  3. Bellbird Bakery (Christchurch).

Best Fruit Cake:

  1. Clareville Bakery (Wairarapa) 
  2. Euro Patisserie Torbay (Auckland)
  3. Nada Bakery (Wellington).

Best Fruit Mince Tart:

  1. Wild Grain Bakery (Auckland) 
  2. Copenhagen Bakery (Christchurch)
  3. Clareville Bakery (Wairarapa).