I first heard about Four Friends from the lovely girls i met at the annual Sydney food bloggers picnic, their posts featured the story behind the owner of Four Friends cafe, Katze (who is also a self taught chocolatier!). Instead of hearing it from a third person view, i strongly suggest you to pay her a visit and indulge in some amazing artisan chocolates whilst listening to her story. It really isn't every day that you hear about unconditional love for your children, surviving Scleroderma and still being strong willed enough to start another food venture, (Katze, prior to Four Friends Crows Nest had a cafe in Artamon, which sadly came to an end when she was diagnosed with the life threatening disease), yet only this time, a lot sweeter!
Reading about her story almost had me in tears, it was so moving and inspiring that i had to find out more! A quick search through Facebook and Instagram lead me to their page, I was greeted with a plethora of mouth watering chocolate pictures. oh boy, talk about salivating and drooling over my phone!
image from Four Friends chocolate Facebook page
So where does the name Four Friends come from? Katze's religious background is buddhism as such the name arose from her religious beliefs. In Buddhism, there is a story about four animals, an elephant, a bird, a monkey and a hare. The story talks about how these four animals work harmoniously together to create a happier life. Katze has taken a leaf from this story and has implemented such beliefs into her lifestyle as well as into her business.
Katze has also adopted a healthier lifestyle since, She is a strong believer in natural and organic ingredients for example free trade cocoa and molasses instead of white sugar in her high tea desserts.
Four Friends occasionally ran a variety of classes ranging from coffee tasting to chocolate making, but the first time I paid Katze a visit was for her themed high tea launch. Just in time for Chinese new year, February's high tea features a lot of Asian inspired bite sized morsels, some of which are associated with auspiciousness that surrounds Chinese New Year.
traditional yum-cha style bamboo steamers filled with the delicious goodies
the sweet layer
As it was Chinese New Year and Asian themed, the top tier consisted of some delicious pan fried soft coconut cake, one with white sugar, one with brown sugar, deep fried smiley balls, a sweet olive jelly,a heavenly oolong tea ganache truffle and dry ice jasmine ice cream. Yes you read it correctly, dry ice! (check out the pics below!)
I loved the pan fried mochi, it was a chewy sweet morsel that left me wanting more. The oolong tea ganache was also really good, subtle and delicate in flavour. The sweet olive jelly was really enjoyable but some found it too strong for their liking. I thoroughly enjoyed it because my parents are chiense herbalists and i grew up drinking all sorts of herbal concotions, crysanthemum and goji being one of my favourites as it is good for your eyes and clears you of "internal heat" so you don't break out in pimples! double win right?
the savoury tier
The savouries consisted of mini pan fried radish cakes, a steamed duck dumpling, deep fried cheese wontons and a delicious vegan salad made from finely shredded bean curds and cucumber. The stand out was definitely the steamed duck pancake, i was really tempted to steal Nessy's one!
The bloggers attack!
delicious basketful of food!
sparkling egyptian rose tea
We were offered the chilled sparkling Eygptian rose tea to complement the high tea, subtle fragrance and had a lovely colour to it too! the Egyptian rose is a beauty! unfortunately it is currently not available in store, but Katze will have them available soon!
The amazing Katze.
Vietnamese spring rolls
Jimmy making ice cream with dry ice instead of liquid nitrogen.
I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM! Remember the plastic cup in the sweets tier? well i present to you, dry ice ice cream! Katze has chosen to use dry ice instead of liquid nitrogen as she didn't want to bulk buy and the fact that liquid nitrogen has a short half life (getting all science-y here!). We watched Jimmy make our ice cream by hand, no hand mixer at all! Katze kept on joking saying we would get our ice cream after dinner at this rate!
We were also asked to guess the flavour of the ice cream, Jasmine, and i got it correct! woo-hoo! i can still live up to my inner Asian and blog name!
Psst, Jimmy is also a lean mean Latte art barista, He recently 3rd place in the Pura Dairy Farmers Latte Art Championships! I am not a big coffee drinker but i went through phases of trying out latte art and the lot, i am proud to say that i managed to get a lot of creative and quirky looking clouds! (hrmphhh! clouds are latte art too right?!?!)
their diverse range of organic tea leaves.
They have a great selection of fragrant and hard to find loose leaf teas, available for purchase in jars to take home! whee! i took home the berry fairy but have yet to try it. (Like i needed more tea in my collection!)
Their selection of artisan chocolates. decision-phobia activated.
Her chocolates are all handmade on site using the finest natural ingredients, as such all her chocolates only have a shelf life of 2 weeks. (Not that chocolate has ever lasted any longer in my household!)
They also do macarons! look at the macaron tower!
They also do a range of other desserts such as macarons, chocolate cakes etc. They also have packaged chocolate goods in their tiny retail sections which i may or may not of spent too long staring and drooling at!
upstairs seating area
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Four Friends Cafe, it has a nice relaxing vibe. We were here on a sunday afternoon and the place had families and kids enjoying the lovely summer weather. Katze is always up for a good chat if you want to pick her brain on anything! I can see Four Friends becoming a even more successful venture with all the love and care Katze and her Hubby puts into it. Thank you for having us Katze!
The themed high teas change every month and are $45 for 2 people. Check out their Facebook page for regular updates!
Stay sweet and till next time,