Cerin Pasticceria, an Italian-inspired bakery, has opened in Woolloongabba

It was a busy scene over in Woolloongabba on Sunday morning. Had you been in the area, you might have spied a concentration of pastry-loving punters, cake connoisseurs and focaccia fiends piling into a chic shopfront along Logan Road’s cul-de-sac dining hub. That’s Cerin Pasticceria, which officially opened to the public over the weekend. This chic Italian-inspired bakery made a great first impression with its range of baked goods, including buttery cornetti, cream-filled maritozzi, carbonara danishes, stuffed focaccia and a broad range of delectable treats. Take a peek inside …
May 31, 2024, updated May 31, 2024

Every operator hopes for a successful opening day. It’s only normal to wish for a warm welcome, but Matteo Cerin and Giuseppe Caputo were blown away by the immediate turnout when they officially opened the doors to their eagerly anticipated Italian-inspired bakery Cerin Pasticceria on Sunday May 26.

“To be honest, we didn’t expect this,” says Giuseppe, with a chuckle. “We were prepared, but we didn’t expect it. When we opened and saw the line at the door, it was like a dream come true for us. After all these months of planning and spending and all of that, it was a big relief – like a big breath of fresh oxygen.”

The duo didn’t have long to savour the feeling. From the moment Matteo and Giuseppe cut the ribbon on the dispensary, a steady stream of customers started pouring in to peruse the offering, which required constant replenishing as the day went on. When we catch up with Giuseppe in the aftermath of the opening-day chaos, he gives us a quick tally of the sales.

“We sold between 600 and 700 pastries – so that includes bomboloni, three variations of croissant and then two kinds of Danishes,” says Giuseppe. “And then between cakes and mignon, it was another 700 items, then we sold around 250–300 slices of focaccia.”

It’s a whopping total, but not really a surprising one. Even amongst Brisbane’s bountiful bakery scene, Cerin Pasticceria stands out. Whereas a large percentage of local pastry spots are French-inspired, Cerin boasts a discernible Italian touch – a unique selling point. Both Matteo (a seasoned pastry chef) and Giuseppe (a veteran front-of-house wiz) are Italian – Cerin is their attempt to give fellow expatriates a taste of home, while also introducing Aussies to something new.

So, what is a pasticceria? For a start, it’s not simply a direct Italian translation of patisserie. Not only does the offering differ, but the tradition and culture surrounding the role of the local pasticceria is also singular. The word pasticceria stems from pasticcini, or ‘small pastries’. Taking the form of cakes, cookies, tarts or pastries, these mignon – or tiny treats – form a major part of every pasticceria’s offering.

“It’s a tradition in Italy, when you gather with your family on a Sunday, to go into a pasticceria after a big lunch and buy a mix of treats – that’s your sweet, a range of little finger foods on the sugary side,” explains Giuseppe. “That’s what is missing here in Brisbane. When you go into a French bakery, you find amazing things – but you find more or less the same size things. You come here and you can get a box of 20 little mignon, and they’re all different.”

Nestled in a fetching shopfront previously home to The Baker’s Arms, Cerin juxtaposes the building’s existing brickwork with a chic interior aesthetic. Atop the L-shaped marble-topped counter sits banks of gleaming cake cabinets, pastry displays and a coffee machine (which pumps out brew from Veneziano Coffee Roasters).

While the pasticceria’s large commercial kitchen is shielded from view, a window peers into the temperature-controlled dough-rolling room, giving guests a chance to catch part of the process behind the treats arrayed on the countertop.

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Over the weekend, guests could pick and choose from a range of options, including small sweets like cannoncini (pastry shells filled with creamy custard or chocolate filling), mini rhum baba (moist syrup-soaked sponge cakes), fruit tarts filled with custard and fresh seasonal fruit, and bignes (choux pastry filled with chocolate or salted-caramel cream).

Larger pasticcini included the likes of crostatina (buttery pastry crusts filled with pistachio cream or passionfrut curd), millefoglie with vanilla custard and cakes like bacio (chocolate sponge with mousse, hazelnut crunch and rocher glaze), with plans to soon introduce a selection of larger celebration-worthy cakes for pre-order and pick up.

Folks could get their flaky pastry fix with a trio of croissant-like cornetti (plain, or filled with your pick of vanilla or pistachio custard), one savoury danish (topped with carbonara cream, crispy bacon and parmesan cheese) and a sweet danish crowned with custard and fresh fruits.

There were also two kinds of bombolone (pillowy golden doughnuts filled with Nutella and vanilla custard) and maritozzo – brioche buns filled to bursting point with whipped cream. Later in the morning, Cerin Pasticceria brought out trays of freshly baked focaccia, offering two stuffed options (one filled with meat, the other veg) and two pizza-like focaccia available by the slice.

“The base is definitely traditional Italian recipes, but obviously with a little twist,” says Giuseppe, who explains that Matteo’s dough recipes go beyond flour, butter and eggs – there are also notes of vanilla extract and orange zest, even in its plain cornetto. “There are not really many rules that you have to follow – it’s a little bit of a creative job, as well.”

All of the above form the base of Cerin Pasticceria’s offering, but expect other recipes to rotate through regularly. Soon, a small deli section will house a range of Italian products supplied by friends or reputable suppliers, which – alongside the baked goods – will no doubt make Cerin a travel-worthy destination for Italian-born residents of Brisbane looking for an authentic piece of their homeland.

“We are all Italian here – we are far away from home and we want to bring back those nice memories from when we were in Italy,” says Giuseppe. “We love our cuisine and we’re very proud, so we want people to experience it.”

Cerin Pasticceria is now open to the public – head to the Stumble Guide for operating hours and other details.

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