Pierre Roelofs says Melbourne's pastry scene has "changed quite a bit over the last five years".
The acclaimed pastry chef believes “people are beginning to focus more on exceptional taste and texture, moving away from an Instagram-fuelled obsession focusing purely on how things look."
"I see a move towards less sugar, less food colouring and fussy techniques, and a renewed celebration of simplicity, revisiting and modernising pastry classics such as eclairs, canelés and perfectly executed tarts."
You can expect some of these treats when Grub Food Van unites with Flour Market and some of Melbourne's best pastry chefs to host Sweet Set – a series of eight high-tea afternoons beginning in August.
Each Sunday will feature a tasting menu of four sweet and four savoury dishes from the day's chefs.
Roelofs and Philippa Sibley will jointly host one Sunday, and Jo Barrett from Oakridge Wines will host another.Cobb Lane Bakery's Matt Forbes and bakers from LuxBite, Beatrix, Bibelot, Citizen Cacao, Fig and Salt, and All Are Welcome will also make appearances.
Roelofs and Sibley are still perfecting recipes for the event, but Roelofs says, "Philippa is going for something light, fruity and fresh" so he will "be heading the opposite direction".
"Think muscovado caramel, dark chocolate and spices."
LuxBite is developing four new desserts, not available in-store, exclusively for its Sweet Set menu, while Georgie Castle of Citizen Cacao will be offering a selection of vegan treats.
Barrett, who’s hosting a Sweet Set in September, agrees with Roelefs that diners are increasingly seeking simplicity in their desserts, but are also willing to be adventurous. She’ll be serving desserts centred around native Australian ingredients on the day she hosts.
"Desserts are becoming more direct with punchy, interesting flavour combos with only a few elements," she says. "You see more and more chefs using less traditional ingredients in the dessert menus like vegetables and animal fats. I love the evolution."
Sweet Set Decadent Sundays run every Sunday from August 6 to September 24. Buy tickets here.