Chef Sonia Haumonté and her husband Laurent arrive at their patisserie early every morning to bake, so that the croissants and baguettes (both the best I’ve found in Auckland), will be ready in time for the doors to open at 8am. Laurent makes the baguettes before he leaves for his job in town. Every time I see him he’s smiling, as if he knows the secret to a contented life. I believe that he does.
Sonia is a perfectionist, I know because I’ve been to one of her dessert masterclasses and seen first-hand how important it is to her to source the best ingredients, to add those final flakes of gold leaf to each dessert with tweezers. She creates seasonal desserts so beautiful that walking in the door of Patisserie Vaniyé and seeing the cabinet for the first time is an overwhelming experience. If you are one of the many thousands of people who follow her on instagram, you’ll understand what I mean.
The flavours Sonia uses are inspired both by local produce and her Thai heritage, a formidable creative combo when paired with her Paris-trained technique. I’ve tried gateaux with red bean paste and green tea macarons right alongside perfect millefeuille or a delicate Paris opéra cake. Sonia also has a small savoury offering at Vaniyé – quiches and salads that are perfect for a quick lunch or a picnic.
In-line with Sonia and Laurent’s approach to quality, they use fairtrade Kokako Organic coffee beans at Vaniyé and make hot chocolates using Valrhona chocolate. There are so many reasons why this Paris-style patisserie on a quiet back street in Parnell is one of my favourite places in town, but perhaps the most important is the way that Vaniyé makes me feel – like slowing down, treating myself, enjoying every bite.