Take a visit to a French-inspired patisserie in the Hunter Valley
Meeting Angela Joy, owner of the French-inspired Hunter Valley Garden’s cafe Gigi & Chix Bon Bon, it’s her incredible style and infectious laugh that grabs your attention. Openly admitting she loves the finer things in life, it is however her love of cooking that soon becomes the star of the show.
Whilst Angela's love for baking is clearly evident, it wasn't necessarily the path she had chosen to take,
“Coming into this business was basically for convenience, I have two young girls, Gigi & Chix, (which is how Angela affectionately refers to them) and I am a single Queen and I wanted to do something that allowed me to be available to my baby girls.
“I would also have regretted not doing this, as I love cooking.”
Growing up in Zimbabwe, Angela recalls it wasn’t anyone in particular who inspired her to start baking, more that she was given the opportunity to have a go and make mistakes,
“I’ve always enjoyed entertaining people via food, that’s how I enjoy people’s company, and I discovered that early on in my childhood, my mum was aware of this and she helped facilitate this love.
“There wasn’t anyone in the kitchen cooking with me, it was just me burning cakes (laughs).
“I didn’t learn to cook using recipes, I would just start with 20 pounds of sugar and 10 pounds of salt and I’d be like, 'well that doesn’t work' (laughs) and that’s how I learnt to bake.”
Moving to Australia in 2002, to study Health Science at Griffith University, Angela spent much of her time in Sydney where she was on track to establish her own haute couture range of children’s clothing,
“The haute couture business required me to travel overseas a lot, and with two young children this didn’t suit my lifestyle, I needed something which allowed me to be present.”
A three month holiday in the South of France with Gigi & Chix provided Angela with the inspiration she was looking for, and on her return the wheels were put in motion.
“My purpose of traveling was to do nothing, we ate our way through the South of France. That experience of just being present was so much fun.”
“I was however inspired by the patisseries in France who invest in everything, the way the food looks, the way you sit, the crockery and cutlery, so it becomes this whole experience.”
Launching Gigi & Chix Bon Bon during Covid, Angela explains she wasn’t afraid to fail, it was more about being accepted by her peers,
“I grew up making desserts, I wasn’t doing something I wasn’t familiar with. It was more scary to be accepted, rather than what I was producing, how will people take someone who hasn’t had formal training, but I never had any doubt about my own skills.”
“I love to cook, I live and I breathe food so I knew I would always continue cooking if this didn’t work.”
In addition to Angela’s delicately beautiful French-inspired pastries, a visit to Gigi & Chix presents guests with a Breakfast, Brunch and High Tea menu.
Angela’s confidence with flavour combinations can only be understood by tasting and with a long list of tarts, madeleines, macaroons, swiss rolls and mille-feuille, your biggest dilemma will be what not to order.
A must visit whilst in the Hunter Valley, Angela will welcome you with open arms and will sure to have you feeling at home in no time soon.