Bellingen’s much loved Swiss Patisserie and Bakery has moved back to its Swiss roots with new owners (Urs) Rick and Daniela Rickenbach imbibing the breads, buns and pastries with a distinctive European flavour. Rick has come full circle, having opened the doors of the original Bellingen Swiss Patisserie and Bakery in 1992. He sold the business four years later and has had several reincarnations since, including a stint living in Switzerland, but repurchased the business this year. “I have come home,” says Rick and has brought his new wife Daniela and his authentic Swiss baking skills with him.
Rick was only 14 years old when he began his training as a pastry chef and baker in his hometown, not far from Zurich. “My sister worked in the local bakery. As kids we would pop in to see her and I became fascinated with the idea of baking,” says Rick. He learnt the art of authentic Swiss bread making and the more intricate skills needed to produce Swiss sweet treats.
“Every region of Switzerland produces its own variety of breads and pastries, so my training was intense,” says Rick. “The key to producing the perfect pastry is in balancing the ingredients. The ratio of filling to dough is crucial. Too much filling and the dough won’t rise,” explains Rick.
After selling the patisserie mark one, Rick produced the wood fired pizzas at the Bellingen Markets and local festivals for 10 years and even spent time making sandals for AWL Leather at the Old Butter Factory in Bellingen. Rick left our Shire in 2009 for a life of travelling and adventuring and of course, meeting Swiss born Daniela. However, the “pull” to return to Bellingen and in particular to bake again, has brought Rick and Daniela back.
So what can we expect from the reincarnated Bellingen Swiss Patisserie and Bakery?
“Authentic Swiss Sourdough Rye, pretzels, beer bread (beer supplied by our own Bellingen Brewery & Co.) and walnut bread. We are producing both savoury and sweet quiche with the finest of pastries. My years in Australia and travelling have meant that my baking style is an original and eclectic blend of the traditional European and more international styles,” says Rick.
Rick is particularly excited about his ‘Dunedoo Crumble’. “We run the hazelnuts through the mill several times until we produce a creamy paste. This is then mixed with the finest of chocolate and authentic swiss custard to create the filling. The crumble really reflects our blend of the Swiss with the Oz,” says Rick. Rick and Daniela plan to introduce many new delights over the coming months.
The Bellingen Swiss Patisserie and Bakery is open weekdays from early till 5pm and Saturdays until 2.30pm, closed Sunday. “Come in and sample our breads and pastries. Free tastings will always be on offer. We want locals to experience the best.”