French pastry with Chinan twist becomes a hit at the markets

IS there anything better than a flaky, buttery croissant?

The iconic and quintessentially French pastry is famous the world over, but there is a lesser-known pastry from France that is arguably more delicious.

It’s called the brioche suisse.

The indulgent pastry traditionally consists of brioche dough rolled out flat and then folded around vanilla pastry cream and chopped chocolate.

And is it better than a croissant?

Hannah and Luke Crouch of Brioche Suisse Patisserie think so.

The husband and wife team moved to Newcastle from their hometown of Sydney – via a stint in Tamworth – two months ago where they exclusively sell their range of brioche suisse at markets in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.

The couple initially began baking in Tamworth 18 months ago where they sold at markets in the area, while also making the trip to Newcastle as well, with a focus on baking a brioche breads and pastries.

Among those was the brioche suisse.

“Traditional brioche is good, but the suisse is incredible,” Luke says.

“We used to make brioche wreaths which were very pretty, but I used to always wish people would just pick the suisse – which looked slightly uglier – because it’s incredibly tasty.”

Once word got out about the suisse, customers began queuing up for it – often returning for a second purchase – and the pastry became the fastest-selling in their range of brioche.

The popularity of the chocolate suisse prompted the couple to add a cherry flavour which was equally as loved.

Favourites: From front to back, Chocolate Suisse, Rose Pistachio and Hazelnut Milk Chocolate. Picture: Marina Neil

Now they have nine flavour variations of the suisse.

The sweet range consists of milk chocolate hazelnut, pear caramel and pecan, rose pistachio, apricot lemon, and cherry vanilla, along with the traditional chocolate suisse, while the savoury offerings are beetroot, spinach and feta, sauerkraut salami – which uses an apple glaze – and a mushroom parmesan suisse made on a base of béchamel.

“It got to the point where people didn’t come to buy our loaves anymore – they just came to buy the chocolate suisse and the cherry suisse,” Luke says.

It was during the drive to Newcastle early one morning that Luke jokingly suggested to his wife that they should quit baking everything else to purely focus on the brioche suisse.

“The only people that are really familiar with it are the French,” Luke explains.

“We often have French customers who are quite surprised to see the suisse in all these forms and they often ask us what the heck is going on.

“It’s almost offensive that a couple of Aussies have taken the suisse and done something new, but there’s respect when they see what we have done.”

A lot of love, hard work and dedication has gone in to what they do.

The couple’s story began when they met fresh out of high school and got married soon after.

Luke earned a living driving trucks for his family’s business, while Hannah worked as a disability carer.

Luke Crouch on the hard days of start-up Brioche SuisseBrioche Suisse Patisserie appears at Newcastle City Farmers Market, Lake Macquarie Farmers Market, Pelican Foreshore Market and Warners Bay Markets.