French flair combines with luscious local produce in these gorgeous pastries by Alan Bartos.


Alan Bartos is thinking about strawberries today. “I think about how I can get the best flavour without masking it. I think about how I can eat them and how they make me happy.” It’s those sorts of thoughts that count when you look at the creations which emerge from his Kerikeri kitchen. Take a scroll down his Instagram page and you’ll see what he’s talking about: images of exquisitely crafted cakes, pastries and chocolates so delectable that you can almost smell them.

French-born and trained, Alan is executive pastry chef at The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs in Northland’s Matauri Bay. He also runs La Patisserie – an online business offering a plethora of sweet delights that both reflect his homeland and give a nod to his adopted downunder digs. There’s gâteau opéra, petit fours, choux pastries and rum baba for starters; tarts and chocolates and brioche, too. Glorious, glorious stuff, all of it.

Alan and partner Noemie Alonso – she’s also a pastry chef – run the business together, doing everything from scratch. And for the lucky locals who live within a half-hour radius, they deliver to the door. The couple met at a cookery school in Provence in 2010. A desire for adventure brought them to Kauri Cliffs four years ago and they settled just outside Kerikeri. La Patisserie was born out of lockdown, when business at Kauri Cliffs was quieter.

The lad from Lyon was 16 when he embarked on his cooking career. “I wasn’t really suited to study in class. I talked to my mother and she pushed me into doing something with my hands – something I like.”

It was a push in the right direction. After four years at cookery school, he completed a L’École Valrhona course to perfect his chocolate-making skills. Of those particular wee gems emerging from La Patisserie, he says: “There’s a lot of work involved, but the result when everything is done is like jewellery. It’s like a beautiful little piece of art.”

For those not close to his adopted home, Alan has come up with some baking delights for you to try your own hand at. In keeping with his commitment to his community, he’s using local flavours and products, including honey from Maccabee’s Far North Honey. (Yes, this is indeed beekeeper Nicky Maccabee’s true name.) The family operation produces high-grade active kānuka and mānuka honey from their Mangonui hives. In true pursuit of ensuring the luscious stuff stays local, batches are kept small to ensure every pot of honey can be traced back to its site location. Says Alan, “Everyone is always coming back for Maccabee’s honey; it’s really, really good.” The compliment is reciprocated by Nicky’s life and business partner Delwyn Simpson. “Alan and Noemie do some really lovely work. We’re very happy to have them here,” she says, adding that at the Kerikeri Christmas twilight market, people queued for La Patisserie products. Nowadays, online customers too far away to enjoy home delivery will drive many kilometres to get them.

Alan’s desire to showcase Kerikeri produce includes his recipe for lemon and macadamia choux pastries. “We’ve got really good macadamia growers and lemon orchards here,” he says. “This is a combination of flavours I’ve been doing for a while, and it works great.”

With all his creations he constantly tries for improvement. “I’m always trying to put the product at the front of the page – make it really prominent – and then find what I can to make it even better, and get the balance just right.” GERALDINE JOHNS
Alan Bartos was a finalist in the Cuisine Good Food Awards 2021/2022 in the Best Pastry Chef category.