The cardamom and cinnamon buns that Geeti Persson bakes under the name Inner West Swedish Baker have only been part of Melbourne's snack circuit for 15 months, but they're already a must-try. Mostly available at farmers' markets, the buns can now be had six days a week at a just-opened shopfront in West Footscray.
The bakery sells slow-ferment breads, including Swedish rye and sourdough, gluten-free brownies and Persson's tongue-in-cheek knock against the Danish pastry, the Swedish-ish. Savoury items include open tarts filled with fennel and house-smoked salmon and a sausage roll that's laced with licorice.
"Swedes are obsessed with licorice," says Persson, who wanted to bring this part of her heritage to Australia's pie and sausage roll culture.
Persson had a bakery in Sweden many years ago but until last year was in the business of event catering with her husband Paul. When the couple saw their bookings evaporate last March, Persson started baking the most Swedish of Swedish items, cardamom-spiced buns, using a food truck from the events business as her kitchen and doing home deliveries.
"It was just lovely. We had so many meetings in doorways and so on. People really got behind us and the product."
A market stall at Elwood Farmers' Market followed and by the end of the year, Inner West Swedish Baker was in the former Cobb Lane facility in Yarraville baking for customers ordering online and rotating between eight or more farmers' markets at weekends. Michael James, who founded Tivoli Road Bakery, was called in to help the team, particularly in the craft of sourdough.
"I bought his book and started to stalk him and asked him to come and train us," says Persson. "He taught us everything about sourdough and pastry."
The West Footscray shop, a joint project of Persson and husband Paul, is serving Small Batch Coffee and will offer a small number of seats when dine-in reopens, with a parklet ready for action on warmer days. The bakery's stall will still be a regular sight at farmers' markets all over Melbourne.
Open Tue-Sun 7am-3pm
549 Barkly Street, West Footscray, no phone, innerwestswedishbaker.com.au