Balfour’s 165th Birthday extravaganza!

Balfour’s bakery recently had their 165th birthday, and treated us to a fantastic and somewhat ridiculous celebratory event.

For those that didn’t know, of which we were two such people, Balfour’s is Australia’s oldest continually operating bakery. No, that doesn’t mean frog cakes have been doing the rounds since Queen Victorias times, but this is no small achievement.

So how do you go about celebrating a slightly odd numbered birthday? You take people to the Grand Lodge of Freemasons on North Terrace and serve them Bird in Hand sparkling, while a classical 3 piece provide the ambience, while feeding them (actually amazing) Thai sausage rolls, mini potato pies and other such pastry bound snacks more commonly found in pie warmers.

Yep, this part of the night was a little…. odd.

Enter Lauren from Adelady. She leads us through a brief history of Balfour’s (where I learnt that small piece of trivia I shared before) before inviting the three piece to play something a little different, being a bit of Coldplay from their entirely forgettable third album.

Yep, still strange.

HOWEVER – caps entirely intentional – we then were invited to get our phones out, and make our way to the doors either side of where Lauren was standing, as we were going on a journey to the FUTURE!

Cause we are Lauren, whatever you say.

Well, the video kind of speaks for itself.

<insert video>

Yep, we had pyrotechnics, dancing frog cakes, food displays everywhere, a prep station in the middle where we could voyeristically watch doughnuts being lovingly dunked into their chocolate icing (oooh baby), near night club levels of musical volume and samples galore. There was gin (the amazing Adelaide Gin). There was wine. There was beer. There were piles of boxes in the corner so people could take some samples home….

Wait, what? Free food you say! Well this changes everything!

As an adjunct to my general story of celebrating ongoing success and innovation, I have to add in some observations of human behaviour. It was like watching one of those time lapse videos of a swarm of locusts destroying crops. Within minutes of spotting one person with a box, suddenly everyone had one and the displays were utterly stripped. I witnessed people reaching in with tongs to the previously enclosed plastic display cases, trying desperately to reach that next stack of doughnuts to try and prise them apart (which were stuck together – because it was a display). I saw boxes of food so full the lid was being held over the top of its contents resembling a person trying to protect their modesty using a small tea towel.

In short, this is basically how looting starts. I spoke to one of the PR organisers as we were leaving (lovely girl, but didn’t get her name to add to the story) and they had thought that the take home thing would be at the end of the night, ie when people were leaving. Not sonething that happened immediately. They also shook their head at how this all went, particularly as we were standing back in the foyer where even the beautiful entry display didn’t escape the destruction.

Anyhow, beyond the somewhat manic behaviour of many, this was an absolutely sensational evening. I was having such a good time, learning more about Balfour’s history and also what they are planning for the future. There is a new vegan range which I can assure you is bloody delicious, and the pastry is as good as with their other products. The wagyu sausage rolls I consumed arguably a couple too many of, and I even got to experience my first frog cake. Yep, that’s not a typo. But not growing up in SA, this just isn’t something you see elsewhere in the country. I also learnt I will be near neighbours with a new Adelaide Gin employee (see everyone knows someone connected to Nairne), and I also learnt that I dont take nearly enough photos. Mind you, after the plague moved through there wasn’t much to photograph.

All up, this was a highly enjoyable, entertaining and educational evening. Their new products are fantastic, and it’s fantastic to see such a large producer continuing to innovate and add to their product offering. Congrats and happy birthday Balfour’s – you have a new fan in me for sure. But sorry, I just don’t like frog cakes. And on that controversial point, I will sign off.

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