I’m sorry but you don’t. I’ve eaten my fair share of doughnuts. I’ve done your home made, cafe specialties, Krispy Kreme, Doughnut King, America, Hong Kong, Sydney, Melbourne… I’ve had a few. But it wasn’t until the Sweet Magazine team took a road trip to the Byron Bay Blues Festival this year, that I had THE doughnut.
Blues Fest 2014
If you’ve read Issue Two of Sweet, you’ll know that I advocate getting out from behind your desk and away from your phone to experience the best that life has to offer, and for me that almost always involves eating something delicious. When Blues Fest rolled around this year, I absolutely did not under any circumstances want to sit in a car for 12 (but was actually 15) hours driving to Byron Bay. Or camp. Or drive a manual car. But as usual getting away from the computers and phones that rule my life resulted in a week of fun AND the discovery of the BEST doughnut I’ve ever eaten. It’s a big call, but I think it’s the best doughnut you’ve ever eaten too – you know if you’ve had one. If you haven’t, it will be – trust me.
Doughnuts are quintessentially American, and came to America as Danish olykoeks – literally “oily cakes”… mmm appetising! It wasn’t until the mid 19th Century that Elizabeth Gregory, aboard her son’s ship, used the spice cargo to flavour dough before deep frying. She placed nuts in it’s centre and called them doughnuts. I’d joke about the originality of the name, but as the daughter of a city with things such as The Opera House and The Harbour Bridge, I’ll stick to pointing out that it’s a lot better than ‘Oily Cakes’.
In 1920, New York based Russian refugee Adolph Levitt began selling the tasty treats from his bakery. Demand grew so strong that he invented a doughnut making machine. In 1931 the New Yorker wrote “We can tell you a little about the doughnut-making place in Broadway,” and described how “doughnuts float dreamily through a grease canal in a glass enclosed machine, walk dreamily up a moving ramp, and tumble dreamily into an outgoing basket.”, at this point Adolph was earning $25 million a year selling his doughnut machines. Adolph’s ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ moment was the beginning of the mass produced doughnut industry.
Image with thanks from Cauldrons and Cupcakes.
Byron Bay Organic Doughnuts
Fast forward to April 2014, and you’ll find me in a dusty tea farm at Byron Bay’s iconic Blues Fest staring in wonderment at the fast moving line of never less than 50 people (but often around 100) in front of the Byron Bay Organic Doughnut stand. I am a picky doughnut eater, I can’t stand the sickly pink icing or over sweetened processed jam that sits on or in most doughnuts, and I couldn’t get close enough to the stand to work out whether these would meet my doughnut need. Twice in one day though I saw people ask the gigantic line “are they really that good?!” to the entire line responding with an emphatic “Yes!”. So we joined the line.
Let me first describe to you the well oiled doughnut machine pumping out these organic delights. These experts don’t need gears and robot mechanics. With practiced precision a team of doughnutters shape, fill, and fry non-stop to keep up with the incredible demand. Crispy and brown on the outside, pure white and some how creamy piping hot dough in the middle. The delicious morsels are more than generously portioned (you’ll still want two – no one shares a Byron Bay Organic Doughnut) and either filled with chocolate, served plain, or my favourite – shaped to hold a portion of organic blackberry jam that you can use to dip the outer edges of your doughnut before shoveling the rest in, and lying back on the grass to enjoy a blissful food coma in the afternoon sun.
Ingredients play a huge part in the quality of any food, and good quality organic ingredients are a huge part of why I ate probably ten of these babies over the course of the week. We suspect though, that there’s a good deal of foodie-love and passion adding that extra special something you can taste in these delicious treats.
We’ve did some Google-ing and found this little gem from Masterchef, get cooking and share your results with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or the comments below!