Meet Your Maker | Outstanding Producer Profile
Where does the Paneton story begin? The romantically minded might say it began 38 years ago when Dominique Colombie met Aucklander Celia Elder in Paris. Sharing a love of French cuisine, the couple shifted to New Zealand to open Newmarket’s La Tarterie in 1986. Their quiches and croissants became a local sensation, which prompted the couple to open another location and expand their menu.
In 1991, Paneton French Bakery opened, offering a full range of baked breads, sandwiches, pastries and the ever-popular tartes that began it all. The name Paneton reflects this embrace of breads, as the word refers to a traditional basket used to shape dough while it rises. Over the past few decades, the business has evolved alongside New Zealanders’ interest in artisan food producers.
Today, an increasing number of Kiwis are looking for fresh, locally baked goods made using New Zealand ingredients. Part of Paneton’s consistent quality is their use of New Zealand butter in making their signature pastries. Dominique explains that French butter is cultured to have a stronger flavor while New Zealand butter has a much milder palate. This makes what Dominique describes as a finer pastry, which is especially important when making the perfect croissant.
“It [the perfect croissant] has to be buttery, flaky, a bit sweet but not too sweet, and above all it must be fresh – that’s why people are loving our frozen croissant.
People can bake them at home in the morning, and nothing can take the place of a warm croissant fresh from the oven.”
The French Connection
Why is French baking so delicious, even when it’s made halfway around the world from New Zealand ingredients? Does Dominique possess a coveted family recipe? After all, his father’s Patisserie Colombie was an institution in the village of Montesquieu-Volvestre. Dominique explains:
“You can take any cookbook, and we use the same recipes. There’s no miracle. It’s just the way you do it, and I will say the most important effort you make is to be consistent. That’s the biggest thing.
Anybody can have a good idea and do something once or twice, but to do it consistently year after year, that’s a different matter. There aren’t many people like us in New Zealand. Not many people will spend 36 years in the same business, and I don’t know if we’re crazy, but we enjoy it!”
This multi-generational approach to specialising and perfecting one passion—that’s the secret to the French culinary tradition that Dominique shares with his family. He and Celia have passed their love of French baking to their daughter Madeleine. She says the family is always looking to the future, improving systems and technology in baking while managing to keep the business simple, using the best ingredients and recipes that consistently taste great.
Enjoying Paneton at Home
To enjoy Paneton Bakery’s delicious creations at home, find selected Paneton Ready to Rise (frozen) pastries and Ready to Bake (parbaked) breads at the following stores: Farro, Moore Wilson, selected New World supermarkets, Fresh Choice, Supervalue and specialty food stores.
If you’re in Auckland, call into the Paneton French Bakery at 21 Halsey St to experience everything that is good about French baking.
Learn more about Paneton on their website panetonbakery.co.nz and by following them on Facebook @PanetonFrenchBakery.
Paneton Bakery’s Outstanding NZ Awards
2018 Gold Medal, Paneton Bakery, Ready to Rise Croissants
2018 Highly Commended, Paneton Bakery, Mixed Grain Loaf
2018 Runner-Up (Earth), Paneton Bakery Flaky Puff Pastry
2017 Finalist, Ready to Rise Flaky Puff Pastry