TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN STORIES give you an insight into many of the local businesses and characters you will find when you Escape to Tamborine Mountain.
C’EST MAGNIFIQUE – FRANQUETTE
The magic of Tamborine Mountain lies, according to many people, in the charm of its small-town atmosphere, of the way it exists in its own bubble so far from the troubles of city life, and yet it’s more connected than you might think in more ways than one. That community feeling is universal, one that can exist anywhere in the world that captures the same spirit, and thanks to Jerome Favier—owner of Franquette, the mountain’s new French bakery— the divide is smaller than ever. Offering the taste of an authentic French experience, Jerome’s story is as fascinating as his baguettes are delicious, and he’s happy to serve up both today.
by Kyle Hitchmough
How long have you owned Franquette?
I created the business in mid-winter last year, but I opened the doors on the mountain on the 9th of March.
What makes a French bakery different to an Australian bakery?
What makes it really French is the range of sandwiches, the pastries, the baguettes… If you go to France, you would find pretty much the same things. The look and feel I tried to reproduce what you can find in France, the styles of the tables and chairs, the architecture, the stripes on the canvas over the awning, and the lighting underneath as well. It’s what we call “guinguette”. The town every summer would have a party and we would set up lights like this with a dance floor, music, orchestras and stuff, and that is a “guinguette”. We do have loaves though, sourdough loaves, to match the need of the customers.
What does the name, “Franquette”, mean?
It’s part of the expression “a la bonne franquette”, and that is a way of eating, of sharing a meal with people. You bring something, I’ll bring something and we all share it. There is no fuss or competition, it’s just simple and honest. The root of the word “franquette” is frank, as in honest. My sister’s name is Francine, or Fran, and Franquette used to be our nickname for her. There are layers!
Do you have a most popular product?
The fougasse. It is an olive-type bread, made with baguette dough. We do two versions of it, a ham and cheese one and an olive and rosemary. Everybody loves the olive and rosemary, because it’s so fluffy, it’s not too crunchy. People are more used to softer bread here.
Where do you source your ingredients?
Everything we use is Australian. The flour is sustainably made in New South Wales, it is organic, and I do believe in the sustainable process. All the meat is from Australia, I get it all in bulk and then we slice everything in our kitchen and have everything fresh. There are no nasties or chemical use, everything is made from scratch in-house.
What goes into the average day here for you?
A lot! It starts at 2 o’clock or 3 o’clock in the morning. We get the dough from the fridge mixed the day before and we divide and shape it and then it becomes rolls and baguettes for the sandwiches to be made at 6 o’clock, so it’s divided, shaped and baked within 4 hours. At the same time, we start the mixing for the dough for the next day. We bake all the bread as well in the morning and then I start making pastries. It takes me pretty much all day because I have to cover breaks for my staff, so I am helping and supervising at the same time. It doesn’t stop!
Have you noticed any particular trends in your clientele?
A lot of young families who are aware of their health and don’t want to spend their money on cheap bread. They would rather spend a few more dollars on something that they believe in, that they know how it’s made, they can see the whole process, and they know there are no nasties or chemicals used and it’s safe for their kids.
Are you a local? What’s your opinion on the Tamborine Mountain area and community?
I am! It’s very similar to where I’m from, size-wise. It’s very eclectic on the mountain. There’s not one profile of people, there’s all types, which is good. On top of that there is the tourism. I fit, I think, and I like to think I’m a good addition here. I love it, I love the cool weather. It doesn’t take too long to reach an airport, or the beach, or anything, but it’s far enough so that it’s quiet. Then you have such beautiful areas like the waterfalls, the paragliders’ spot… Yesterday I went to see the sunrise, it was beautiful.
Can you tell us more about where you’re originally from in France?
Tournus in Bourgogne on the Saone river. It’s a small town. It’s very touristy because of the huge Roman medieval church. The town was built around it, like most medieval towns. It’s beautiful. It’s very famous for the food as well. There’s four restaurants that have two or three stars in such a small town. I don’t think there’s anything like that anywhere else in the world for that sized city. There are a few famous chefs.
What’s your favourite thing to do on the mountain?
I have a big dog, so I go from Gallery Walk over the boardwalk close to Main Street to the big dog park. I do love that sunset spot where the paragliders are. I don’t know many other spots. Yet!
What do you think Franquette really provides to the area?
An experience. I provide something original. Of course, you can get a classic sandwich like a ham and cheese anywhere, but I like to think our range is original. I don’t think you’ll see a toastie like our French ones anywhere. If you’re looking for a weekend out, whether you’re from the Gold Coast or Brisbane or local, you’ll walk in the morning to the waterfall or do something else enjoyable and then you can come here for lunch and to chill. I’ve got picnic rugs now set up and people are napping on the rugs! It’s part of the combo for a nice chill weekend away from the city.
What do you enjoy most about doing this?
The feedback! That’s what makes me proud. I’ve worked really hard to get Franquette where it is, and people are saying “We loved it.” “Thank you very much, that was awesome.” “Really good, we’ll come back,” all of that and that’s all I want.
Is there anything else you’d like to go on the record?
We’re open Thursday to Monday so far, 7-3. Saturdays 8-3, and Sundays 8-2. But that might change! We’ve got a lot of people coming at 2 o’clock thinking we’re open till 3 or 4, and they’re disappointed. I don’t have anything left anyway at 2! You have to get in early.
1/159 LONG RD, TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN, QLD 4270
Tamborine Mountain has everything you need to create an awesome experience!!