Pembroke Pâtisserie delivering the goods [Sponsored Content]

3 minutes read
Posted 8 June, 2023
Kirsty Matt Schmutsch copy v4

Wānaka’s Pembroke Pâtisserie team are still buzzing from being crowned New Zealand’s Best French Bakery in March. They beat nine bakeries across the country and while the recognition of winning an award is amazing, it’s business as usual at the speciality store where they’re continuing to focus on making the best pastries, desserts and cakes, using the freshest ingredients and with the utmost care.

The Albert Town-based business won the People’s Choice, Best French Bakery award at the 2023 French New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Gala & Business Awards (FNZCCI). Receiving 45% of the votes, co-owner Kristy Schmutsch was at the event in Auckland to receive the prize. She said the dinner was beautiful and it was a big event. She credits the win to the staff at Pembroke and the Wānaka community, who really got behind the cause.

“I try to enter us into awards at least once a year,” says Schmutsch. “I was actually quite surprised that we not only won it, but how enthusiastic people were to vote for us – that was pretty mind-blowing. It’s really nice that our community supports us as much as they do, which is pretty cool.”

At the store you’ll find an array of delicious sweet and savoury treats, all of which are exquisitely handcrafted to get your tastebuds excited. Delicately-made chocolate eclairs, crispy baguettes, creamy filled doughnuts, crisp and airy macarons and croissants line the cabinets and shelves.

“Everybody’s got their own favourite, but the almond croissants are really popular – they always have been. Our sandwiches, ham and cheese croissants, custard squares and doughnuts are also really popular. We have such a big range and we like to innovate as well, so we always have something new, depending on the season or what the chefs are focusing on.”

Pembroke had humble beginnings, starting out with just Schmutsch and her husband Matt doing the weekly farmers’ market at Pembroke Park. Their popularity grew and the pair started a wholesale bakery goods business, selling to other cafes and businesses around town. After four years of that, demand was high and their backyard shipping container that served as the commercial kitchen just wasn’t cutting it anymore.

“That got too small and we got too busy – we had two kids. Matt does all the baking and recipes, he’s the chef, and I do everything else – all the marketing, admin and compliance. Our roles are pretty well-defined, we work together but separately. We opened the shop in 2018. We started to look for a new premises, which took us quite a while, then we found the spot in Albert Town and that’s where we decided to open the shop.”

The pair’s backgrounds suited their move to opening a shop – Matt has almost 20 years cooking experience as a Pastry Chef and Head Chef in New Zealand and abroad. Kirsty has a strong hospitality background, working in restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels – she’s also worked as a cheesemaker, studied French and completed a Master’s Degree in European Studies.

The shop has been operating for four and a half years now and as the business and Kirsty and Matt’s family has grown, their roles within Pembroke have developed. Kirsty works more behind-the-scenes these days and they have a strong team to support them.

“We’re a pretty family-orientated business and we’re comfortable here, doing what we’re doing. For us, it’s always trying to perfect what we’re doing. It’s not necessarily about looking for the next best and biggest thing. People always ask us what’s next, and we’re still evolving what we’re doing. We haven’t reached that need to expand because we’re so focused on what we do – we just keep making beautiful food.

“Maybe I need a trip back to France for some inspiration – that would be good. In terms of the business, we just keep training our staff, looking after our people and keeping our customers happy. That’s pretty satisfying within itself,” says Schmutsch.

If you’re wanting a wee taste of France, a visit to Pembroke Pâtisserie is a must. You’ll find the quaint café tucked away at 20 Alison Avenue, Albert Town, which is just a five-minute drive from Wānaka. You can peruse their award-winning menu at

Issue 30 June 23 print
Issue 30 June 23 printa


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