Sweet smell of festive fare

Michel Mussett (centre) with staff members Sharelle Ernst (right) and Emmanuelle McGlade and some of the delicious goodies they've been baking during their busiest time of the year. Photo: Eve Lamb

Eve Lamb

The aroma greets you the moment you walk in the door.
Rich and sweet, it’s the smell of freshly baked biscuits hot from the oven at Castlemaine micro factory Michel’s Fine Biscuit Co.
Come this time of year there’s an added festive dimension to the mouthwatering fragrance – the fruits and spices that go into Michel’s specialty fruit mince pies and the warm, buttery notes of shortbread.
“Huge,” is the way Michel Mussett describes the lead up to Christmas and the festive holiday season – the busiest time of year for her business.
“This is our last week of cooking before Christmas,” she explained when the Mail dropped in last week.
“It starts the last week of October and goes right through to this week.”
Strong demand from a legion of loyal and hungry customers has enabled this local business to forge on despite the impacts of COVID, with Michel employing five extra casual staff in addition to her usual two to cope with the seasonal upsurge.
But even this successful local enterprise has been impacted by COVID and the lockdowns of the past two years.
“The biggest impact has been losing our wholesale corporate clients which are slowly coming back – the big banks and law firms,” Michel says.
“It’s because they’ve been working from home so there are no coffees being made, basically.
“We’ve lost all bar one of our corporates in Sydney.”
Despite this Michel says it’s been the “exceptionally good, loyal clientele,” that’s seen her business continue to bake, turning out it’s signature products beloved by customers as well as the festive season specialty fare. Read more in the Castlemaine Mail…

Eve Lamb
Journalist and photographer Eve Lamb has a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) degree from Deakin University and a Master of Arts (Professional Writing) from Deakin University. She has worked for many regional newspapers including the Hamilton Spectator and the Warrnambool Standard, and has also worked for metro daily, The Hobart Mercury, and The Sunday Tasmanian. Eve has also contributed to various magazines including Australian Cyclist.