I am a fan of milk and cookies so you can imagine how pleased I was to find that a new milk and cookie bar has recently opened close to my house. This isn't just like any cookie bar you have seen before. As you enter the shop you will be intrigued by the quirky décor, the vibrant colours and the chalk board that lists all the delicious cookies and drinks. The tea pots and old fashioned milk bottles harken back to an era long gone.
I wanted to learn more about this unique business located just by the Civic Theatre in Central Auckland so I interviewed the owner - Deanna Yang. Deanna is an energetic, passionate and highly driven 22 year old. The process of starting the business has been a long one; it has taken her years to get to where she is now. Whilst at University and studying full time Deanna worked three jobs to save enough money to start the business.
Q. What inspired you to open a milk and cookie bar?
A. "The inspiration behind the look of 'Moustache' and the feel of 'Moustache' is my whole childhood growing up in New Zealand. I think that's why the look of the shop is quite old school yet playful which is a reflection of my personality. For example we have a chalk board because I used to love writing with chalk. When I was a kid the only way I knew how to eat cookies was to dunk them in milk and it always baffled me that no one ever sold them together. We have been open for just over three months now. On my bucket list there are 17 things and opening a cookie shop is right at the top. I had written the list when I was a child and when I was a kid I used to sell a lot of cookies to my friends. At University I studied journalism and in my second year I realised it wasn't the career path suitable for me, so I started looking at other options and I looked at my bucket list and I thought why can't I do number three on my list? So I started to develop the concept of 'Moustache' - the milk and cookie bar, the branding, the design features and what I wanted the place to look like."
Q. What type of cookies do you sell?
A. "We have the regular cookies, such as choc chunk, white choc macadamia and cinnamon. But we have also got our unique take on cookies, so we have a 'Nutella' cookie and a peanut butter cookie. We pipe in the 'Nutella' or peanut butter and surround it with cookie dough, put hazel nuts on top and we use 'Whittakers' chocolate. It's quite special because normally when you buy a cookie you don't expect to get a layer of 'Nutella' on the inside, so it's a little bit different. Also we have a black forest cookie, which is dark chocolate and berries and a 'Snickers' cookie, which has 'Snickers' on the inside and outside which is also very popular. Each Monday we have what's called 'Moustache Mondays' where we make a new flavour every week, it's our new year's resolution and it forces us to be creative. This week we brought out a caramel cookie, so next Monday we will replace it with a different cookie."
Q. How do you make the cookies and what ingredients do you use?
A. "We have high standards as to what we put into our cookies, for example we only use premium Dutch cocoa and cage free eggs. We only use 'Whittakers' chocolate and we don't use any compound chocolate. 'Whittakers' has a really beautiful taste. We make everything on site and all the cookies are made from scratch. We have an open plan kitchen, so the customers can see the ingredients we use, there's transparency and customers can see the staff baking and hand crafting every cookie. Every cookie is made with so much love and we are always pushing ourselves to be creative and to make new flavours."
I was momentarily distracted by all the delicious ingredients displayed on the shelf in the open plan kitchen, such as the 'Snickers', 'Oreos' and marshmallows! Whilst talking to Deanna it is clear that she is very passionate about what she does, which must be the driving force for such commitment to her business and delivering a high standard of customer care. Whilst in the shop I noticed that some of the customers took a while to decide what to eat, after all, how do you decide when everything on the menu looks so tempting and delicious? Deanna explains that the most popular cookie is the choc chunk cookie, which is not surprising as the cookies are baked every half an hour so the chocolate in the cookie is still gooey!
Q. What else do you serve apart from milk and cookies?
A. "We serve milkshakes, teas, coffees, hot chocolates and mochas. Again with our hot chocolates and mochas we only use 'Whittakers' chocolate, we derive the taste from melting the chocolate, rather than using powders and syrups. Also our milkshakes are popular, we have a 'Nutella' milkshake, a peanut butter milkshake and at the moment we have a 'peppermint Aero' milkshake- we go beyond the basic milkshake flavours such as vanilla and strawberry."
It is clear why 'Moustache' is so unique, not only is every cookie hand made on site, Deanna and her team love to come up with new flavours and think outside the box. Whilst their creativity in making new flavours is modern, one thing is for sure; the good old fashioned dunking of your cookie in your milk jar is definitely encouraged!
Written by Sara Akkad