Sydney, Australia
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Glow-in-the-Dark Doughnuts Blaze Through Sydney

One of the world’s biggest festivals lights up all aspects of Australia’s picturesque city

Just when you thought one of the world’s most beautiful cities couldn’t get any brighter, Sydney lights up — literally — for an incredible month of “lights, music, and ideas” in its annual Vivid Sydney festival. Sydney’s most iconic landmarks have come to life in incredible transformations that have taken social media by storm, with some of the world’s best artists working to create mind-blowing installations and bright displays. Hundreds of thousands of tourists from all corners of the globe flock to the city each night to see structures including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House decorated with mind-blowingly colorful lights and elaborate projected images.

But it’s not just Sydney’s landmarks that have turned on the lights for Vivid this year. The city is already known for its exceptional dining experiences for travelers, but during Vivid, some of Sydney’s best restaurants and chefs have concocted one-off special menus, embracing the luminescent theme of Vivid.

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Along with tasting menus, communal dinners, and outdoor pop-up bars in picturesque locations like the Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens, guests at Vivid have been able to eat some de-light-ful (it was there — and had to be done) pieces of tasty art. Oh Boo Chocolates have created psychedelic bites of coconut with citrus zest and blue curaçao liqueur chocolates. The end result: an hypnotic swirl of captivating color in a bite-sized hit of chocolate. Glowing effervescent cocktails and bright Technicolor teas are keeping explorers of the city hydrated, while Devon Café has crafted an eye-cuttingly bright purple-haze-hued sundae of ube soft serve with leche flan and taro.

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It’s no surprise that one of the most acclaimed edible treats of Vivid comes in the form of the universally loved doughnut — but in true Vivid style, it’s found in a black-lit glow cave, where its eye-blinding neon icing has taken social media by storm. Black Star Pastry, a boutique patisserie in the Sydney suburb of Newtown, has sold over 300 “GlowNuts” each night as part of Vivid’s glowing dessert bar, and they’ve been unable to keep up with the demand.


The now infamous GlowNut is a yeast doughnut with yuzu icing, which is in line with the patisserie’s theme of the amalgamation of international flavors. “What we do best is take those traditional European patisserie concepts and fuse them with Asian flavors,” says David Henley, chief of staff at Black Star Pastry. The chefs at Black Star created the unusually radiant pastry by conducting various experiments to see what foods they were able to make glow without adversely affecting the taste. “Through trial and error, we found out various things — like that you can’t really add the glow to basic cream, because it essentially stops it from working in the recipe. So we narrowed it down to jellies and icings, so then we went for the doughnut, which seemed to be the logical progression.”


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The end result has foodies buzzing with iridescent excitement, and understandably so. When you’re presented with a doughnut that looks like it’s come straight out of Homer Simpson’s nuclear power plant, most anyone would squeal with delight — before posting a photo all over Facebook. If you need a doughnut fix, click here to see 17 kinds of doughnuts from around the world