There is nothing I love more than having a happy little wander around food stores of any sort, especially those that are a little out of the ordinary. While there is plenty up here in the hills to keep me fairly happy, I am very partial to a foray into suburbs afar (well, afar from me, at least), and I had the opportunity to do just that a few weeks ago with a friend. With cash in our wallets and plenty of shopping bags in our hands we headed down to the inner western suburbs of Adelaide to check out the offerings from a few favourites that may or may not be familiar to you.
Our first stop was at El Choto the tiny, but surprisingly capacious Spanish cafe/delicatessen at 124 Port Rd., Hindmarsh. El Choto stocks a beautiful range of gourmet Spanish ingredients including cheese, chocolate, anchovies, smallgoods and spices, terracotta and black ceramic bakeware, paella pans and Churreras – churros makers for home use. They also offer catering services for parties and are shortly to begin holding wine and tapas evenings.
They have limited amounts of seating in the rear of the store and when we there they were doing a very brisk trade in coffees, hot chocolates, and lunches – both eat in and take-away. The range of salads and pre-made rolls available looked seriously tempting and were being snapped up as quickly as they could make them, but we settled for a coffee for my friend and a hot chocolate for me, with a tart to share. My hot chocolate was simply divine – thick and rich, with a hint of spices that had me swooning and the locally made custard tart was light and creamy and ever-so-slightly lemony – just perfect! We drifted out with smoked paprika and chocolate supplies, very happy girls indeed. All in all, a perfect spot for gourmet supplies or a chocolate or java hit that won’t disappoint!
From Hindmarsh we took ourselves along South Road to Thebarton and the Adelaide Lebanese Bakerytucked away at the dead end of Ann Street. Another small space that is packed to the gills with goodies, this bakery is home to the flat Lebanese bread that we are all familiar with, as well as a mouthwatering selection of pastries in addition to a large range of nuts, seeds, oils and Middle Eastern cooking supplies. The bakery also does a very steady lunch trade in flat breads with various toppings including my favourite, zataar – a blend of oregano (and/or thyme), sesame seeds and salt – which are heated up in their large oven before being eaten and are truly delicious!
On West Thebarton Road, on the opposite corner from Ann Street is a very unremarkable building with a homemade sign on the front declaring it to be a Persian supermarket. Entered from the rear, this is another little treasure trove of exotic and sometimes hard to find ingredients. They have a good selection of spices, seeds, pulses, date products such as date paste and date syrup, plus a slightly startling array of sugars. The Iranians like their tea sweet and have a good range of ways to achieve this including crystalized sugar sticks with saffron and mint flavoured sugar cubes (which are actually triangles), all at astonishingly cheap prices. Both of these stores have a fantastic assortment of Middle Eastern cooking ingredients at remarkably competitive prices, plus a few things that were very new to me. I was tempted by the Bergamot jam, but has anyone out there tried carrot jam?
Our final port of call for the day was a refreshment stop at the wonderful Red Door Bakery in Queen Street, Croydon. Queen Street has reinvented itself in the last few years and bears absolutely no resemblance to the street where I lived in a share house more years ago than I care to remember. It is home now to funky cafes and interesting little shops and, at the Red Door, some seriously tasty pastry goods. Using actual butter in the sinfully delicous pastry and seasonal, regional ingredients, they turn out a range of pies, sausage rolls and croissants that no self-respecting foodie can resist.
So we didn’t!