Tag Archives: specialty food shops

Review: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Rather Long Chocolate Review

I have never seen so much chocolate in the same place in my life.  In fact, I may never have seen that much chocolate over my entire life to date, though this is harder to judge.

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When Hannah first started talking about chocolates from the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie a few months ago, I was intrigued.  For one thing, the flavours sounded fascinating.  For another thing, I’ve never been to a chocolaterie before.  And for a third thing… didn’t my former chiropractor move to the Yarra Valley and start a chocolate business?

Yes, yes he did.  (Hi Paul!)

The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie is a really gorgeous space in a really gorgeous location.  It’s situated in Yarra Glen, which seems to be a bit of winery area in the Yarra Valley, and they are working on growing more of their ingredients, so there is a budding orchard on the long hill leading down to the dam.

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The Deli, Coburg, or why I can’t be trusted alone in a gourmet food shop

It all started so innocently.  I thought it would be nice to get some good pasta, and maybe some spicy sausage for carbonara.

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The rigatone and orecchiete were, of course, sensible pasta options, and I can never resist giant shells when I see them, because you can’t get those at the supermarket.  And really, giant squid ink pasta tubes are an *invitation*, don’t you think?  Already I find myself dreaming of inside-out tuna casserole.

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Adventures with Ingredients: La Latteria and Gewürzhaus

I had the day off today, which meant it was a day to go exploring interesting food shops!  After I went to that cheesemaking workshop, my father mentioned that his grandfathers both used to make cheese (and that, in fact, Nonna used to make ricotta) and that one of his grandfathers was the village cheesemaker.  He mentioned a kind of special mozzarella which has a knob of fresh butter in the middle, which sounded fascinating enough that I asked my cheesemaking tutor about it… and she said “Oh yes, that’s called ‘Burrino’, and there’s a shop in Carlton called La Latteria which makes it…”

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Adventures with Ingredients – Gewürzhaus

Somehow, I missed knowing that there was a specialty herb and spice shop in Lygon Street.  Well, there is, and it’s called Gewürzhaus, and I’ve just been there.  It’s absolutely marvellous.  It’s also completely and utterly overwhelming – overwhelming is an understatement, actually, as I don’t know how to describe how I’m currently feeling.  I’m sort of lurching around going ‘The smells!  The smells!’ (just call me Quasinaso), and contemplating whether plain boiled potatoes with nothing on them might be a bit too rich, overspiced and exotic for dinner.  I didn’t touch anything, but my hands smell of cinnamon and vanilla and paprika and truffle and I don’t think it will ever stop.

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Adventures with ingredients – Casa Iberica!

Screen Shot 2013-01-03 at 3.29.57 AMI think I have mentioned elsewhere that I live in the Moreland region, an area which has always had a pretty big immigrant population – mostly Italian, Greek and Turkish, but with a fair scattering of people from India, North Africa and the Middle East.   But before this post goes off on a tangent about how much I love my little corner of Melbourne and the fact that it’s so friendly and vibrant and you can hear half a dozen languages spoken on any street corner and how this makes me happy in so many ways, I’ll attempt to get back to my point, which is that this is a fantastic area in which to shop for any ingredients used in the Mediterranean, Middle-East or North Africa.  It is not, however, a particularly good place to shop for ingredients for Latin-American cuisine, which is why, after reading yet another American cookbook which calls for ingredients I’ve yet to see in Australia (their supermarkets are clearly very different from ours), I asked my lovely Mexican friend at work if she had any idea where I could find chipotle peppers in adobo.

My friend immediately directed me to Casa Iberica, a family-run business in the Latin Quarter of Fitzroy, which specialises in foods from all over Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula. It really has everything – sausages and cheeses and tapas, breads and portuguese tarts and tortillas, biscuits, cakes and fruit pastes (imported from around the world or made in Australia to traditional recipes), pickles, sauces, dried and tinned beans and fish, olive oils, vinegars, jams, sauces, spice mixes, and countless varieties of dried chillis, as well as the powdered kind.  And cookbooks.  And paella pans and other essential bits of kitchenware.

Oh yes, and they also have chipotle in adobo.  Seriously, if you live in Melbourne and haven’t been to this shop, you should go and have a look at their website right now – I’ll wait.

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