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.


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.

Anyway, clearly one has to buy good ricotta to go in one’s pasta shells, and The Deli also has that really good cocoa I can’t get elsewhere, so it makes sense to pick some up.  Also, I’m out of harissa and the cookbook I accidentally bought this morning had a recipe in it that used harissa, so that’s clearly a reasonable purchase.  And I use dried mushrooms *all the time*, which is why I’m out of them.  And need more.  This is all 100% totally justifiable.


And then, look, someone has invented tahini with cocoa in it, sort of like tahini Nutella. Only the most incurious of individuals could ignore that.  Besides, here I am in a gourmet food shop, and I haven’t bought anything more outlandish than squid ink pasta.


Those mince pie cigars I made for the cricket were actually really good, and so it makes perfect sense to pick up some more filo pastry and consider other sweet options.  But – well, shredded filo pastry is not something one sees every day (unless one goes into any middle eastern shop in Coburg, and really, how many of those are there?), so maybe I should get some of that instead.


Ooh, fondant in a jar!  I’ve never bought fondant in a jar!  And look, bergamot jammy sweet something or other.  And rose jam!  I’ve never had rose jam.  And if I buy them in lots of two, they are cheaper.  And is that eggplant pickle?  No, it’s eggplant sweets.  OK, really, no food blogger worth the name could *possibly* ignore something as fascinating as eggplant sweets, now, could she?


See, not my fault at all.


OK, my house is actually full of sweets right now, but that meringue is really, really pretty.  And orange and cranberry rocky road is basically healthy, don’t you think?


Anyway, the important thing is that I have escaped without spending more than $100, which would really be very, very bad of me.  And I didn’t get any of the interesting cheeses, and I left all the legumes and interesting rice and grain mixtures alone, and I didn’t touch the goat’s milk ice cream or the frozen artichoke bottoms, and I stayed strong and ignored the fact that panettone was on special and that there were all these fascinating hampers and things, so really, I can go to the counter with a clear conscience.

Wait, is that a cookbook behind the counter?

It’s totally OK to look at a cookbook while the lady is running up my purchases.  Looking at cookbooks is not the same thing as buying them.  Nope.  I have looked at *many* cookbooks in my time and quite a few of them went right back on the shelf.  Even if they were fascinating Greek cookbooks.  With menus.

Well, probably not the ones with menus.  I do like cookbooks with menus.


I think the important thing to remember here is that I did just go to the bank and put in the cheque from the Catholics for singing on Christmas Eve, and really, the cheque does actually cover all but $10 of my purchases.  And that last $10 was pasta, which, as we have already discussed, is not just justifiable but necessary.  In fact, since I bought more than $1o of pasta as well as the entirely necessary sausage and ricotta and cocoa, you could even say I’ve come out ahead, financially.


(But if you did, you’d probably be lying.)

The Deli can be found at 401 Sydney Rd, Coburg, which is dangerously close to where I live.  If you have more self-control than I do, it’s an excellent source of Italian goodies, grains of all kinds, sourdough breads, all sorts of gorgeous oils for cooking and salads, the most beautiful nougats I’ve ever seen, and, well, all the other items mentioned above.

If you don’t have more self-control than I do, it is still all of these things, but it’s also dangerous beyond belief to your bank account.  Treat it like a farmers’ market – take only cash, and leave when you run out.  She who takes out her credit card is lost…

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

  1. Iestyn
    December 30, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Lovely selection. I has (so far) successfully avoided the BIG pasta shells at Leos (with or without their own bowls/ramekins). At about 6″ across they are massive….
    Also, the Van Houten Cocao is now available at most Coles. Their drinking chocolate I need to go to Leos for when mum runs low. A report on the Taxini me Kakao would be nice at some point, I’m intrigued.

    • Catherine
      December 31, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Ooh, GIANT pasta. Sounds awesome. I will definitely let you know about the chocolate tahini.

  2. December 30, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    The cocoa tahini is exceedingly dangerous. I bought it once, with the intention of having it on toast for breakfast. Most of the jar never saw a slice of bread – just a spoon, and then my mouth. Had to vow not to buy it again. (Though I did get my mother hooked on it. Does that make me a pusher?)

    I have found other tahini variants at the Brunswick IGA – e.g. tahini and orange. Again, I don’t dare buy it and have to skip right past that shelf to stop it from tempting me.

  3. Catherine
    December 31, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Oh, that IGA used to be my local! I’m hearing rumours that it has just got better and better.

    I’m thinking that I want to try making chocolate tahini biscuits, but that will be a post New Year’s recipe…

  4. December 31, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    there are some days when my eyes glaze incuriously over such products because I know if I looked too closely then I would come out with a far lighter wallet – so perhaps that is why I have only been once to that deli – plus it is not in the area of coburg I find myself mostly. Am sure you will be cooking up a fascinating storm. Happy new year.

  5. December 31, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    I completely understand 🙂 There are some shops I can only let myself visit every so often, unless I’m with my husband, who has a remarkably restraining effect…! Although with that said, he is the one who insists on that cocoa you bought for his cocoa drinks, and which I thus get to benefit from in my baking. It’s a great brand!

  6. June 21, 2014 at 7:54 am

    SO HAPPY to have found your blog! I too live just around the corner from The Deli after moving from Brunswick (I testify that the IGA on Sydney Rd is officially the best supermarket EVER!). I went into The Deli just to get a flat white and came out with $70 worth of chicken stock. Which I TOTALLY NEEDED because the 6L I made at home is running low. Your post had me in stitches – I can relate wholeheartedly.

    • Catherine
      June 21, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      I used to live just around the corner from that IGA! It was great! Though this was fifteen years ago, and it’s definitely gone a bit upmarket since then – but always and still an excellent variety of goodies on sale! Lovely to ‘meet’ you, Brodie – the Coburg food blogger community seems to be getting quite vibrant. Do you go to the Farmers’ Market in O’Hea St, too?

  7. December 22, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Hi Catherine, I sometimes see you on the tram. I love visiting The Deli – oh my gosh. Going there xmas eve to get some cold meats. Will probably buy more, but – its the season to treat yourself isn’t it? That’s my excuse anyway. I also love watching foodie programs and baking. My latest thing is The Great British Bake Off.

    • Catherine
      December 29, 2014 at 8:03 pm

      Hi Catherine – lovely to meet a fellow foodie Catherine! Yes, I recognise you from the tram – will say hello next time. I’m currently most excited about the Deli’s pumpkin seed and walnut oils, though the frozen asparagus bottoms are possibly the most useful ingredient in the history of useful ingredients…

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