I’ve just returned from a wonderful Italian Gourmet Safari around Haberfield with my good friend Fiona. Our guide to the delights of this foodie suburb was the passionate and effervescent Sam, a local Italian boy who has his roots firmly entrenched in the magic of gelato making and drinking good coffee. He regaled us with stories of his family which were driven by his culture and connection to food. Wonderful stuff…..
We started the morning with excellent coffee at the Haberfield Post (previously known and loved as Il Goloso) and this would be our base and lunch spot for the day. I was delighted with our first stop being the Paesanella cheese shop, where we tasted the freshest of ricottas, bocconcinis laced with 30 year old balsamic and a ridiculously rich and hedonistic “cake” of layered mascarpone and blue cheese, topped with fig sauce, known as Figaro.
Peppes Pasta followed with tempting duck and prosciutto ravioli and rocket lemon zest angel hair, with all pasta being made fresh, along with accompanying sauces. Raphaels bakery next door was laden with bread and sweet creations of all grains, shapes and sizes, and the ladies behind the counter were friendly, cheerful and loud in their enthusiasm for their beautiful baked goods.
Onto Lamonica IGA, where 3 businesses exist under the one banner…. An italian butcher, a burgeoning deli and fresh fruit and vege displays. The place was packed with locals buying their weekly supplies and Italian women seemingly bickering about the best olives…. Sam assured me this was the norm. This place certainly would give the two big supermarket giants a run for their money and I know where I would rather shop.
Over Ramsay St we crossed to Zanettas 5 Star deli, possibly the jewel in the crown for Haberfield with every possible brand of dried pasta available and a small goods counter that would make any Italian swoon with delight. Here we tasted the impossibly green Sicilian olives, San Daniele proscuitto (absolutely delicious and well worth the $70kg!) and several varieties of pecorino cheese. Sam explained the importance of good olive oils and the heritage of aged balsamic vinegars – like champagne, true Balsamic is only made in the Modena region of Italy. I indulged and bought the 8 year old vintage for special occasions.
It was then back to the Haberfield Post for a generous and filling spread of breads, pasta, authentic pizzas and a glass of Italian Sangiovese. This was a relaxed affair and we were able to chat with our fellow tour guests plus meet the humble Tony, owner of the restaurant and a proud Roman.
Lunch was followed by a trip to Rino Saffioti’s chocolate shop where the man himself spoke with love of his passion for excellence in chocolate making and the delicate balance of tempering this often temperamental ingredient. Rino also specialises in gelato and has just started roasting his own coffee beans. A true artisan indeed.
Our tour concluded with a shot of prosecco and limocello from the Haberfield cellars….a celebratory end to a wonderful day.
My thanks to Sam for sharing his Haberfield with us and to my good friend Fi, who shares my love of eating well and seeking out the good food. Our next adventure looks to be the Vietnamese Cabramatta jaunt. Cant wait! I need to also say thankyou to Celia from Fig Jam Lime Cordial, for meeting us for early morning coffee in her beloved “Haby”. It was a pleasure to finally meet her face to face and as always, she was generous in her time and in many other ways!