Italy, Denmark, Portugal and India in a day

When was the last time you experienced a day that was truly magic ….. beyond your wildest imaginings?

Biblical stories record that when Solomon sat on his silken carpet he sailed through the air so quickly that he breakfasted at IMG_0204Damascus and supped in Media.

Our transport last Sunday was a little more conventional (a small bus) but our ride was no less giddy than Solomon’s, or Aladdin’s for that matter.

An adventure gift from family for our 60th birthdays, Margot and I had our taste buds transmitted across four countries in as many hours .… dragging our bodies in close pursuit.

We departed Sydney CBD at 9am and minutes later we were being led up a narrow pathway between old buildings. It was hard to tell if they were in a state of demolition or restoration.

Our destination – a roller door set in a graffiti laden back lane between derelict cars and industrial skip bins.

Beyond the door …. a pristine Paesanella family ricotta factory which has been a local Italian institution in Marrickville for decades. Basket after basket of ricotta has been filled since 3am that morning, at 9.15 we catch the last few batches.

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The taste of freshly made ricotta still warm form the vat is a treat I recommend to all.

… and then to the Paesanella Café and store where Mumma Paesanella has prepared our breakfast: fresh meat ball lasagna with home made smoked buffalo mozzarella, cannoli to die for and her special cake made from marscatone and blue cheese – I could feel my arteries filling as my taste buds exploded in joy. There were lots (and lots) of other treats she’d prepared for us and (unfortunately) we couldn’t resist.

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I let out my belt a notch (or two) before arriving at our next destination: a plain unadorned doorway on a busy road with just two words ‘Blond Catering’ marking its existence.

Beyond the door, decorated Danish caterer Jesper Hansen and his kitchen … a perfect host.

Our treat?

A ‘colding’ demonstration. No cooking, but rather a demonstration on how to make the classic ancient recipe – Gravalax. The curing of salmon using salt, sugar, fennel and dill …. and then of course a tasting, and more tasting, and then more…. WOW

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When you finish reading my blog:-

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I guess that was morning tea ??!

Our next port of call – ‘little India’ also know as Harris Park where 20 Indian restaurants line Wigram Street separated by Indian supermarkets, spice emporiums, sweets palaces and sari shops. Candy to treat every sense, plus some.

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We lunched at the Billu Restaurant (the first in Harris Park). You go a long way (outside India) to find authentic, quality Indian food …. not so in Harris Park … a few steps in any direction will suffice.

DSC00373-2Another belt notch …. a only walk amongst the India shops and we’re back on our chariot destined to Portugal.

Sweet Belem, a Petersham pastry store serving the local Portuguese community with the best Portuguese custard tarts in the land. Crammed in Jose Silvia’s tiny kitchen he talks us through the preparation and cooking process. Hot, very hot, busy and space deficient. It’s a buzz, the out come a treats, a REAL treat.

Preparing the pastry before an audience

Preparing the pastry before an audience

Perplexed – are these treats to die for or die from??? Either way, if you get a chance go for them.DSC00390-2

All in all a decadent day of self indulgence, the discovery of cultural enclaves in Sydney I’d never dreamed of and lots of fun with our fellow travellers.

Nutella Tarts

Nutella Tarts

Not to be out done he then produces a new novelty tart – Portuguese nutella custard tart – yep – nutella.

Not to be out done Jose then produces a new novelty tart – Portuguese Nutella custard tart – yep – Nutella.

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Thanks to our host Maeve O’Meara (of SBS fame) and her Food Safari ……. and of course a big thanks to Cate, Laura, Isaac and Simon who made it all possible for us.

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Its now back to calorie counting.

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One Comment on “Italy, Denmark, Portugal and India in a day”

  1. Allan Eskdale says:

    Hi Rod

    Thanks for the blog, it has prompted me to try and go on one soon. Been on a few and they are fun.

    Spoke to Martin the other day, he has departed for the northern autumn. When he gets back we are definitely going to lunch this time. Martin suggests Brighton looking out over the bay for a leisurely afternoon. Hope you are well and hope you can make it so we can confirm with our own eyes that you are.

    Regards

    Allan


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