In an barely concealed jibe at Sydney's "other" Little Italy, Leichhardt, the recent Primo Italiano festival attempted to adamantly reinforce the reputation of East Sydney's Stanley Street as Sydney's "first" Little Italy. It was in Stanley Street where Italian immigrants first began to cluster socially, gradually building more and more delicatessens, restaurants, bars and cardhouses until the whole street was predominately Italian.
These days most Sydneysiders seem to forgo Stanley Street for Leichhardt or Haberfield though, and this festival was a deliberate attempt to bring back the masses. It was a glorious weekend for it. Early June and the sun was shining, the sky a dazzling azure blue, and even though my stomach had barely recovered from the Campsie Food Festival the day before, I was out and about and hungry for more...
Stanley Street was closed off to traffic enabling market-type stalls to set up down the middle of the road. I got to the festival early. This photo was taken at 10.45am, but an hour later the crowds were ten-deep.
Bertoni's Deli is a family-run business based in Balmain, with a commitment to sharing homestyle Italian cooking based on the proud traditions of their mamma Maria and papa Alfonso.
Dried pastas and sauces
Cannoli filled with chocolate, ricotta and vanilla creams.
Homemade amaretto biscuits.
Italian-style donuts sandwiched with Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread).
Formaggi Ocello is a regular at both Pyrmont Growers Markets and Fox Studios. Even so, their cheeses never fail to impress.
Did someone order a giant bowl of spaghetti?
Gorgeous creamy gorgonzola.
Offering scented olive oil soaps.
Juicy blood oranges.
The centrepiece of the festival was this giant art installation fountain covered with layers of Mediterranean vegetables. Ok, so everything was plastic and in a way it was tacky, but it certainly livened up the place and the fact it was actually pumping water was impressive too.
The pizza seller actually posed the pizza for me (unasked) as I snapped photos. Don't you adore intuitive photography assistants?
Taking photos is thirsty work. I really really needed this coffee gelato.
Street entertainers with a hapless (but willing) victim. These girls were gorgeous.
This is style, baby.
A woman's work is never done.
A resounding success, although I'm sure the organisers were probably overwhelmed by the number of people who did turn up. Beppi was there to add some hand-waving authenticity, street entertainers kept the kids happy, and the band and singers gave a lively atmosphere. The idea of setting up open-air tables for all the restaurants gave a relaxed piazza-style ambience to the day, and enabled passersby to stickybeak at the dishes being served up too.
A great day out. And a nice showcase of all that multicultural Sydney has to offer.
The first Primo Italiano Stanley Street Festival was held on Sunday 5 June 2005.
There are plans to make this an annual event with the possibility of having a piazza-style market on a more regular basis.
12 comments - Add some comment love
6/27/2005 11:30:00 pm