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Monday, June 27, 2005

Primo Italiano, Stanley Street Festival

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.

Street entertainers.

Pizza pizza.
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.

The crowds.

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.
9 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 6/27/2005 11:30:00 pm


  • At 6/28/2005 12:41 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    AG, which city do you live in again? Sydney? The food will be another reason to retire in Australia!

  • At 6/28/2005 11:36 am, Blogger Kelly said…

    Yum! The cannoli looks absolutely delicious! And donuts with Nutella - why haven't I thought of that before? ;)

  • At 6/28/2005 1:50 pm, Blogger Chubby Hubby said…

    What a wonderful street fair. Sadly, Singapore is way too hot for displaying food all day and leisurely wandering around tasting it. Very jealous!

  • At 6/28/2005 4:44 pm, Blogger pinkcocoa said…

    Ohh AG, thanks for all those great pics! Damn, i should have made it down to stanley street that day instead of lazing at home >.<
    The nutella donut looks simply stunning and not to forget about your coffee gelato! And yes I love intuitive photography assistant :) I never have any problems when it comes to taking Italian food. The Italians seem very happy when someone wants to snap up a pic of their yummy food.

  • At 6/28/2005 7:06 pm, Blogger Daniel Hatadi said…

    To tell you the truth, I love taking photos of food, but I don't tend to eat alot. This looked like something worth going too, though, and I'd like to say thanks for the photos.

    They made me felt like I was there! :)

  • At 6/28/2005 7:08 pm, Blogger Reid said…

    Hi AG,

    YAY! Cannoli is my favorite. Would you believe that I have a recipe for it that I haven't used just yet. Want me to make some? =P

  • At 10/22/2005 9:49 am, Blogger Richard Layman said…

    Since you're into markets, check out the markets section at www.pps.org

    Richard Layman

  • At 4/25/2010 2:22 pm, Blogger Grant Galea said…

    Matt ,thanks for the review on my performance at Primo Italiano ,but next time spell my name right will ya ? Its GRANT GALEA not Grant Gillea !!!
    I will headlining at Primo Italiano 2010 with my young brother Adrian Galea as special guest.
    See you there ! May 23,2010.

  • At 5/01/2010 6:02 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Grant - Thanks for the correction and great to hear you are headlining Primo Italiano 2010 as well :)


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