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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bankstown Bites: European Eats

Two months ago, I headed west for the first ever Bankstown Bites festival. Five different themed food tours were run throughout the day and I wasted no time in signing up for three of them.

After the whirlwind tour of Little Lebanon through the streets of Bankstown, my next bite of this multicultural suburb was Eastern Europe.

First stop: Izvor Deli

Run by husband-and-wife team Pero and Gordica Sokolvski, it seems like Izvor Deli has always been a part of the Bankstown landscape.

Just a glimpse in the doorway conveys the promise of European delights within. A display of discounted wafers and pate tins sit by the entrance; crusty loaves of bread line the shelves on the left; and meanwhile your eye is instantly drawn to the glass cabinets filled with smoked meats, sausages and a plethora of cheeses.

Unfortunately it seemed like half of Bankstown decided to shop at this very minute so Gordica didn't have much of a chance to have a chat with us. When the counter was finally free, she did offer samples of soy cheese which I accepted with hesitation (I love tofu, but have had frightening encounters with soy custard and soy yoghurt). The soy cheese was great though. Mild but tasty, the cheese had a smoothness to it and no trace of soy weirdness about it at all =)

There's a huge range of Slovenian, Macedonian and Croatian groceries and smallgoods and apparently their Macedonian pogaca bread is famous and sells out by noon.

Next stop: Bankstown Cellars

Bankstown Cellars is another one of those surprise finds. From the outside it looks like just another bottle-o (and no, don't look for any Fosters signs, we export that stuff for a reason!). One step inside though, and a quick glance at the bottles confirms the rumours... welcome to spirit heaven.

There are three shelves of schnapps including cherry, butterscotch, peppermint and apple. Their range of vodka is allegedly unparalleled. Not to mention grappas, marsala, goldwasser and (drinker beware!) plenty of absinthe.

Owner Frank Lazzarino is warm and welcoming and quickly has us sampling shots of Polish Medos honey vodka. The vodka is sweet and smooth, and at 40% proof, very warming!

I also sample a shot of Goldwasser, a light and slightly spicy citrusy liqueur which has flakes of real gold floating in it. Yup. Real gold. Bling bling.

There are wines and beers here as well but it is definitely the range of spirits and liqueurs which makes this shop so enticing. And er, dangerous.

Click here to read the final instalment of my day of Bankstown Bites.

Izvor Deli
Shop 20 Compass Centre, North Terrace, Bankstown, Sydney
Tel: 02 9793 7056

Bankstown Cellars
10 Marion Street, Bankstown, Sydney
Tel: 02 9796 8921

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Bankstown Bites: Little Lebanon
Bankstown Bites: Tantalising Tea
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posted by Anonymous on 8/23/2005 11:33:00 pm


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