From cheese to charcuterie, small goods to sweets, Brisbane has a strong European deli tradition. Here’s our guide to some of the best.
Emile and Solange In a small space at the front of French antique store Vielle Branche in Albion, this shop offers almost 50 soft and hard, cow- and goat’s-milk cheeses. Curated by French ex-pat and owner Sarah Thuillet, the bulk of the produce at Emile and Solange is from alpine France and Switzerland, along with a selection from Italy and the UK. There’s also a small but interesting range of charcuterie, tapenades, marinated olives, French mustards and dips.
Thuillet says the business is seasonal – you might not always be able to pick up a rare (in Australia), 16-month-aged French Beaufort D’Alpage, for example. “That’s just how it goes when you work directly with the farmer,” says Thuillet. “It’s never massive production and it sometimes takes a little longer to get here.”
Delta Continental In the back blocks of suburban West End, behind a retro façade covered in hand-written chalk signs, is Delta Continental. A mecca for European and Middle Eastern gourmet products, the Mediterranean specialists stock a range of hard-to-find wholesale products.
The downstairs levels are stocked with olives; antipasto; cheeses; cured meats; yoghurts; and Greek sweets and pastries. Upstairs you’ll find the grocer with its vast array of herbs, spices, canned vegetables, pastas and various small goods.
Rosalie Gourmet Market “There aren’t many things we don’t have in here,” says Rae Gough, owner of Roaslie Gourmet Market. She’s right. An institution since 1977, The Market is a one-stop shop for a huge range of international items, including cheese; truffle products such as oil and honey; and French cooking products such as goose fat and imported sardines. Its cheese selection alone is more than 100 strong, including French and Greek varieties. There’s also a huge range of English teas and chocolates (Turkish delight, Persian fairy floss). A gourmet cafe in the building serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week and the Gourmet Market provides catering and hampers of goodies from around the world.
Paddington Deli & Epicerie Paddington Deli & Epicerie is owner Antoinette Pease’s take on the classic French deli/grocer. It’s inside the Paddington Antique Centre on Latrobe Terrace and the space exudes an old-world French charm with its black subway tiles, leather chairs and gold typography.
The space is split in two; the cafe and deli occupy one half. Opposite it there’s a grocer with take-home meals and Pease’s selection of gourmet goods such as imported oils and sauces.
The deli offers French cheese, olives and meats such as Jamon Serano and Pancetta sliced to order. There’s also a selection of fresh patisseries, tarts and macaroons baked daily.
The cafe is known for offering one of Brisbane’s best breakfasts (corn and coriander fritters or brekkie panna cotta), and locals appear early in the day for coffee. Lunch includes classic deli sandwiches and salads. Dinner focuses on quality produce and succinct parings such as crispy-skin salmon with gnocchi, seasonal vegetables and citrus-butter sauce.
Ruski Way Deli Buried in an unassuming strip of shops in Woolloongabba is a little slice of Russia. Ruski Way has provided quality Russian fare to the people of Brisbane since 2008.
Sit on the pavement and enjoy home-cooked Russian cuisine including golubtsy (cabbage roll), sauerkraut or medovik (Russian honey cake).
Ruski Way carries an extensive range of Eastern European products such as bread; groceries; canned goods; cured fish and caviar; cold meats; and sausages. There are also Russian sweets and chocolates, as well as beer, wine and liquor. A wide range of its specialty goods are available through the online store.
Amici Deli Amici is Italian for “friends”. It’s a mantra Frank Bonomo sticks to with his Italian deli in Chermside, which he’s operated for six years with wife Josie.
“People enter as strangers, and they leave as friends,” says Bonomo. “We explain to people how to cook the [Italian] cuisine, using our products and hopefully we get an invite to their house to try it out ourselves with a bottle of wine.”
Amici stocks a variety of Italian cheeses, oils, vinegars, biscuits, cured meats and small goods, as well as products from Australia.
Fun fact, Bonomo’s cousin owns Brisbane’s Di Bella Coffee, and Bonomo thinks Amici makes the best Di Bella coffee on the north side.
“We take our time,” he says. “And the coffee is excellent.”
Swiss Gourmet Deli The Swiss Gourmet Deli was closed for business when Peter Marinelli discovered it in 1987.
“I've been a part of West End all of my life,” he says. “It’s an iconic business and I decided to go for it.”
Marinelli is Italian but didn’t think of changing the deli’s name, which came from the original Swiss owner. But he does admit the shelves have expanded to stock a diverse range of European products over the years, particularly from his wife’s native Portugal.
Specialties include Swiss and Belgian chocolates, as well as Swiss, Norwegian and Portuguese cheese – a customer favourite according to Marinelli along with the apple-and-ricotta torte and award-winning Portuguese custard tarts, pastel de nata.
This article is presented in partnership with Holden Astra – 2016 European Car of the Year.