When it comes to authentic Italian cuisine, there is no shortage of options in this city. But what happens when you want to re-create it at home? These businesses will help you create true Mediterranean flavour in your own kitchen.


Salt Meats Cheese
Does more or less what it says on the cover – but boy does it do it well. In fact, you could argue that Salt Meats Cheese is the lynchpin in Alexandria’s renaissance as a post-industrial magnet of inner-city cool.

Head out back of this enormous warehouse to the cheese and salumi bar. Sample all sorts of Italian delights, from truffled pecorino and manchego, to a huge variety of salumi, cured and prepared by well-regarded Sardinian chef, Giovanni Pilu.

There are thousands of items, from rare balsamic, oils, preserves and luscious salumi, right through to imported tinned tomatoes, and of course, Paesanella’s very own cheeses.

There’s also the on-site restaurant, Pizza Box – which offers some of the best bang for your buck in the inner suburbs – and the Lab, where you can watch the SMC masters ply their trade in cured meats, stuffed peppers and marinated olives.

Still, old-fashioned sodium chloride has pride of place in the title for a reason. Witness the exotic salt counter in the middle of the space, and sacks of all kinds of spiced goodness on display. There’s a shaker on hand for tasting, so you can easily choose between your Spanish rosemarys and your Himalayan pinks.

It’s madness. Glorious madness. So don’t be afraid to make a morning of it.

Salt Meats Cheese
41 Bourke Road, Alexandria
(02) 9690 2406


Gourmet Life
Gourmet Life made its start as a wholesaler specialising in truffles and caviar (Australia’s number-one dealer in both, they say) so a step inside this Edgecliff providore is an introduction to all sorts of exotic goods.

Thank God, then, the staff is so knowledgeable. Ask and you’ll receive the detailed provenance of any product in the store – many first made their appearance at a customer’s specific request. Beyond the truffles and caviar, Gourmet Life boasts European almonds and hazelnuts, wild French asparagus, Castaing foie gras and fresh porcini mushrooms.

There’s a library of salts and peppers, jewel-coloured jams from chef Moreno Cedroni, fruit vinegars, century-old balsamic and a perennial supply of fresh horseradish and wasabi.

Still, the caviar options have to be seen to be believed. Now might be a good a time as any to acquire the taste.

Gourmet Life
52–60 New South Head Road, Edgecliff
(02) 9363 0775


Pino’s Dolce Vita
A long-time Italian home for Kogarah locals, Pino’s Dolce Vita crams a food store and cooking school into one large, and often very chaotic, showroom.

Consider yourself forewarned. Arrive on a busy day and the scene is hilarious: a large teaching space, open demonstration kitchen, dozens of displays loaded with handmade produce … and stacks upon stacks of punters.

Like in Italy, everything is available for sampling. We’re talking exceptional handmade produce, deli goods and imported cheeses. The hams and salamis on offer are some of the best you can find in Sydney, while others swear by the bacon.

It’s not necessarily cheap, and the service can sometimes struggle amid all the hoopla, but the produce at Pino’s is rarely bettered in Sydney.

Pino’s Dolce Vita
45 President Avenue, Kogarah
(02) 9587 4818

Like in Italy, everything is available for sampling.


Raineri’s Continental Delicatessen
Take one step inside this beautiful, old, family run joint and your taste buds will go into overdrive – the aroma of cheese and cold meats is an almost overwhelming pleasure.

Ranieri’s is one of the oldest Italian delis in the inner west, and remains a favourite among Five Dock locals. There’s a huge range of cold meats and cheese at the front counter (check out the mortadella – it’s a behemoth). Further inside you’ll find all kinds of pasta, artichokes, olives, bread and Italian biscuits, as well as the store’s own brand of coffee.

It’s magic stuff – a massive dose of Italian produce, with a large side of culture to go with it. And despite the crowds of people who often gridlock the store, the staff is just about always friendly, which can be a deciding factor considering some of the more put-upon delicatessens elsewhere around town.

Raineri’s Continental Delicatessen
97 Great N Road, Five Dock
(02) 9713 6886


Lamonica IGA
If you’ve dismissed Lamonica for its IGA branding, you’re a dummy. Housed in an old twin cinema, this is an authentic Italian experience, with three thriving businesses housed under one roof.

By combining a butcher and deli with a fruit shop and the supermarket, Lamonica has made shopping for the best Italian produce affordable. Goods are imported in bulk to keep the costs low. The variety of pasta and meats on offer is jaw dropping, as is the fact that these imports are often half the price of what you’ll find elsewhere around Sydney.

Those prices mean long queues at the deli counter on the weekend. But it’s worth it: think a divine salumi sliced perfectly thin, as well as cheeses, antipasto and olives.

Situated in the dead centre of the Italian food safari that now defines any visit to Haberfield, make this your cornerstone before sloping a couple of doors up to Cassaniti Bakery (often known as Haberfield Bakery) for some authentic Italian breads. From there, the options are endless.

Lamonica IGA
155 Ramsay Street, Haberfield
(02) 9798 4105

The variety of pasta and meats on offer is jaw dropping, as is the fact that these imports are often half the price of what you’ll find elsewhere around Sydney.


Paesanella
The Paesanella family is familiar to Sydney Italophiles – it has been pumping out an exceptional range of cheeses in its iconic Marrickville factory since 1962.

Now, though, the Paesenallas have a new pride and joy: a slick cafe and deli on Marrickville Road proper, and the range of goods on offer is intimidating. There are thousands of items, from rare balsamic, oils, preserves and luscious salumi, right through to imported tinned tomatoes, and of course, Paesanella’s very own cheeses. There’s also a wider range of cheese products, curated by “cheese whisperer” Paul Carter.

And you don’t need to hustle out of there, either. Seating is available if you’d like to try some of the deli items, including pizzas, pasta and salads. Or you could just head downstairs to the cafe, which is always enlivened with a friendly buzz on the weekends.

Paesanella
150–152 Marrickville Road, Marrickville
(02) 9519 7300


This article is presented by Peroni.

  • Salt Meats Cheese 41 Bourke Road, Alexandria (02) 9690 2406 View profile
  • Gourmet Life 60 New South Head Road, Edgecliff (02) 9362 0010 View profile
  • Pino's Dolce Vita 45 President Avenue, Kogarah (02) 9587 4818 www.pinosdolcevita.com.au
  • Raineri’s Continental Delicatessen 97 Great N Road, Five Dock (02) 9713 6886 View profile
  • Lamonica IGA 155 Ramsay Street, Haberfield (02) 9798 4105 View profile
  • Paesanella 150–152 Marrickville Road, Marrickville (02) 9519 7300 www.paesanella.com.au