Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spring in Haberfield

Primavera, meaning spring in many Romance languages (thanks Wiki), has certainly sprung and what glorious timing than to coincide with the Crave Sydney International Food Festival. In Haberfield's 'Little Italy' on the weekend, the Primavera Festival saw stalls sprouting in front of restaurants and shopfronts down Ramsay and Dalhousie Streets - who knew postcode 2045 was such a foodie haven?

Ramsay Street, Haberfield for Primavera
Armed with tasting tickets that could also conveniently be used for three other local food festivals but many stall holders also taking cash, it was a lovely, albeit windy, walking eating tour of some of Haberfield's best.

The la Disfida stall, Ramsay Street, Haberfield
La Disfada was the first we saw along Ramsay Street which we invariably spent the day criss-crossing up and down the road. The restaurant kitchen sent out small sized pizzas to the stall out the front, which also had panforte and coffee on offer, but we were keen for some smaller tastes to start.

Paesanella Cheese, Ramsay Street, Haberfield
The Paesanella Cheese stall
Across the road is the famed Paesanella cheese store, also with a stall out the front, but many goodies inside too. It was hard to choose from the cheese offerings at the stall as they all looked delectably gourmet and made of fresh Paesanella cheeses.

Bocconcini lollipop from Paesanella Cheese
The bocconcini lollipop was cute; a fork speared ball of bocconcini wrapped with a strip of prosciutto - what kid wouldn't be happy holding one of those?

Grilled Fresco with rocket from Paesanella Cheese
The pan grilled Fresco (a cow's milk pecorino) was completely drool-worthy; a browned and softened slice of cheese atop bread and covered with dressed rocket leaves.

Mascarpone reale with fig salsa from Paesanella Cheese
But we'd decided to be a little more adventurous and had the mascarpone reale - Paesanella's creamy mascarpone mixed with a blue cheese - spread over bread and topped with a fig salsa and slices of fig. It was explosively flavoursome: salty, sweet, pungent and quite rich, but a sensational starter for any dinner party, I would think.

Cabinet of cheeses from Paesanella Cheese
Inside the store we could see the mascarpone reale in its full form, a round cake of layered mascarpone and blue cheese. There was also an entire cabinet of imported cheeses in addition to fresh Paesanella products and antipasti.

Here we scored a packet of some awesomely spicy, sliced sopressa - the plastic packet which was requested to be opened for immediate consumption. It was salami perfection - perfectly thin, savoury in its fatty goodness, with slow burning heat that eventually kicked so hard that we needed respite of any sort.

Frank's Fruit Market, Ramsay Street, Haberfield
Our saviour was found a few doors down, at a fruit shop. It was good to see the local fruit shop, and further down the butcher, participate in the street festival, although the location of stores and the stalls meant there was fair distance between each, not quite forming a consistent and festive atmosphere.

Caprese salad from Frank's Fruit Market
Bocconcini in the caprese salad
Nonetheless, Frank’s Fruit Market provided necessary vitamins and nutrients with a range of salads: Greek to fruit to my favourite Italian caprese. Sliced bocconcini, ripe red tomatoes and slivers of basil formed salad perfection; especially with the sopressa on the side.

Calamari from il Locale, Ramsay Street, Haberfield
Continuing up Ramsay Street to the Dalhousie Street corner, the snazzy il Locale had it all covered with a setup of pizza, pasta, a range of antipasti and desserts. The calamari looked particularly enticing, so we grabbed a serve and were delighted with its tenderness and freshness. In a pale crumb, the rings of squid burst with well seasoned flavour – garlic, salt, pepper, spice, parsley – enhanced with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Napoli in Bocca, Dalhousie Street, Haberfield
The only thing that stopped me from a second serve of calamari was the sight, and sounds, of Napoli in Bocca just around the corner. Blaring operatic Italian arias drew the crowds in to watch Ben Riccio make Nutella crepes out the front and wait for pizzettes inside.

Making fresh crepes
Ben Riccio making nutella crepes
Pizzettes being made at Napoli in Bocca
Entertainment was abounds as we waited; from the bustling lunchtime crowd in the restaurant to the Italian speaking staff to the pizza chefs whipping up pizzas and calzones with practised efficiency. In particular, I was taken with their method of flattening out the dough (no rolling device, no flipping in the air), which looked very soft and pliable.

Pizzette going in the oven
Napoli in Bocca pizzas
Pizzas were flying in and out of the wood fired oven within minutes; perfectly round specimens with mostly simple toppings, slightly charred crusts and bubbling cheesy tops. Just standing around the pizza section waiting was enough to get up a roaring appetite for pizza.

The dough for the pizzettes
Mushroom and chilli pizzette from Napoli in Bocca
Our mushroom plus chilli pizzette came out of the oven, was sliced into quarters and in our hot little hands in a couple of smooth motions; with boiling hot, sliding toppings and crunchy crusts. With cheese everywhere, we agreed that the base was not the thinnest ever, but had a great crispness outside of fluffy innards and was just the thing for a lunch snack.

Wood-fired oven
After ample tasting and trying, the rest of the touring was to be take-home produce. The superb range of pasta at Peppe’s Pasta tempted with the gourmet crab with mascarpone and smoked garlic, but we went home with the roasted butternut pumpkin and fresh sage variety – which was delightfully al dente and sweet with pumpkin, though the sage was rather subtle.

At David Gojak Meat and Small Goods, a barbeque was firing out the front with sausages and steak sandos on offer. Here we left with a sausage of black pudding for those weekend breakfast fry-ups.

Pasticceria Papa, corner of Ramsay and Dalhousie Streets, Haberfield
The cake cabinet (and queues) at Pasticceria Papa
We backtracked to Pasticceria Papa, where the queue out the door had finally shortened a little. I’d been hanging out for ricotta cannoli all day, but with the cabinet running the length of the store, I couldn’t help but add a few other bits and pieces.

Biscotti and crostata
Pistachio biscotti
Almond horseshoe biscotti (mandorli?)
I used to adore the horseshoe shaped almond biscuits back in the day when I worked in a cafe, and it seems nothing has changed. Pasticceria Papa’s version is less sweet and nutty than I remember, but a nice, light treat had alongside cannoli.

Ricotta and chocolate (centre) cannoli
The chocolate custard cannoli were, unfortunately, a waste of time compared to the ricotta. While the chocolate filling was creamy and nicely semi sweet, it had nothing on the multi-dimensional flavour of the ricotta filling – sweet, rich with an end note of tartness and quite sensational with its chopped almond tips. It was cannoli that defined the weekend.

Cocoa dusted mascarpone ridges of the tiramisu cake
The other happy dessert moment was the tiramisu, a slice cut from an entire cake. Despite the leaking of probably liqueur syrup from the box, being quite the moist cake, the tiramisu was gorgeous in every facet: light, smooth mascarpone covered in slightly bitter cocoa powder over fluffy, coffee spiked cake, and just the right serving size too.

Tiramisu cake
It was certainly a big eating day and overall, a great introductory foodie day out in Haberfield. La Primavera is indeed a beautiful time to be out and in love – with cannoli.


Napoli in Bocca on Urbanspoon

Pasticceria Papa on Urbanspoon


chocolatesuze said...

i loooove Pasticceria Papa! hot damn their ricotta cheesecake is da bomb!

al said...

All of that looks amazing, especially the cannolis - hearts in my eyes! I need to get to Haberfield.

Tina said...

Hey suze - I didn't know it was... :( Will have to go back now.

Hi Al - The cannoli are indeed dreamy

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What a fun day out tina!

Maz at Dimmi said...

Great coverage! I think Haberfield has been underrated and forgotten with everyone usually flocking to Norton St these days... :(

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

i love haberfield! it reminds me of what leichhardt used to be - lol. the grilled fresco looks incredible and i love horseshoe biscotti - those almonds are so addictive!

john@heneedsfood said...

I can't believe I've only been to Haberfield once. I really ought to get out more often judging by what you done in this post. Love it!

tori said...

Oh how I miss Haberfield. I used to work out near Ashfield and if I'd had a really poisonous day then popping in at paensanella on the way home was the only that got me through. Congratulations on a great post-

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

Bocconcini lollipop! Savoury bites in fun form.

And I echo Suze's comment - Pasticceria Papa's ricotta cheesecake really is something that is heavenly, and there's a reason why theirs is so well-known.

Gianna@TheEmptyFridge said...

Oh Haberfield, it is indeed my happy place! Its just such an awesome concentration of yummy food finds, I would have loved to have been there for la primavera.

Papa's is definitely a favourite, and I agree about the chocolate cannoli - I tend to skip them in favour for double the ricotta order.

Such a great post Tina! I am guilty of neglecting Haberfield of late and will rectify this asap!

Mel said...

All the food on your post looks AMAZING! I probably wouldn't have made it past the cheese shop myself - though those Nutella Crepes look pretty nice. Must go and check out Haberfield somemore.

Tina said...

Hi Lorraine - Certainly was!

Hi Maz - I don't mind if that means fewer crowds ;)

Hi Helen - Hmm, could definitely go one of those horseshoes right now...

Hi John - I'll have to admit that it was my first outing in Haberfield too.

Hi Tori - Thanks :) There's therapy to be had at Paesanella, isn't there?

Hi mademoiselle - Oh, now I really feel bad about missing the ricotta cake... :(

Hi Gianna - Thanks. I'll be hitting up Haberfield again when the cannoli craving comes along.

Hi MelbaToast - Definitely a must-do foodie day trip :D

Buggles and Squeak said...

Depending on where you live... it's great to know that you can buy from Paesanella's factory in Marrickville also.
As for the Ricotta cheesecake at Pasticerria Papa.. it is indeed a must!

Tina said...

Hi Buggles and Squek - Planning a return to Haberfield already, just for that cake :)


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