Local Deli Delights
Insights from Con Paizes of Eureka Fine Foods - 12 Lynch Street, Hawthorn
Delis have long provided a gateway to exotic cuisines as well as offering some more culturally familiar tastes to those of us from abroad.
The role of the deli in post-colonial Australia has remained a testament to our growth as a migrant nation. Indeed, delis served to broaden Australia’s tastes when affordable imported-cuisine restaurants were still rarely seen and those that were present, were prohibitively expensive and indebted to French style dining. Local and international quality produce never goes out of style at Eureka Fine Foods, who have been serving the local community since 1962. A traditional deli in many ways, the cheese range is front and centre when it comes to current owner Con Paizes’ trader know-how. Con’s most recommended list:
Frico goats milk cheese from Holland goes beautifully with most table wines.
Manchego Sheeps cheese from Spain is buttery but firm and is often eaten with fruits or nuts.
Spanish sheep’s cheese with truffle, which is very rich, is best served with champagne.
The ever popular staple Dodoni feta, is the biggest selling cheese in Greece, and is traditionally used in Greek salads.
Matis kasseri is a versatile, semi hard cheese good for baking, frying or on a sandwich.
Mandri kefalograviera is traditionally eaten with ouzo, but is equally at home with a red or white wine.
For the Greek community, Lent is an important 40-day period of fasting where red meats are strictly off the menu. Delis everywhere provide for Orthodox-practicing Greeks with a selection of acceptable alternatives. Con explains, “during Lent, eating of eggs, milk and cheese are traditionally not allowed” and so instead, cephalopods, or bone-less sea life, such as squid and octopus as well as shrimp are the main protein sources. He adds, “cured herring and sardines are very popular. Squid and shrimp are usually served grilled, as well as a lot of pasta dishes and mussels are eaten during Lent.”
Another popular dish during Lent is spanakopita, which is made from spinach and feta and served in flaky phyllo dough and it has become a proven favourite at Eureka Fine Foods. “On Saturday mornings, I bring in a homemade spanakopita, which my mother cooks the night before, and we sell that directly from the shop. Some of my customers come in just for that, I am sure.”
Con Paizes has owned and operated Eureka Fine Foods delicatessen since 2018, taking over the 60-year-old local business. Formerly known as Europa Cheese, Eureka Fine Foods acts as both a wholesaler and a retail outlet for specialised Greek and Italian produce - with a flair for fine cheeses.