Handbook for Sydney foodies

Foodies Guide to Sydney 2009 - Greenwood and Newton

By Louise Johnson
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The Sydney Morning Herald Foodies' Guide to Sydney 2009 - Helen Greenwood and John Newton

The Sydney Morning Herald Foodies' Guide to Sydney 2009 - Helen Greenwood and John Newton

It wasn't until I moved to Sydney in 1997 that I discovered the joy of markets.  Living on my own for the first time and away from family and friends I spent my weekends exploring the markets, and my Sunday mornings peeling prawns on the strip of grass in front of the Sydney Fish Markets at Pyrmont. Then I made some friends and started going to the supermarket again.

But my newfound passion for markets was a highlight of my early days in Sydney, and it fueled an increasing interest in the amazing diversity of food cultures in the harbour city.

The third edition of The Foodies' Guide to Sydney is in stores now and it brings with it a flood of memories of my favourite culinary secrets. If only there had been a guide in 1997 my new friends and the supermarket wouldn't have stood a chance in the stakes for my weekend attentions. There are more than 30 chapters listing the best places to buy everything from pastries to hand made pasta, artisan breads and cheeses, the freshest fish and the pick of the country's fruit and vegetables, with an emphasis on the finest local produce.

A great section on bargains and bulk food stores comes complete with great advice - hit the fresh food markets late on Saturday afternoons just as the stallholders are closing up for the week. For bulk purchases, like a box of tomatoes to make tomoto sauce, you can almost name your own price, say authors Helen Greenwood and John Newton.

If your passion is Indian food find Taj in Granville, a cavernous warehouse that seems to stock "an entire annual Punjabi basmatic crop".  Not only will you find the best rice here, but a great range of imported frozen curries.

If you're serious about your food then finding a good butcher is essential - not are you guaranteed the best cuts of meat, you're also dealing with someone invested in the way the animals are managed - "they know it matters to their customers and to the future."

The Guide also announces the annual Foodies Awards for excellence of product, attention to detail and an overall joyful retail experience. Hudson Meats in Surry Hills wins the butchers gong this year, with a range of beef that you can trace back to the producer and a range of gourmet food produce to accompany your meat selections.

I bet the authors fought over who got to write the chocolate chapter - my little feminist hopes that Helen won - but I bet they both spent some time at Belle Fleur in Rozelle, the gong winner for the Chocolatier award. Jan Ter Heerdt and his daughter Claire, a fourth generation chocolatier, produce a range of traditional, Beligian-style bites, filled with light, whipped cream, that will have your mouth watering just reading about them.

Other notable award winners were the Annandale Cellars for best wine merchant, Pasta emilia at Bronte for pasta, Blackwattle Deli in Pyrmont for cheese and the Hawkesbury Harvest Farmers and Gourmet Food Markets for produce.

Very interesting is the "reading about food" chapter, which lists, among the expected great cookbook stores, some of the world's and Australia's best food websites and blogs. A nod for the bloggers out there. The burgeoning food blogging community in Australia will be scrambling to be listed in next years edition.

The food revolution isn't just in Sydney and there is a small section at the back devoted to out of town - Newcastle, Woolongong, Central West, the Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands make it, but its just a small scratch on the surface of great food producers in the New South Wales regions. Lucky we have VisitVineyards.com when you're touring the regions.

But food lovers in Sydney are well served and there are some massive weekends ahead exploring these great foodie finds.


The Foodies Guide to Sydney 2009 by Helen Greenwood and John Newton is published by Fairfax Books / Hardie Grant Books, October 2008, RRP A$29.95

VisitVineyards.com and Winepros Archive subscribers may buy The Foodies Guide to Sydney 2009 online at a subscribers-only 12.5% discounted price through our book partners, Seekbooks (postage extra).


  • Blue Mountains (NSW)
  • Central Ranges (NSW)
  • Hunter including Newcastle (NSW)
  • Southern Highlands (NSW)
  • Sydney (NSW)

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