"Are you Spanish? You look Spanish." says the lady behind the deli counter.
"No, but my name is Demos and I really like chorizo..and jamon" was my reply. Welcome to El Mercado, a little slice of Spain tucked away in the quiet suburb of Mortlake. Conviniently a 5 minute drive from Gianna's place. How is it possible that we discovered this awesome local Deli only now? We have been missing out!
Deli's have been a constant part of weekend routine. Always having to make the trip on Sunday morning to fetch fresh bread and small goods like mortadella, prossciutto and cheese to have for lunch with the family. The usual haunts being around Haberfield, Abbotsford and Five Dock - the Italian trio. Don't get me wrong, I love Italian food, so does Gianna. Especially their small goods of the meaty and antipasti variety. Coming across this place was a great change and I didn't feel any Italian driven guilt or any disloyalty to my regular deli.
We were excited when we walked in and had a look at what was on offer behind the counter. An assortment of various Spanish cheeses and cured meats - different variations of Jamon and Salami are on offer. It was exciting to see prossciutto under a different guise. Darker colours, different smells and names. Change is such a wonderful and exciting thing.
El Mercado doesn't profess to do anything overly complicated. They are all about offering quality delicacies imported from Spain. What you see is what you get, and the beauty of this deli is that everything you can see behind the glass of the counter can be made then and there for you to eat. How convenient is that? They do an awesome coffee as well. This is officially our new breakfast destination, which is an incentive when doing the weekly deli run!
Having a look on what was available Gianna decided to get a chorizo and fried egg sandwich and I got a Jamon Iberico sandwich with provolone, avocado and tomato. Both were amazing. The chorizo exploded with flavour, such a better alternative to the classic bacon and eggs sandwich. The Jamon Iberico was the best I have ever had - simplicity is the key. You most definitely have to make the trip there to try it for yourself. Soft, salty and just pure chewy goodness. The fillings are also very generous - and you can see that you are getting fresh top quality ingredients. Unfortunately, we missed out on the homemade empanadas.
Just to fully satisfy the appetite Gianna ordered a cup of Spanish hot chocolate as well. Pretty much like a glass of hot pudding, it's chocolatey goodness is too good to resist. Possessing this knowledge, the lovely lady gave me a small cup as well..my pity cup. This still didn't stop me from drinking Gianna's. Sorry bub.
Between the eating and drinking you can peruse the shelves at the back of the store and pick up some canned and jarred goods - pickled peppers being a favourite, just like those I attacked at Movida. Here you can find Authentic spanish ingredients - spices, condiments, flour, rice, oil - anything you'd be after to cook a mega Spanish feast ... even a gigantic paella pan. They also have authentic spanish cocoa and chocolate bars, but Gianna was after the Churrera, which was sold out. There goes my dreams of homemade Churros.
What is Nenuco? I thought the same thing, but apparently its the Baby Cologne Baby Giannitta grew up smelling like.
I cannot wait to come back here again and we suggest you do the same. We've already thought about just ordering an antipasto plate and eating as much Jamon Serrano, Queso and Chorizo as we can. We wen't off with our tasty deli goods - the tub of Sicilian Green Olives hardly makes it home as Gianna could not stop snacking. Spain did win the world cup so there's an excuse in itself to peel away from the Italian deli's. Viva Espana!!!