The bodega (literally translated from Spanish: wine cellar) is where you can grab cured meats, fine cheeses and often a bottle of vino to wash them down with. If you’re lucky enough to live near one of these local favourites, they have no minimum spend on card purchases.
This Fitzroy organic shop is leading the way in an increasing number of health food shop/bodega hybrids, offering a smart selection of wine and beer alongside quality pantry items, produce and ready-to-eat meals. Here, wines are preservative-free, meat is free range and produce is organic. Beyond catering to the health-conscious, Aunt Maggie’s is paradise for anyone eating vegan, gluten-free, paleo or kosher diets, with aisle after aisle of hard-to-find products.
On sunny Saturdays, you’ll find Fairfield locals tucking into big, healthy breakfasts on the outdoor tables at Harvest; a café and organic food store that has been a Station Street mainstay since 2004. Owners Claire Fischer and Ian Russell source all the dairy products, eggs, cured meats, chocolates and sweet treats from local farmers and producers, and if you arrive early enough, you’ll find warm, fresh bread from Baker D Chirico.
The best part of shopping at this fine food store and wine cellar is that you never quite know what you’ll find on each visit. One week you could find Punt Road chardonnay from the Yarra Valley on special; another week you could pick up two bottles of Dal Zotto prosecco from King Valley for $35. Gumtree’s friendly staff won’t rest until you find the perfect bottle of wine to match the meal you’re cooking for a dinner party, and they also run regular evening wine tasting sessions. Their formidable selection of wine is matched with their range of tasty locally made treats, fresh fruit and vegetables and cured meats, cheese and house-made pasta sauces.
Chefs Lachie McCallum and Kirsty Laird have united their love of French cuisine and Australian produce in Obelix and Co: a charcuterie and bottle shop selling a signature range of smallgoods, terrines, pâté and rillettes made with locally sourced ingredients. This small, bright shop isn’t for the vegetarians; inside, you’ll find handcrafted delicacies including terrine made from beef tongue by Gippsland’s Milk Fed Beef and free-range pork sausages by Bundarra Berkshires. No time to cook? Lachie and Kirsty also make a range of take-home meals and soups, and will happily take you through their carefully curated range of wines to pair perfectly with your dish.
This decades-old Kew stalwart is much more than a fruit and vegetable store. While customers still jostle to fill their baskets with fresh produce, they also take their pick from premium smallgoods from Victorian producers and locally sourced milk, eggs and cheese. Staying true to their Italian roots, Toscano’s offers an unparalleled range of olive oils and vinegars, antipasto and fresh pasta, and will soon start stocking wine.
Lygon Street’s Little Italy precinct wouldn’t be what it is today without Enoteca Sileno. This cellar and foodstore has been importing the best of Italian fare to Melbourne since 1953 – a time when pantry staples like extra virgin olive oil and pasta were only just starting to become known by the wider community. Founder Gino Di Santo set up many of Enoteca’s relationships with Italian wineries, bakeries and farms, a number of which are still operating today. Products on the shelves come with descriptions of the region they come from, so you can sprinkle Sicilian sea salt on hand-shaped orecchiette from Puglia, topped with sauce made from tinned tomatoes from Abruzzo. To take your love of Italian food to the next level, sign up to a class at La Scuola di Cucina and learn how to make the perfect pizza or fresh pasta.
We dare you to gaze into Alimentari’s deli cabinet and resist buying something special to take home. Whether it’s a wedge cut from a wheel of Grana Padano cheese, thin slices of cured salumi or a handful of marinated peppers, you can be sure that every Italian delicacy is premium quality. Choose from an impressive selection of Italian wines to take home, or sit down in the small adjacent café and enjoy a glass with a bowl of pan-fried ricotta gnocchi.
Putting a modern spin on the traditional corner store is Oxford Larder: a tiny food store and eatery focusing on farm-to-door produce. Fresh herbs hang from the ceiling and jars of housemade preserves, granola, sauces and ready-to-eat meals line the shelves while baristas grind Market Lane coffee. Can’t get a spot at the 20-seat café? Head up the road to Oxford Larder’s sister venue South of Johnston, or stock up from the larder and make yourself something special at home.