A friend recently posted on Facebook that she has eaten her bodyweight in cherries over this Christmas period. I would like to raise her quite a few kilos of cherries and state that I believe I am now officially supporting my local greengrocer on my purchases of cherries alone.
I started the season somewhat modestly, watching the price, waiting for it to go down and become ‘reasonable’. I bought the little trays on special, that either lacked a little in flavour or size and was slightly disappointed, not being very reassured by the fact that I was getting a bargain. So it wasn’t long before I began buying the more premium cherries, seduced by their plump roundness, deep purplish red hue and shiny skin. I even started hand picking them, making sure my pennies wouldn’t be thrown away at the sight of a split or mouldy reject.
The final straw was this afternoon when the patriarch of my local greengrocer said with a big grin that I must like this place. I had been in that morning buying ingredients for work. I had to own up that I was really just there for cherries, all the other items in my basket were a cover story. At least it’s out in the open now – Albino the Italian grocer, who is as excited for me about our European holiday as I am knows my weakness and is ordering a new delivery of cherries right now.

I have long been a fan of Martelli’s fruit market at West Epping just on Carlingford Rd at the top of the hill near the primary school. It used to be on the way to work. I have also become a semi-regular shopper at their Cherrybrook Shopping Centre store. The Cherrybrook store has the added convenience of a decent fishmonger, a great butcher and a fabulous deli. Along with a supermarket and liquor store it makes my work a whole lot easier when everything is in the one place, but unlike the average supermarket, the quality of the produce is outstanding, fresh and reasonably priced. I say average as a disclaimer, as I know there are some supermarkets where the range and quality are fantastic, but on the whole this is what I find in the Sydney suburbs. I am still hoping in vain that one day our local IGA will become as fantastic as the one at Haberfield. Moving to Haberfield right now is not a financially viable option. 🙂
Anyway, I was at a baby shower the other week and got to chatting about food, again. Rouse Hill shopping centre came up and Martelli’s was mentioned. Until today I hadn’t been to the Rouse Hill Martelli’s as it is not ‘on the way’ to any of my usual destinations but is actually not too long a drive. I was surprised by how big the shop was. A wide range of fresh produce not always easy to find, all in one location. A smallgoods counter, plenty of cheeses and dairy, olive oils, jams, bread etc. plus a wide range of quality frozen goods too. They even stock a few ‘Essential Ingredient’ items such as duck fat. Good to know, if ever I am in dire need of chips cooked in duck fat. Try it sometime.
Ok now you can tell I have been watching Julia Child. I am recommending our nation eat more duck fat. Oh well. 🙂