Part of the appeal of living in Fitzroy is having everything I need within walking distance. I value having a great diversity of goods and services available in my immediate vicinity and like to support local businesses by buying from them even though they may not be the cheapest provider in town. For me to continue to enjoy the lifestyle enabled by being surrounded by convenience, I must support local businesses. To further this aim, I’m going to write a series of posts about where to get different ingredients in Fitzroy.
Fitzroyalty already features a strong emphasis on food, and I write about shops regularly, but I’m going to focus more on the specialties of individual shops and highlight what makes them unique. By exploring I have found many of the smaller food shops in Fitzroy stock specific things I like, such as white anchovy fillets at Casa Iberia or specific Victorian wines from different Fitzroy bottleshops.
While Fitzroy has many great things, it is not particularly well served for meat (I avoid supermarket meat). Jonathan’s on the Collingwood side of Smith St is nearby, as is the endless choice at the Queen Victoria Market. Perhaps this closeness, combined with the popularity of vegetarianism in the inner north, is the reason why there is only one specialty butcher in Fitzroy. Largo on the corner of Westgarth St and Brunswick St has a small but well selected range of meats, including rabbits and other things you won’t get at the supermarket, and the most delicious Sicilian style fennel chilli pork sausages.
I don’t specifically define Fitzroyalty as a food blog, though I write a lot about food. By some measures, such as its recent inclusion by the Herald Sun in its article on the best food blogs in Melbourne, Fitzroyalty is viewed as a food blog. By other measures, Fitzroyalty is not really a food blog, though it is kindly included in @Aussiefoodblogs‘ exhaustive list of Australian food blogs. The rules require at least a 50% focus on food, but with over 300 of my more than 1400 posts about food, Fitzroyalty has been included as I have written many more food posts than many food blogs have posts.
The two main areas of focus in food blogging are cooking recipes and restaurant reviewing. I don’t do recipe posts but I do a lot of cafe and restaurant reviewing. In discussions with other food bloggers I have identified two other areas of food blogging that are less common but arguably extremely useful areas to write about for readers – information about shops and where to buy ingredients and information about growing food.
The community gardening, urban gardening, permaculture and guerrilla gardening movements provide a lot of content about producing food, but they’re not usually considered food bloggers. Maybe this should change? I’d be interested to hear what people think on this subject.
The other category – what shops stock and where to find ingredients – has vast potential and few people are doing it. @jetsettingjoyce does some excellent shopping posts, including reviews of Minh Phat in Abbotsford and Organic Wholefoods in Fitzroy.
I’m going to do more stories like this in future. Right now, I’m thinking about cooking my pork sausages.