Five Dock: Italian Food Heaven
A bunch of us had been trying to organise a mini food tour of Five Dock by our friend Carmel for ages, and finally the appointed day rolled around. A gorgeously bright and sunny Sydney Winter day all 6 of us met on the main strip on the Great North Road. First stop: Ranieri’s Continental Delicatessen. This bustling, packed to the rafters deli is an Italophile food lovers heaven. Oils, pasta, cheese, canned goods, cold meats, sweets, dried fruit, coffee, you name it, they have it!
We’re welcomed by Joseph Ranieri, 3rd generation of this family business, who gives us a tasting of various cheeses, cold meats and oils. Clockwise from the top, a beautiful hot salami, a chicken unlike I’d never had before, nothing like the supermarket chicken meat I’d had as a child, bresaola with crumbled Parmesan, a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of excellent extra virgin olive oil…I kept coming back for this one! And lastly some Mortadella.
I ended up buying some of the stunning bresaola and serving it just like this the next day at a friend’s house. It was gobbled up. Quickly. Joseph continued to pull out cheeses and little morsels for us to taste. One of the more tasty treats is a beautiful pecorino studded with truffle. I bought a wedge of it, and I’m not sharing! I did buy it, along with some Ranieri made pasta, with the intention of shaving the pecorino over it, letting it melt and then eating it all for myself. But haven’t got around to it yet.
This is Joseph Ranieri and the mortadella. See how big that sucker is?? Huge!
I left Ranieri’s with
- 1kg of their house blend coffee
- hunk of parmesan
- wedge of truffle pecorino
- a bag of amaretti
- 1 pack of house made pasta
- 1 pack of fusilli
- balsamic vinegar
And I’m sure there was something else too, but can’t quite remember.
Here’s the host of the tour, Carm, with her namesake pasta (incidentally the interesting pasta shape I bought)
Just as we were about to leave, Joseph pulled out these crazy looking dried fish! Similar to bacalao, left whole, dried rather than salted:
Next stop: Pasticceria Tamborrino! I’d been hearing about these AWESOME CANNOLI the entire time I’ve known Carm. A specialty of the island of Sicily, located off the tip of the toe of Italy’s boot, this dessert is easy to mess up, and very, very hard to get right. Delicate deep fried rolls of pastry, stuffed with either ricotta, chocolate or custard. After eating these beauties I realised how bad the others I’d eaten were. That’s not to say they were awful, they weren’t, but they weren’t as fresh, shatteringly crisp, and gorgeously ricotta light as these. I’m embarrassed to say how many I ate over the weekend, including the ones I took home! Not to mention the ricotta stuffed panzerotti, and the rum baba…
At this stage, we needed another rest, and Carm led us to Rizzo’s, her favourite local cafe. While here we reversed again, and had a savoury course, the highlight being this amazing arrancini:
Even luckier for me, I scored a side trip to Haberfield on the way home, and stopped into Paeasanella and grabbed some fresh ricotta and ricotta salata, and some gorgeous milky mozzarella, then quickly nipped a couple of doors down to Colefax chocolates.
I will definitely be returning to Five Dock to stock up on Italian pantry staples. I was gobsmacked by how much cheaper things like good pasta and bottles of passata and bags of coffee were in comparison to those available closer to where I live. I’ll also be returning to Pasticceria Tamborrino and those lush Cannoli…. 😉
Ranieri’s Continental Delicatessen
97 Great North Road
02 9713 6886
73-75 Great North Road
02 9712 1461
157 Great North Road
02 9712 0200
88 Ramsay Street
02 9799 8483
78 Ramsay Street
02 9798 2022