Getting pickled in Kyneton …




Emelia’s The Saucy Australian, 20a Piper Street, Kyneton. Phone: 5422 2020

Having talked to Emelia by phone several months previously – seeking, and failing to discover, the seasoning of pickled onions that were a highlight of a Flemington ploughman’s lunch – it’s a pleasure to meet her in person.

It’s just as much a pleasure to get “the tour” and discover over the course of an hour or so the history, life and times of the company started 15 years ago by Emelia and her husband, Ron.

One surprise is to discover that the company’s endeavours extend beyond the pickles, sauces and condiments I had expected – there’s pies being made today to join a range that also includes soups, casseroles and pates.

But these fresh items are only sold locally – from the shop that itself has only been in operation for the past three years.

How does Emelia talk about her company, its many products and her pride in its success?

With relish, of course!


The numbers are impressive.

“We’re Australia’s most awarded condiment producer,” Emelia proclaims. “And all our products are completely chemical and gluten free.”

The company currently supplies its 49-product line to about 2000 customers all over Australia – and not one of them has the words “Coles” or “Woolworths” as part of their name.

These days all orders are handled by Australia Post.

Before that, though, Emelia and Ron hit the road big time.

“We spent three weeks on the road and then two at home for five years,” Emelia says. “We did that for five years, covering 100,000 kilometres a year.”

It’s that sort of hands-on approach that remains the bedrock philosophy of the company, although these days Emelia does it all by telephone, staying in touch with customers she has gotten to know so well.


Wherever possible, she uses locally grown produce, including fresh herbs, some of which she grows herself.

The onions – typically 3000 kilograms in a three-month period – come from Swan Hill, Tasmania or South Australia.

The chilli content comes from Bundaberg in the form of a fresh puree.

The spotlessly clean production, bottling and cooking area looks like a small factory but is also recognisably a kitchen.

The onions are topped and tailed by machine, but other than that there are no conveyer belts and the like here – everything, including bottling, is done by hand.

I can attest to the excellence of the steaming hot and fresh chicken and mushroom pie Emelia provides me for lunch.

Thanks to Emelia, Consider The Sauce has a gift pack of Old-Fashioned Pickled Onions, Piccalilli Chilli and Lincolnshire Chutney to give to one lucky reader.

First person to email me – the address is on the site and not too hard to find – is the winner!

Emelia’s products are sold by Pompello in Seddon and Parade Deli in Williamstown.

Or you can order online at the Emelia’s website.

Thanks to Emelia and her crew for putting up with my many questions and incessantly clicking camera!


A.Bongiovanni & Son


See profile of Anthony Bongiovanni here.

A.Bongiovanni & Son, 176-178 Victoria St, Seddon. Phone: 9689 8669

Our first visit to the flash new Seddon food emporium is in the early evening of opening day.

We only need a few things and are not intent on doing a serious shop, but are intrigued to have a good look around.

First impressions:

Having long been familiar with the furniture store that preceded it, we find it a little smaller than we expect.

But factoring in storage and refrigeration requirements, it all adds up.

The word we’d heard that this was going to be like a smaller version of La Manna at Essendon Airport has only partly eventuated.

On the one hand, this business is not going to put the supermarket around the corner out of business for the simple reason that – unlike La Manna – there is no loo paper or laundry powder or paper towels or … you get the picture.

Nope, here it’s strictly food and drink all the way.

On the other hand, like La Manna everything except the fruit and vegetables is packaged and packed and packaged again.

There’s a lot of plastic going on here.

There’s also a strong Italian factor, but they cover a lot of other bases, too.

At first blush, and with some notable exceptions mentioned below, this seems a pricey place.

Pricey, but top line just about all the way.

Whether it be ice cream, chocolate, pasta, antipasti, juices, ready-made curries or biscotti and much, much more, overwhelmingly most of the stock effortlessly falls into the “deluxe” category.

Finally, there is an undeniable “wow” factor.

Given the nature of the prices and the lines carried, it seems unlikely A.Bongiovanni & Son will be a staple of ordinary household shopping for us or just about anyone else.

But I reckon there’s little doubt it’ll become a regular stop when we want just the right kind of quality ingredients or just the right kind of treat we so often deserve.

Now that’s some really cheap pasta and tinned toms – although they have deluxe versions of both, especially the pasta.

The oil line-up looks pretty solid, although we didn’t stop long enough to get into specifics.

They have their own line of frozen stuffed pasta at a really good $3.49 – ravioli, tortellini and gnocchi.

It being the kind of night on which dad has nothing planned for dinner and we’re tired and uninspired, we grab a bag of the ravioli and a tub of Element bolognese sauce.

The beef ravioli we have a little later on are the best store-bought filled pasta I’ve ever had – no kidding!

Really, really tender with a nice nutmeg-infused flavour.

We’ll be having them again for sure, and trying the other two formats as well.

When it comes to the nuts and lollies, I think it’ll be a case of “prefer others” for us.

We’re really keen on hearing what other folks think of this long-awaited establishment!

Ms Baklover has got a more detailed post up at Footscray Food Blog.

She’s right to be in a celebratory mood – in our rush on a long and tiring week day, we didn’t even stop to marvel that such a place has opened up right in our neighbourhood!

Antipasti Deli Cafe


Antipasti Deli Cafe, 1 High St, Yarraville. Phone: 9318 0103

Yarraville Square Shopping Centre is the nearest shopping centre to our home, yet we rarely use it.

A well-stocked Coles with frequently long queues, a bottle shop, average chicken joint, a Subway – there’s not much there for us and the way we do.

Searching for details and information, this quip came up:

On a quiet night, the northern end of the parking lot affords a lovely view of the Subway store.

Turns out we’ve been missing a real gem the whole time.

When we visit for a Sunday lunch, Antipasti Deli Cafe is busy in a fetching way.

Locals and regulars are coming and going, picking up lunch makings and coffee, keeping the place humming and the staff busy.

The shop is quite small but stocked with a comprehensive range of goodies.

I suspect this place serves as a much-appreciated point for many folks putting together short-term shopping and evening meals when a full-on visit to the supermarket is not possible or warranted.

There’s all sorts of filled rolls and pies.

There’s the Sunday papers.

There’s all a good range of antipasti, cheese and dips.

There’s pasta and sauces and oils and a limited range of fresh produce.

The display of packaged biscotti and other sweeties is alluring.

There’s pasta sauces to take away – tomato, bolognese, pesto – all  for under $6.

There’s some tables inside and another half dozen or so outside.

Outside, too, there’s flowers and freezers offering all sorts of gelati and ice-cream stuff.

Antipasti Deli Cafe does cooked breakfasts, but we’re here for lunch … and what better than an antipasto platter for two, as befits the establishment’s name?

I really love the way Bennie has taken to these exercises in yumminess.

We adore the $21 spreads we get at Barkly Johnson, but a recent lacklustre and more pricey serving at a revered Carlton business showed him just how standards and quality can vary.

An earlier visit has ascertained from the boss, Fab, that they have two antipasto spreads – $15 for one and $28 for two.

We tell him that $28 sounds like too much food for we two, so he agrees to create something at the $20 mark just for us.

He may have given some weight to our lunch in the knowledge that photos are going to be taken and words are going to be written, but we are well pleased.

Our platter is meat heavy – good ham and prosciutto, some mild salami, some mortadella.

We use mortadella for week-day lunch sandwiches and rolls, so Bennie leaves it for me – and even I struggle.

The olive quotient is varied and includes large and red items we’ve never seen before. Unlike some big olives, these taste fine.

Bennie has taken a liking to artichokes, so he has his way with ours – meaning I get to scarf the tiny marinated mushrooms.

There’s two breads slices topped with what I believe is generally referred to as tomato pesto.

The two chargrilled eggplant slices are claimed by myself, while the cheese factor is represented by two globules of buffalo mozzarella.

We both like the sundried tomatoes with pesto.

I’m unsure how much of what we eat is prepared on the premises and how much is simply cracked out of bottles and other containers – but it all tastes good to us.

We finish with a good cafe latte for me and a hot chocolate for him that he opines lacks the required level of sweetness.

Could be we will become Antipasti Deli Cafe regulars.

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Seddon Wine Store


Seddon Wine Store, 2/101 Victoria St, Seddon. Phone: 9687 4817

There’s competition facing Seddon Wine Store within spitting distance – one a big wine and beer and spirits emporium right across the road, the other a smaller bottle store more like your local pub, just up the way in Charles St.

Nevertheless, it’s made a handy go of it by specialising for the wine set.

Which is probably why we’ve never tried the place out – Bennie is as much a wine buff as his dad is.

Besides, we’d long ascertained that what food there was on hand was of a lightweight variety.

But today that seems just right, as my lunch companion, Lady Rice, is no more hungry than I am but we’re both up for some vino and engaging conversation.

The Seddon Wine Store food list – see below – was actually introduced some time after the store opened.

It reads like something between tapas and antipasto.

As neither of us are ravenous, we go for the grazing plate ($18).

The olives are the hit – few in number, big in flavour.

The terrine, too, is good, especially wrapped the fine bread and a dab of mildish but tasty mustard.

The pancetta (or maybe it’s prosciuitto?) seems rather flavourless to me, as do the marinated mushrooms, which look like enoki, but are darker and bigger.

The hard Italian cheese – that’s as good an explanation as I afterwards get – is good with the little dab of quince paste.

All this is OK, but the conversation is better.

We talk about the Lady’s new blog, my slightly older one and our respective journeys.

The contrast, in a Melbourne context, could hardly be greater, but oddly enough we’ve ended up in spaces and places that are recognisably of the same planet and city.

Our light and snacky lunch suits us fine.

But while it may be unfair, it hardly bares comparison with the fresher, zingier, superb, significantly larger and only slightly more expensive antipasto spreads the Consider The Sauce boys regularly enjoy at Barkley Johnson.

And while there may be ways of chowing down with more specific items on the food list here, I suspect treating the place as a tapas bar could get rather pricey.

It’s prudent, I surmise, to think of it as a place that does some eats for drinkers rather than as a place that does drinks for eaters.

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