Walking into Annie's Provedore & Produce Store is like walking into a magical wonderland. I was immediately engaged by the ambience of the store and the warmth I felt being in the room. I recall it like it was yesterday but truth be known, I was in Barwon Heads and in Annie's store way back in September but had not got around to writing about my visit there.
Andrea has been in hospitality all her life and her husband has been in business as a retailer all his life. Coming from an Italian background she was always into food and stocks everything she loves on her shelves (all the shelves in the store were designed and built by her husband Hamish). She tells me everything in her store is pretty much bespoke and that when people come to Barwon Heads on holidays, she pretty much has everything they need on her shelves.
Andrea believes in entertaining her customers and she's been doing that in Barwon Heads for 10 years. She took over the upstairs about 14 moths ago and does all the catering in her commercial kitchen located there to service her customers. She entices them with antipasto entrees and gourmet pizzas at night for dinners and on Slow Food Thursdays you can enjoy meals like braised chicken with heirloom carrots and mushrooms and duck with pomegranate, molasses and polenta. The chefs may do all the cooking but Andrea signs off on the look and the taste of the food.
It was not always that way. When she started ten years ago with an Italian line in a place where the bulk of the produce was Aussie, her sanity was in question. She can't however sell anything she's not passionate about and stuck to her guns. She only stocks lines she believes in herself and uses. She's meticulous about the packaging and looks of her products and she still gets excited about her goods. She tells me she knows what good food is and what it tastes and looks like. She's been known to insist her customers taste her food in the hope of changing their ideas and old fashioned memory of food. She gets a real kick out of it when they come up with "it was nothing like I thought it was going to be".
Bookmark Annie's Provedore & Produce Store's website and 'like' their Facebook Page to keep up with special events that may be happening at the store. Annie's Provedore & Produce Store also provides catering services and you can find more information about the catering on their new website HERE. There are EVENTS already planned for 2015 so you best keep your finger on the pulse of this exciting venue so you don't miss out.