Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
So, quiet achiever Adelaide is making a bold claim - to have the oldest nuts in Australia! Or perhaps more correctly the oldest nut shop in Australia. That's nuts as in the crunchy things you eat, not nuts as in slightly wacky folk. Ditters Nuts in Gawler Place, Adelaide, just off the Rundall Street Mall, is worth a quick detour purely for the pleasure of immersing yourself in its old-worlde atmosphere of wooden trimmings, glass counters, gracious services and walls of wonderful glass jars stuffed with - well, nuts, of course - but also chocolates, dried fruits, marzipan treats, savoury snacks - almost anything you could possibly want.
Permeating everything is the gentle, warm and inviting smell of roasting nuts, which inspires as immediate, welcome flash back to buying warm nuts with my Dad and Grandad when I was just knee high. Ditters still roast all their own nuts on site, in healthy rice bran oil, and I couldn't recommend enough their signature Winners blend of macadamia, cashews and almonds with a hint of cayenne spices enough. Then again, it was also hard to go past the licorice bullets, and the chocolate-dipped ginger, and the trail mix, dried figs, and the the glace fruit ...... you get the idea - I now have a cupboard full of tempting little bulging paper bags!
The shop was started by Clarke Ditter's grandfather back in 1917 and moved to its present site at 26 Gawler Place in 1978. The walls are lined with beautiful old black and white photos and plaques giving an insight into the shop's early days. While the business is no longer in the family, Clark still works at the store each day and, along with the other shop attendants, offers a calm, kind and genteel shopping experience of regrettably bygone days. There are beautiful gift boxes and Christmas hampers and if you can't make it into the shop - well, that is definitely your loss - but there is an excellent online service through their website as well. Prices are very reasonable and the challenge of that is how easy it makes it to buy more and more of the tempting produce. Not that I tried too hard to resist ......
Ditters Nut and Fruit speciality shop (image: JP Mundy)
I had the absolute privilege to meet one of the sons of Mr Ditter that started this fantastic SA business today and at 94 years young, I am super impressed with his memories of a bygone era where business during the war was a real family affair . Thank you William, you made my day.