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Published October 31st 2013
Get inspired at Woolloongabba's ingredients stores
You know how you feel when you get in the mood to whip up a gourmet storm but you don't have all the ingredients you need? Or, you feel like you need inspiration so you can climb out of your cooking rut but you don't know where to find it?
Start at Balaclava Street, Woolloongabba and inspiration will creep up on you.
Make a point of stopping for lunch here to take the edge off your hunger so you can hunt-and-gather for your ingredients without overdoing it. (But not so much as to ruin your inspirational appetite.) They have a range of delicious pies (think beef and Guinness), filled croissants made in the traditional French style, baguette rolls and quiche slices. Or indulge on macarons, danishes, cakes, slices or cookies. But by all means, don't leave the place without picking up a freshly baked ciabatta or sourdough, or else why go there in the first place?? Oh, and you can also get good coffee!
At Banneton, they don't use any artificial improvers or additives and the doughs are made using only natural ingredients and time-honoured traditional methods.
A couple of doors up is All India Foods, a warehouse-style grocer that sells bulk quantities of Indian dried goods, curry pastes, spices, ghee, frozen foods, rice, chutneys, flours, nuts, oils and more. Here are a couple of very interesting curry mixes ... "Spicy Hooves Curry" and "Brain Masala". Try it, I dare you!
Spicy Hooves Curry and Brain Masala
If you want to cook up an Indian storm, or if you have an Indian banquet to prepare, you'll find everything you need - in huge and domestic quantities - here.
On the same stretch of road, you'll find Pennisi Cuisine, where at some point, every Italian Nonna goes to stock up on deli and dry goods.
It's a warehouse so don't go expecting your cold cuts to be lovingly sliced for you. Everything is cryovac-packed and sold in sizes that would last an Italian family a couple of weeks. There's prosciutto, salami, mortadella plus Italian cheeses, olives and antipasto. But you'll also find grocery items including coffee, jars of all manner of tasty goodies, pasta and more.
At Pennisi, other cultures are catered for as well so you'll find everyday foods and delicacies from France, the Middle East, Spain, Greece and Latin America.
Here you'll find kosher matzo meal, orange blossom water, Israeli pearl cous cous, rose water, Mexican chocolate, casava flour, Colombian frozen fruit pulp, Japanese sushi rice ... and so much more!
Take a look at the amazing flavours of hot chocolate which you buy by the sachet for a single serve: Tiramisu Cream, Raspberry, Meringue, Chocolate Mint, Banana and my personal favourite, Chilli Chocolate.
Amazing flavours of hot chocolate
Going to Balaclava St, Woolloongabba might seem a bit out of the way for some but it's worth a couple of hours just to wander through the above-mentioned shops and get inspired. You could whip up an Indian feast, create some chicken soup for the soul complete with Kosher matzo balls, bliss out on olives, cheese and cold cuts with sourdough bread, pick up a tortilla press and invite friends over for margaritas and tortillas, discover weird and wonderful new ingredients and find recipes for them, talk to the store keepers about how to prepare particular foods, and just inhale the experience.
Parking is on the street or, if you're lucky, in the little spaces just in front of the businesses. Bring an insulated cooler, even if you don't think you'll buy cold items because you just never know.
Once you've visited for the first time, you'll know what to expect so you can seek out suitable recipes and buy the right ingredients the next time you go.