Freelance writer and blogger. Visit my interior design blog at homeandheartaustralia.blogspot.com
Published June 27th 2012
I'm a huge fan of my local Coles at the Showgrounds Village in Ascot Vale. Everything is brand new and, to the locals' delight, it has been the start of a great little hub of stores opening in the surrounding area.
Powering in and out of Coles, I never really noticed the slightly gourmet looking shop nearby, until one day I was in dire need of a coffee. Well I went in for a coffee, and came out twenty minutes later with three bags in my hand.
If you haven't already heard about Provata Urban Larder and Cafe, I'll let you in on a little secret. Provata is a clever mix of delicatessen, fine food stockist, pantry and cafe. It's an extensive set-up that gives you all the tools you need to unleash your inner Curtis Stone - you can even purchase aprons and kitchen utensils here.
Formed in 2011, Provata's mission is to embrace a love of good food, and blend this with a love of entertaining. They deliver a great selection of food and artisan products, as well as taking a lot of pride in the Allpress coffee they serve, bringing it all to the fingertips of an amateur like myself. Gone are the days of having to trek into the David Jones Foodcourt in the city to buy all your speciality products.
Provata's selection of local, organic and seasonal produce is always expanding, with a great range of cheeses and deli meats, as well as gluten-free treats and other sweets. I made a mad dash for the freezer section to find, with much excitement, my favourite Ben and Jerry's ice cream. This American company makes the best icecream (try Chocolate Fudge Brownie), however it is a little on the expensive side. I was also happy to find that my favourite gourmet version of party pies (made by Brunswick company Boscastle) are also available at Provata - the Thai Chicken ones will impress even the toughest of critics.
Provata also has a ready-made range of paninis and sandwiches that can be toasted while you settle down at the big wood table and read the paper, or there's plenty of little goodies to browse at while you sip your coffee, putting off the inevitable visit to the supermarket. This little gem of a destination store is making gourmet and fresh produce even more accessible, and is well worth the visit.