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From Italy to Lebanon. One Market. One Community.

Wednesday 21st February 2018

We love that we have traders with origins from around the world at the market. It means that you can find gourmet and everyday fresh foods that have been sourced locally but influenced by international cultures.

It also means that whatever flavour your taste buds are craving, you can find it – along with the expertise to advise and inspire.

We spoke to a few of our amazing traders to find out more about their history and their delicious produce. In this article, we travel from Italy to Lebanon.

Joe Scarpa– Treviso, Italy 

Joe was born in Treviso, Italy – around 10 minutes from Venice. He moved to Australia with his family in 1961 and is passionate about Italian cooking but also embracing the Australian way of eating.

When you think about the eating and drinking culture of Treviso, imagine prosecco; stuffed zucchini flowers; prawns with polenta; fried ricotta; handmade pasta such as pumpkin gnocchi, tagliolini and ravioli; and salted cod (baccalà).   It is also said to be the birthplace of Tiramisu!

Traditionally, breakfast is a lighter affair (think coffee, bread rolls and pastries, for example), lunch is the main meal of the day (often two courses), followed by a simple supper.

When it comes to buying fresh food in Italy, it’s a common trend to choose local markets and stores as opposed to larger-scale supermarkets.  As we all well know, the main advantage of shopping at your local market is that it offers the freshest, most seasonal produce available at that time. Which in turn means tasty, fresh meals enjoyed amongst family and friends.

Joe fondly remembers eating sausages when he was growing up. So much so that the team at Ian’s Meats has created a range of three Veneto sausages, inspired by the region where Joe was born. Using 100% female pork shoulder (for a sweeter flavour), the range includes Salsicce Veneto Pork, Hot Italian and the Salsicce Veneto Con Finocchio – with the latter winning 3rd place at the recent Prahran Market Sausage Fest.

And when asked if he had a tip he regularly gives to his customers, it was a resounding “yes”! If you are looking to make the best, traditional Italian Ragu then you should always use the Oyster Blade beef cut and Pork Belly. Cook for 2-3 hours and you will get an amazing, full flavour with delectable, tender meat. A perfect dish to share with your family and friends as the weather gets cooler.

Naheda Hassan – Lebanon

Naheda moved to Australia from Lebanon at just 6 weeks of age, though moved back to her birth-land for a decade – where she had her children. Now firmly settled in Australia, Naheda sees the Prahran Market stall she has traded at for 10 years as part of her home.

The food culture of Lebanon is unique and has evidence of Turkish, French, Middle-East and Asian influences.

A common breakfast is ‘manoushe’; a thick, slightly sweet bread with olive oil and za’atar.  Often served with lebne, it’s best served warm out of the oven with freshly squeezed orange juice.  Sounds pretty good, right?

When entertaining, Lebanese meals often consist of a variety of hot and cold shared Mezze, all served at once.  These small dishes may vary widely and may include hummus; bread; salads; grilled seafood and meat; pickled vegetables; and lentils, just to name a few.

“We are all about Arabic hospitality,” said Naheda. “Everyone from Lebanon believes the food produced in their own home is the best and we are offering customers the opportunity to come into ours. We want to give them a taste experience, including staple Lebanese flavours – olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.”

Wherever you eat in Lebanon there will be dips on the table and that’s what Naheda is known for.

Naheda suggests there are five different ways to use a good dip in Lebanese cuisine – on its own, as a marinade, tossed through a salad, a side sauce for meat or stirred through cooked pasta.


Note: Naheda’s signature dip is ‘The Bomb’.  A delicious, two-layer dip with garlic aioli, chilli pesto and three types of olives. Her dips are fresh, have no preservatives and are full of flavour.  They are described as DSD – dips, sauces and dressings.

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