The creative behind the much-loved D.O.C Pizzeria and Carlton Espresso, Tony Nicolini, has recently extended his foodie franchise to include a top-of-the-range delicatessen, stocking only the finest in Italian-imported and Australian-grown quality produce. Everything from buffalo mozzarella, 100 year old balsamic vinegar, deliciously streaky San Danielle prosciutto, Parmiggiano Reggiano, Maluka honey and of course, wine to compliment it all.
The ‘Dolce and Gabbana’ of delicatessens, this unique little market has its own in-house chefs who, rather than being tucked away in a kitchen, will be demonstrating their methods on large trestle tables at the center of the shop. There will be pasta-making, salumi courses and polenta days in winter. These experienced chefs will guide customers through the Italian cuisine as they know it, extending their knowledge through communication and demonstration. D.O.C does not look upon its public as mere buyers, but as individuals who are taking the initiative to cook or entertain at home, and must be guided, with expertise, towards the most rewarding ingredients, the simplest techniques and of course, the best wine with which to serve!
This brings us to Vino Bambino, D.O.C’s local wine supplier. I was lucky enough to chat with Mark and Michelle Singarella, the husband and wife duo behind this boutique label, who guided me carefully through their extensive, yet select portfolio. A combination of Italian-imported, and locally made, the collection reflects upon the careful selection, sound knowledge and genuine appreciation that both Mark and Michelle nurture for this famed nectar of the gods!
Mark’s Calabrese/Sicilian background has influenced his focus on the Southern Italian regions for the importe collection, although a delicious ‘La Ginestra’ Pinot Grigio from the northernmost reaches of Italy, in Collio, does sneak into the selection, defying the rule. The Australian wines hail from everywhere, including Margaret River, WA, Macedon, Victoria, the Canberra District and Southern Tasmania. Mark and Michelle’s own baby, the Little Vespa range, is a highlight. Encompassing a spectrum of popular varieties, a Moscato, Pinot Grigio and Sangiovese, that speak to long, boisterous lunches with family and fresh food. The latter variety, capitalizing on the popular Sangiovese grape, though produced in the cool climates of King Valley, Victoria, seems to encapsulate the playful nature of the Italian Aussie – it is light and subtle, yet boasts lingering rustic flavours that make it utterly memorable.
The Little Vespa brand also extends to include an exquisite extra virgin olive oil, which guests sampled in its purest form, simply paired with some crusty ciabatta. But this little gem would be a welcome asset to any kitchen, drizzled over some truss tomatoes and bocconcini, maybe with some aged balsamic, and you’d have yourself a perfect meal…and a perfect accompaniment to the San Giovese!
Upon departure, I was handed a Sweet Cantina cookie, a light biscotti-like biscuit made with Little Vespa Pinot Grigio and extra virgin olive oil. This surprising combination, both subtle and satisfying, was the perfect ending to my decadent afternoon. Keep your eyes peeled for the opening of the D.O.C Delicatessen at 330 Lygon St, Carlton (Tony promises within the fortnight) and you can browse Vino Bambino’s wines for yourself, and most likely be tempted by some delectable delicacies as you do so.
For more information on Vino Bambino, visit the Vino Bambino website.
For more information on the D.O.C. Group, visit the D.O.C. website.