James and Donna are a husband and wife team who have recently opened a new business. And for anyone who loves their food and entertaining, this is a great new business. James trained and worked as a chef before running his own very successful catering business. A year ago he had a desire to open a business where he could sell a range of quality products to chefs and caterers and the DIY cook and entertainer.
Opening six months ago in a warehouse facility is Food Estate, providores of fine food. It provides a service to restaurants, cafes and caterers and from Thursday to Saturday it’s open to the public.
A good friend of mine is Jenny and she entertains constantly and always for large numbers of people like 150 to her Christmas party, 200 to her husband’s 50th, a cocktail party for 100 parents from her daughter’s graduating class, 50 women to a baby shower and then there’s the dinner parties. Having her finger on the pulse, Jenny discovered Food Estate the instant it opened. Because of all her entertaining she beetles down there frequently as she’s able to buy in bulk, is paying less than retail and loves the quality and variety of what’s provided.
For six months Jenny has been saying, ‘Have you been to Food Estate? You’ve got to go there’. So last week I drove to Food Estate which is very close to the Belrose Supa Centre. The first thing that delighted me when I arrived is that there’s lots of available parking and all the parking is very close to the warehouse. Excellent!
Warehouses aren’t normally a thing of beauty but this one has been well styled with black walls and lots of chalk-art. It appears James is not only handy in the kitchen but also handy with a box of tools as he has made a lot of the shelving and the counter top out of recycled wooden crates.
At the rear of the warehouse is a large cool room. As much as I hate the cold, I don’t mind wandering through a cool room. Food Estate stocks a great variety of cheeses and I noticed the parmigiana reggiano is very well priced. I found a truffle cheddar cheese from Ford Farm in England and last night I took it to a barbecue and it was served with pre-dinner drinks and gobbled up in a matter of minutes. It was a very smooth cheddar with a prominent truffle flavour. Everyone adored it.
James has just returned from a food and produce tour of Italy. While there he visited the town where prosciutto di parma is made and stamped with the ducal crown. James now stocks that authentic Italian prosciutto and you will find it’s much more affordable to buy it from Food Estate than from your corner deli.
Quality small goods are also stocked at Food Estate. I found some from La Boqueria. The name comes from the La Boqueria market in Barcelona that dates back to 1217 and was always known for having the best of what Spain has to offer. A specialty of the market was the produce from Spain’s best pigs. For its business, La Boqueria small goods company has chosen the name that is synonymous with quality. I took home a chorizo flavoured with fennel and also took it to the barbecue where it was devoured as quickly as the cheese.
In the freezer section I found so many items to help the DIY caterer and this is all especially useful given we are coming into the party season. James explained that a lot of his Thursday to Saturday customers are private individuals with anxiety-due-to-entertaining-at-home syndrome. They arrive knowing they have 40 people for drinks on a Saturday night and are not really sure what to feed them. This is where James and Donna provide a complimentary service of taking an interest in your event and advising what items would work well for your function.
Food Estate is full of great ideas from frozen pork and chive dumplings, twice-cooked miniature duck pies, homemade spinach and cheese triangles and arancini balls. To give you an idea of price, you can buy 100 arancini balls for just over a dollar each. My friend, Jenny, buys bags of the frozen dumplings to serve as snacks to her three children who are all studying for exams.
The freezer section also has sweet treats and you can buy a variety box of petit fours that has six different little desserts for around $2.00 per item. These same desserts are sold to 5-star hotels in Sydney. There are also boxes of mini cupcakes in four flavours that are very pretty and all you have to do is leave them on the bench to thaw and then then serve.
As it is now Christmas baking season, I was really pleased to find that Food Estate stocks bulk quantities of almond paste and fondant. As most of you are aware I do make a lot of Christmas cakes and buying small packets of both marzipan and fondant is not cost effective and very expensive. James stocks genuine marzipan from Odense (same brand I was buying at the supermarket) but this comes in 1kg packets and costs less than half the price I was paying at the supermarket.
My face lit up when I saw a 1 gallon (4kg) container of white fondant. In the supermarket I could only buy 500gm packets and it would take three to cover one cake. I now have enough for two large cakes and a couple of smaller ones and by buying in bulk I saved a lot of money. If you don’t require such a large amount, Food Estate also stocks smaller quantities.
I visited Food Estate thinking I would buy a couple of things but came away with a boot load. This is a terrific small business and as an individual, great that they allow the public to shop at their warehouse and take advantage of industry prices. With my Christmas entertaining and baking schedule cranking up, I know I’ll be back to reload my boot.
For readers visiting Food Estate, James and Donna will give a gift to every customer who spends more than $50.00 and mentions Hotly Spiced.
Verdict: A relief to every entertainer
Food Estate: 4/20 Narabang Way, Belrose NSW