One of the treasures in Parap Village, Darwin, and a gem inside and out, is Parap Fine Foods, a store that Peter and I discovered after a Saturday morning brunch and shopping at the Parap Markets.
Situated in of one Darwin's oldest suburbs, Parap Fine Foods was originally established as Parap Fruit and Vegetables in 1968 by Paul and Rene Pantazis, who recognised that Darwin needed a good retail greengrocer. That was some 40 years ago. The city has come a long way since then and their store today brings the best of fine quality, gourmet food and wine to the people of Darwin.
We were fortunate to meet and spend some time with Paul and Rene and their son, Neville, during our recent weekend in Darwin. They were kind enough to invite us 'out the back' and offer a cup of espresso and chat about life in Darwin and their love of good food. 'We wanted to make sure that Darwin doesn't miss out on anything,' Rene explained. Clearly the couple, indeed the family, takes pride in their business and in satisfying their customers. Rene and I talked about some of the lines: Maggie Beer, Brookfarm, The Stock Merchant, Careme Pastry and Charmaine Solomon pastes and marinades. Rene certainly knows her products.
We were absolutely delighted when Neville presented us with a copy of a beautiful book titled Forty Fine Years by Peter and Sheila Forrest. 'Enjoy the story of our family,' Neville wrote inside. Published in 2008, the book is a collection of stories and recipes celebrating the Pantazis family and their many achievements, including Parap Fine Foods. The legendary Charmaine Solomon was interviewed for the book and said 'At Parap there is this wonderful shop that brings the best of the world into Darwin, making it possible for local people to go country hopping and eat their way around the world with the very best ingredients. Paul and Rene have brought the food halls of Harrods and David Jones to Darwin.' Paul's Stuffed Figs and Rene's Skordalia are among the family recipes shared in the book.
So, if you are a Darwin resident, or you happen to visit Darwin at any time, make sure you pop in to Parap Fine Foods and meet the Pantazis family. And please say hello from Peter and me. Parap Fine Foods is at Parap Village, 40 Parap Road and is open seven days a week (9am-1pm on Sundays).
Farmers and growers, artisan producers, and wonderful providores.