The great bergamot hunt continues. In the short time I had available to me on my recent trip to Melbourne, I raided all the food haunts I could think of. It was quite a rush, trying to squish my search in before and after a series of work meetings. Not that I’m complaining about visiting all the treasure troves for foodies that Melbourne has on offer. I visited the fabulous French deli on Lygon Street. La Parisienne Pâtés has a range of wonderful French charcuterie and drygoods, alas, no bergamot. From there I checked the David Jones food court where I saw some beautiful candied figs, candied orange, candied lemon zest, but no candied bergamot zest. It was very sad. But the journey was young, and I made my way to the Queen Victoria Markets. On the way I stopped in at a few home ware stores, and one kindly chap suggested I try naturopathy suppliers. Bergamot you see, has a range of health benefits including as an antidepressant, a digestive and lowering blood pressure. So I called in at what used to be the Australian College of Natural Medicine, but is now the Endeavour College of Natural Medicine. There I befriended a fellow blogger and tea lover, but did not come by any bergamot. When I made it to the market, I asked at more than half a dozen stores in the deli section, to no avail and put a hold on the hunt to go to a series of meetings.
Thereafter, I headed back to Carlton to continue the hunt before anything could close. I have spoken previously about Gewűrzhaus, the wonderful, fragrant spice store that began on Lygon Street and has spread all over town. Walking into their store is like walking into a thoroughly modern version of the store of a Silk Road spice merchant. They have wonderful glass tubs and an old timber chest of cataloguing drawers filled with bulk spices, herbs, salts and blends from around the world. They also sell a range of interesting home wares. I was very excited to buy a range of herbs for my pantry and upcoming creations. The staff are always so lovely, and very helpful. Alas, they had no bergamot. They had dried orange segments, dried orange peel, orange extract, and the same for lemon, but no bergamot.
From there I headed to the famous King and Godfrey grocer on the corner of Lygon and Faraday Streets. King & Godfrey have been there since 1884 and always have a fabulous array of deli goods, beers, wine and spirits. They were ever so helpful, but didn’t have any bergamot. They however, suggested I try the Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot in East Brunswick. Years ago, when they stocked many herb and health supplements, they used to sell bergamot extract. Unfortunately, they reduced their stocks of such products, and are not sure where the retailers they used to supply currently source the product. They did however, inform me that the Pharmaceutical Plant Company may have some. Unfortunately the Pharmaceutical Plant Company does not sell food grade products. However, they in turn suggested Australian Botanical Products. It seems ABP may indeed produce bergamot extract that is suitable, but I am awaiting confirmation. In the mean time I have also posted on Nigella Lawson’s facebook wall and emailed The Essential Ingredient. Wish me luck!