I know I’m a little late to this gourmet party, but boy am I glad I got dressed.

I’d first noticed the french bistro style chairs out front.  Then the sign indicating ‘Fine Food And Wine Merchants’.  Tinted windows.  Sandstone facade.  Barely through the door and I smiled.

Or was that a quick intake of breath. Probably both.  I’ve always loved gourmet food stores. I’m pretty sure my reaction is physical.  Having only recently moved to Adelaide and with very young children (my excuse and I’m sticking to it) it had been a while since I’d felt that special zing.

What I now know is that Bottego Rotolo is an Adelaide institution: deli and gourmet grocer, supplier of fine Italian wines, cooking school, wholesaler and retailer.  It’s been operating out of its Norwood premises for over 15 years.   Mine is a tardy arrival to the party indeed…

But ooh it’s so good to be here.  I’m not past the first row of shelves and I’m hooked.  It’s a plentiful but not excessive space: two main rooms of product displays, a cheese room, cold room and display, wine room and an intimate demonstration area at the heart.  There is also a small selection of cookbooks and cookware. All around me is a familiar warm earthiness, dark timber and genuine smiles.  No pretension.  Just a passionate commitment to sourcing and supplying the best.

I need some salt flakes.  I linger long on the SoSo range of Fleur de Sel and Sea Salt blends.  These are harvested using traditional methods on the South East Coast of Spain and then blended with local organic ingredients: dried tuna roe or mediterranean herbs; dried figs or saffron. It reminds me of Paris markets.  I’m pretty suckered in by the packaging as well; black canisters with fluorescent lettering for the Sea Salt blends and Fleur de Sel in the very tactile pantone egg-shapes.  I finally pull myself away because I’m really after something plain for everyday use, preferably Australian made this time.  I opt for Pyramid Salt Flake Sea Salt produced from underground sea beds in deep beneath the Loddon Plains in Northern Victoria.  I want to know more.  Turns out the company was formed to help counter salinization of the Murray-Darling Basin. Not only do you get high quality Australian produced salt, you are helping respond to a major environmental challenge.   Nice.

Now Tea, on the other hand, I don’t particularly need (being generally pretty well stocked) but there’s no way I’m getting out of here without something from Tea Forte.  We’re talking individually hand-crafted silk pyramids, one for a single cup, each with one tiny leaf extending from the top on a cotton string.  The design is both function and form – to create a loose leaf tea infusion in a bag; and to rather boldly define the contemporary ceremony of tea.    As I write this I’m thinking words like Beautiful. Delicate. Elegant.   I finally settle on Organic Chamomile Citron, White Ambrosia and some Cherry Marzipan for myself and a sample pack for a friend.  It’s taken me over half an hour to choose.  [Ed. Note: I have now tasted and they are good.  Cherry Marzipan a fave.  Completely. Utterly. Obsessed.]

As for the cooking courses, I get a sense that it would be an engaging and authentic experience, and probably a lot of fun.  I’d better enrol to make sure (tough gig, I know).  They are $100 each, or book and pay for three @ $240.  The staff member I spoke to mentioned that a new schedule was coming soon.  The sessions on the current calendar include a mix of styles including French, Italian, Spanish, with presenters including Bethany Finn (Presenter on Sumptuous TV and past Executive Chef at the Hilton), David Hopper (professional chef with Michelin experience) and Connie Rotolo and Rosalie Rotolo Hassan, mother daughter team behind the business.

Life has a way of serving up to you just what you need when you need it most.  For me, it was finding Bottega Rotolo that day, breathing it in, replenishing my reserves and helping to reignite some creative flame.  Oh and restocking the pantry in the process..

Bottega Rotolo: Head Office Norwood SA, Retail Stores in Norwood & now recently also Hyde Park (SA), plus Hobart (Tas) and West Perth (WA), with warehouse distribution in SA, NSW & VIC.

Postscript: After publishing this post, I was contacted by Filippo at Bottega Rotolo with the following.  Because I write from the heart, this is incredibly rewarding. Thankyou!

I just wanted to say hello and thank you for your post about Bottega Rotolo, it was so nicely written that I’ve decided to quote it in our new website.

You can check out their new website over here.