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I’m a bit happy to be part of Urban Providore’s Tasting Panel this year, and I’ve just been along to my first meeting.

Imagine this scenario – every month or so, I get to taste delicious foodie things, maybe drink some wine, hang out with some other Canberra foodies and a whirlwind of a business owner, and get to pass judgement – when invited. What’s not to like about that?

This little get together, now in its second year, is the brainchild of Dawn, head *providore of the Urban Providore at Fyshwick, a Canberra foodie establishment that specialises in delicious artisan and gourmet food products and accoutrements.

The idea is that we get to taste and evaluate a range of products, and have those comments passed back to the producers; perhaps meet some of them; do other food-oriented activities; and have a bit of fun at the same time. I had to do a bit of catch up with the evaluation methodology, trickier than you might think. I’m sure I’ll have it down pat soon.

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After we’d had some lessons in our perceptions of taste and the official tasting bit was done for the evening (in the case, balsamic oils), we headed out the door for an evening mystery excursion somewhere else in Fyshwick. Don’t fret – it was above board, and we ended up at the Fyshwick Markets to have a sneak peak at Dawn’s not-even-opened-yet stall in the brand new Niche Markets.

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The new little shopfront, The Canberra Regional Artisan Providore, features gorgeous food and foodie items only from artisans and producers from the Canberra region, of whom there’s a pretty good collection. It’s a tiny space, but it packs a lot in – think oils, sauces, chocolate, honey, aprons and tea towels – even cookbooks featuring recipes from the Southern Highlands.

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I have to say I was pretty pleased to have my fluffy beanie and gloves with me. Having a little party in a icy warehouse during a winter evening in Canberra is somewhat brisk. Luckily we were fed yummy things (try spreading some truffle honey and ricotta on bread and top it with prosciutto) and the lovely Sarah kept up well watered (well, bubbled) with Summerhill Road’s spritzy sav blanc sparkling to celebrate the opening and take our minds off the chill.

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Many of the little stalls were shut up tight but there were a few keen workers doing some late night, last minute shop fittings or finishing touches to their stall before opening, and we got to peek in a few sites and meet a few people. Will save details for next time.

And how lucky for me – it’s all just down the road.

More news soon.

Disclosure: I’ve actually spent way too long trying to work out the difference between providore and provedore, and whether a providore can be a person selling/providore the provisions, or just the establishment, whether one is American spelling and the other English, or whether the spelling is just optional. Can anyone enlighten me definitively? I need to know! My spell checker doesn’t like the ‘i’ spelling.)

* Providore/provedore: A person or business which provides stores and supplies to ship, such as food and beverages. (Wiktionary)

Yes, welcome to my world – where everything takes sooooooo long.

 

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