The only positive I can think of since COVID-19 put 2020 into a tailspin has been a rise in the number of local businesses offering home delivery. From gourmet pizza bases, artisan bread, frozen bake-at-home croissants to restaurant-quality ready-made meals, traditional takeaway, and fresh produce, the calibre and variety has increased.
Being able to eat well, support local businesses, avoid crowds, and get items delivered with no contact straight to my door with just a few clicks has been a winner for me.
Last week, another new business joined the ranks and launched a digital delicatessen. Authentic local and imported European deli products and Mediterranean-style antipasti grazing boxes are just a few clicks away from being delivered on-demand to your front door.
The Merchant’s Feast concept is a first for the Canberra region. While the online platform acts exactly as a bricks-and-mortar delicatessen – slicing all cold meats fresh to order, offering daily freshly baked bread, stocking deli goods like cheese, olives, marinated vegetables, pasta sauce, and more – the difference is you can order it from the comfort of the couch.
It was a love of gathering over good food that inspired siblings Marie and Dominic Vilardi, and their mother Anne to create The Merchant’s Feast.
“We had a quintessential Italian upbringing and would regularly host gatherings for our hundreds of cousins, aunties, and uncles,” says co-owner Marie Vilardi.
“And yes, that’s over 80 first cousins! We would often have our family over for birthdays, christenings, engagements, or even just a simple dinner. But it was never simple with that many people and we would always serve up delicious homecooked meals made using traditional recipes.”
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The Merchant’s Feast features both ‘Pantry’ and ‘Grazing Box’ box options on the site. The Pantry includes a range of deli produce from stuffed olives to olive oil along with everything from ricotta to rashers of bacon.
The Grazing boxes arrive ready to serve and dazzle guests no matter what your gathering. There are four options available, including a savoury Mediterranean-inspired box full of meat, cheese, bread, dips and marinated vegetables, while the French-inspired box fulfils sweet cravings with pastries and fruit.
All the produce is both authentic and traditionally European, made by some of the best merchants in Australia and in Europe.
“We’ve spent the past few months trying and testing all of our products before deciding to stock them in our online store,” says Dominic.
“This has allowed us to uncover some of the most incredible and genuine, local and imported food products that aren’t usually around in delis across Canberra.”
Included in this list are Greek sweets made by family-run bakery Yianni’s, smoked meats and Kransky handmade the traditional Croatian way by Ivan’s Butchery, and freshly baked Italian Ciabatta by infamous Nonna’s Bakery.
“Nonna’s is actually our cousin’s bakery and the recipe is based on the exact one our Nonna brought to Australia over 70 years ago,” says Dominic.
The Merchant’s Feast distributes weekly from Wednesday to Saturday across Canberra and Queanbeyan, with next day delivery for most orders placed before 1:00 pm. To find out more or place your order, visit the website.