One of Australia’s longest-running licensed grocers – King & Godfree, which stands proudly on the corner of Lygon and Faraday Streets in Carlton, Melbourne, is launching its first self-published cookbook titled King & Godfree: The Corner Grocer to celebrate its 150-year milestone.
The beautiful book brings together stories, recipes and insider knowledge about great ingredients and will please the newcomer to cooking, as well as fans of the grocer and culinary enthusiasts.
First established in 1871 and then renamed King & Godfree in 1884, newly arrived Italian immigrant Carlo Valmorbida bought the grocer in the 1950s and under his ownership introduced the Melbourne community to culinary delights from his home country, including the likes of parmesan, quality olive oil, authentic passata, and excellent dry table wine.
King & Godfree: The Corner Grocer invites readers into a world that honours Carlo’s spirit, which has been carried on by his family. Today, King & Godfree still proudly houses a deli but was reimagined in 2018 by Carlo’s grandchildren, Jamie Valmorbida and Luca Sbardella, into one of Melbourne’s most vibrant food precincts, including rooftop bar Johnny’s Green Room, enoteca and wine bar Agostino and artisanal gelateria Pidapipo.
With over 430 pages, King & Godfree: The Corner Grocer takes readers through much loved Italian culinary staples including formaggi (cheese), pomodori (tomato), olives, pasta and tuna, and on to dolci, caffè and liquori classics, teamed with more than 100 recipes.
Within its pages, discover delights such as the recipe for Johnny’s Green Room pizza and Italian classics including Parmesan-crusted Cauliflower, Sopressa & Fried Friggitelli Peppers, Paccheri Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Tiramisu.
Filled with beautiful food and precinct photography by Annika Kafkaloudis and Tom Ross, custom illustrations by Swiss-based artist Paula Troxler, and lovingly compiled archival and historical material, King & Godfree: The Corner Grocer is designed by celebrated Carlton-based Studio Round, the offices of which are tucked behind King & Godfree in neighbouring Faraday House, making this book a truly collaborative, community affair.
Carrying on Carlo’s legacy of explaining to his customers why the products in his grocer were so great and how to shop for and cook with them to make authentic Italian food, the book includes handy guides detailing how to buy the best Italian cheese, the appropriate canned tomato, the highest quality anchovies, which pasta shapes and sauces go well together and what wine to drink with them, then teaming this knowledge with recipes from cannoli to cocktails.
Carlo’s daughter, Luisa Valmorbida, together with King & Godfree head chef Matteo Toffano, have written all the Italian recipes for the book, whilst Carlton aficionado and journalist Michael Harden has collated all the stories that have made King & Godfree into what it is today.
High quality produce is paramount to Luisa, having picked up the cooking gene at a young age from her Nonna, who lived in Carlton and loved creating traditional family meals from the Veneto region where the family has its roots.
“One thing we have always had as a family is a love for good food. And to be able to offer high quality produce – like prosciutto sliced and wrapped the correct way or delicious parmesan cheese – has always been very important to our family,” says Luisa Valmorbida.
“But it’s also about tradition. You hear people say, my mother and grandmother used to come here, and we love to continue that sense of community with King and Godfree.”
Veneto-born Head Chef at King & Godfree, Agostino and Johnny’s Green Room, Matteo Toffano, has also generously poured his experience into the book. Having cooked at the likes of three Michelin-star restaurants La Calandre and Melbourne’s Grossi Florentino for many years, Matteo’s cooking is much-loved by locals and visitors alike.
“Essential information on the ingredients that make up the recipes, and how to shop for them and use them, such as why you should only use high-quality olive oil and why you should never settle for substandard anchovies, let readers in on the magic that is shopping and dining at King & Godfree,” says Matteo Toffano.
Featuring as much Italian charm as its namesake, King & Godfree: The Corner Grocer makes an ideal Christmas gift, coffee table book or addition to the recipe shelf.
King & Godfree: The Corner Grocer is now available to order online. It will also be available to purchase exclusively on Lygon St, Carlton at King & Godfree from early December. The book will be stocked in quality bookstores nationally by exclusive distribution partner Hardie Grant including Booktopia.
Image: King & Godfree: The Corner Grocer (supplied)