Last week I discovered a fabulous Spanish gourmet deli-cum-cafe just up the road that’s been there since August last year – El Choto Fine Food Delicatessan. I’m amazed I hadn’t heard about it but not that surprised I hadn’t noticed it driving past. It has a modest little entrance with a muted sign tucked under a big old verandah in a strip of shops on Port Road in Hindmarsh (which is a very wide, very busy road). The last time I really looked, the place was a boutique children’s clothing shop. I nearly missed it this time too and had to double back, doing a U-turn across 4 lanes to get to it. It was worth it!
I’ve been back again just so I could take a few photos this time (well that’s what I tell myself) and I’ll be dragging E along there (or more likely trying to keep up) on Saturday morning for their hot chocolate and churros (we feel like connoisseurs of this delight having dipped slurped and munched our way around the southern tip of Spain for a month trying out chocolate con churros everywhere we went).
The tiny frontage opens on to a longish high ceilinged, wooden floor-boarded space with a counter running halfway down one side against a warm orange wall, a few bar stools facing the front window and one four seater table with benches towards the back (so not a lot of space as a cafe).
This table is a great place to sit and contemplate a fascinating range of hard to find and authentic Spanish cooking ingredients, utensils, cookware and serving dishes that line the walls on both sides.
The long counter is more than half taken up by a glass fronted deli section filled with every cured meat and cheese that Spain has to offer (and that is a long list).
Sitting atop the cabinet is the quintessential Spanish leg of jamon (Iberico I would hazard a guess) on its wooden frame ready for fine slicing on request (this is a ubiquitous sight in all bars in Spain that offer tapas – that would be all bars). You can also purchase one of these carving frames here.
I had some time to contemplate my surroundings as I tucked into a delicious toasted sour dough roll filled with roasted spiced pork belly and aioli and sipped on an excellent cup of coffee. On my second visit I had the roll filled with salami, Manchego cheese, piquillo peppers and artichoke. Both rolls were exceptionally good. These were followed by a Portuguese tart and a gorgeous, flaky sweet scroll – yuuuuuuuuuuuuum!
I also learned that El Choto hold fortnightly (approximately) tasting evenings on a Friday night where an SA winemaker brings along their wines for tasting and a selection of hot and cold tapas are served. I signed up for the mailing list in a blink – I don’t want to miss out on the next night!
I couldn’t resist buying a little something to take home – and the amazing range of chocolate for both eating and drinking was irrisistable. I haven’t yet found a really good drinking chocolate to have at home (except of course for melting 70% Lindt or Green and Blacks spiced orange chocolate into hot milk – maybe even with cream added :)) so I picked up an impressive fat block wrapped in luxurious, thick, textured paper. Can’t wait to try it out. In fact I won’t wait, I’m going to go and try it out right now!
Read other reviews of El Choto on Urban Spoon