The Source – Balmain

by mutteringhousewife

I can take a hint. When every second person who’s read my blog or lives in Balmain tells me I should definitely visit The Source, all that is required is for me to gather a posse and form a foodie excursion.

I’m extremely reluctant to drive in Balmain, almost every time I go there I get lost or can’t find a parking spot anywhere in the suburb and have to retreat back to more car friendly climes. So I’m pleased to have a volunteer from the posse drive while I crochet in the back. Don’t worry, you’ll be hearing about the crochet shortly. It’s down the further end of Darling Street, you go through that bit that looks like it has a lot of shops, the they die off and you worry that you’ve missed it, then they start building up again and it’s just past Zumbo’s. We found a park next to a temperamental parking meter and we were there.

Not to keep you in suspense, I’m going to be coming here a lot. Oh, I have my quibbles. The good stuff is available in three rows of bins, one flat and two on an angle. The angled ones have the rather annoying feature that their lids don’t open very far. You secure your scoop, grab a paper bag and carefully write the product code on it for ease of processing at the checkout, then have to prop the lid open with a spare elbow as you attempt to transfer the stuff from the bin into the bag without spilling it all over your vegan shoes. There doesn’t appear to be a scoop for the spices. There’s a whole row of bins devoted to sweets, and you’d think us buy stuff in paper bags types would be making those ourselves.

But goodness, it has everything my homespun heart could desire. Nuts, dried fruit, grains, seeds, pulses, spices, oils and syrups. It’s quite a small shop, so it must be a bit hard to take on weekends. I’m getting the feeling that this movement is gaining momentum, does it even have a name? Pure food, clean food (that sounds very gimmicky, like eating paleo which strikes me as a ridiculous description given our limited knowledge of what the paleo diet really was), made from scratch? Real food? I’m going with real food.

I just got a few things. I’ve just run out of Honest to Goodness muesli, so I bought some stuff to make my own. Five grain mix, dried pear, currants, dried pawpaw (it has a gingery flavour), raw almonds. Organic couscous! I also got seven vanilla beans so I can start off another giant bottle of vanilla essence.

It takes about a year to be usable, I should get cracking on the next one.
I got some glass jars to store my ever expanding collection of raw ingredients. I also got a jar of maple syrup, dark and fragrant, and one of rice malt syrup. I was a little disappointed with the flavour, not very malty at all. I’ve put it in a banana smoothie, and it makes me think it’s intended to be used as a sweetener rather than a source of malt flavour. It’s nice enough. I’ll be able to use it instead of honey in baked goods for the Horror, he can pick even a trace of honey. I like that they put the country of origin on the bins, was a bit surprised that the raw sugar was from Brazil. So when I got home I looked at my raw sugar packet and sure enough, Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients! Surely we can make raw sugar here.

I was fascinated by some of the stuff in bins. What on earth would you do with bee pollen? A $90 a kilo, that bin would have been worth thousands of dollars. And the hemp seeds with the instructions “not to be eaten”. I’m surprised they didn’t add a >. emoticon. I’m very keen for some Himalayan bath salts IF I EVER GET A BATH!!!! Ahem.

So it looks like I’m going to have to learn to drive to and in Balmain. Because it’s unlikely I’m going to be able to form a weekly posse, and anyway it gets expensive because you have to have lunch and coffee after. I wish they’d open a branch in my suburb, all the local Chamber of Commerce allows in our main street is hairdressers and pizza shops. Some of which are very good, mind you. But if I could walk up to get my supplies in biodegradable paper bags I’d be so dark green as to be almost pure chlorophyll. Ah well.