Jul 24, 2010

French Food Safari Part 3: Victor Churchill Butcher, Woollahra

Next stop on the safari was a meaty one, the famed Victor Churchill Butcher, 132 Queen Street, Woollahra, tel: (02) 9328 0402.

Vic has been a butcher for over 40 years.  He bought this business a few years ago and made it his own.  The shop is around 130 years old and Vic is the fourth owner of these premises.  It has been completely refurbished and is more than 'just' a butcher's shop, as I'll show you when we get inside.

Possibly the most glamorous butcher's shopping blocks I've ever seen.  The butchers were working behind a glass windowed room in the middle of the store.

The checkout.  I couldn't get details of the drawer handles, but they are sausage shaped.

A restored meat slicer.

In the photo below, you can see the famed dry ageing room.  In the wall behind the rotating meats are bricks of salt.  They help draw out the moisture in the air of the room.  The blocks are imported from India and it costs $30 000 to replace the wall of bricks.

The theory behind the room is that the ageing and maturing process improves the flavour of the meat by removing moisture from the meat.  In this process, about 30 to 35% of the weight of the meat is lost. This  process takes between 4 to 8 weeks.  This doesn't come cheaply, as you'll discover as you walk around the shop but the meat looks beautiful.  If dry aged meat is left out for a day, no blood or water oozes from the flesh.  In contrast to the meat we buy from supermarkets.

I spy some bacon hocks!  One of  my favourite things to use to make baked beans with.  Which reminds me, I have yet to make a batch of beans this winter.  Beneath the hocks is a platter of baguettes with pate which was for our group's  morning tea.

The floor length rotisserie towards the back of the butcher's.

Fancy rotisserie chicken and potatoes.  We're a long way from Coles....

The bank of close circuit cameras at the front of the store.  Under the glass dome are some exotic eggs and other non meat delicacies.

Lamb shanks and aged beef.

The kitchen.  There are several pre cooked meal options on sale.

In the back room of the store are blackboard walls full of messages from famed chefs who work with Victor's produce.

Below are some of the aged meats for sale.  The marbling in the meat is an indicator of the quality of it.  It helps give taste and tenderness to the meat, as well as aiding the dry aging process.

Not all the meat is aged on site.  Victor Churchill has a major dry aging facility in Mascot.  The meat comes from all over Australia and New Zealand.  Sources vary depending on the month  and the season.

Escargots, pates and some more obscure European ingredients on display.

That's prosciutto cured on the bone in the photo above.

Meat as art.

A display of custom made knives.

The window display was very whimsical.  I only got a couple of pictures but basically, the them was an old fashioned school.  There was aged meat on the desk (it really didn't 'bleed' at all) as well as an apple. On the floor, there were children's alphabet cards with a decidedly carnivorous theme.

That's about it for today.  I'm off to work soon.  I have the day off tomorrow and it promises to be a historic day for all Australians.  The one and only election debate for 2010 and the Masterchef final.  The live telecast of the debate was actually made an hour early to accommodate Masterchef.  Oh, and part 4 of the safari.

1 comment:

  1. SSG this is a great blog entry! Your pictures are wonderful and I love the way you've told the story. So glad I am a carnivore. Thank you for sharing.


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