In the late 19th century the word Delicatessen was first introduced in the English vocabulary. A German loanword and plural of Delikatesse. The German word itself was lent from Délicatesse, a French word, taken from Italian Delicatezza, coming itself from delicato. Delicato in turn has its roots from the Latin adjective delicatus, which means ‘giving pleasure, delightful, and pleasing’.
You’ll excuse the etymology lesson. Walking into Alimentari – that blue building on the corner of Greeves and Brunswick Street – and taking it all in, I found myself wondering about the word. Where did Deli’s come from? What does the word mean? Could it possibly help me describe this place? In short, yes.
Giving pleasure. Delightful. Pleasing. This is Alimentari.
Not all days are created equal. Not all years, either. Or minutes, or seconds, or moments in between. Sometimes we’re happy, sometimes we’re sad. Life is just, like that. There are days when you jump out of bed ready to take the day by the balls and days when the bed feels like the only place that exists. It happened to be the latter of these two the day I strolled down Brunswick Street, aimlessly looking around, lost in a thunderstorm of thoughts. Feeling blue, it was only fitting that for lunch, I stopped by the blue Deli.
Feeling like I was living in a Leonard Cohen song, rain began to pour out of Melbourne’s grey skies as I sighed, hunched my shoulders and turned into the deli that would be my home for the foreseeable future.
What met me was for lack of a better word, a distraction. Glass counters filled to the brim with charcuterie, cheese, and salads. Coffee, wines, and assortments of snacks leant up against one another along the edges. Cloves of garlic hanging from the ceiling and folks, some happy – maybe some sad – sitting with warm coffees, and feasting on paninis, wraps, and fresh salads, looking out at a grey world.
I took my time. With my hands in my pockets, I stepped through this spacious haven for locals in ever-bustling Fitztroy. Shelves with pottery, brick walls with pictures of old and new. It was a market all on its own. A distraction from worry. A place to sit, breathe, and reflect.
I’m not sure how long I sat by the window, looking out, eating my delicious panini and sipping on my flat white. The minutes seemed to fly by, and eventually, I took out my phone and Googled the etymology of the word Deli. I paid my bill. Stuffed my hands back into my pockets, and as the rain died down to a drizzle, left the blue deli behind me. Some days are good, some are bad. Sometimes you’re happy, sometimes you’re sad.
If I could give a little advice to those who wake up wanting to go back to sleep it would be this. Get out of bed. Throw on some clothes, and take a walk. You might just end up finding your smile in the strangest of places. Maybe even in a blue deli, where I found mine.
251 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
(03) 9416 2001
8am – 5pm 7 days a week
*Featured Image Source: Seunghyun Jang Via Google