Sunday, June 30, 2013

I Left My Heart in Europe at Ferdydurke

On Sunday, Pierogi Pierogi, a Melbourne purveyor of pierogi and all that is Polish, hit Ferdydurke for their "I Left My Heart in Europe" party. Coincidence has it that when I laid eyes on the poster promoting this party, I had recently unsuccessfully scoured the frozen section of my neighborhood IGA for pierogi. :( I recognized fate and vowed not to miss my chance for Eastern European dumpling goodness at Ferdy's.

The party was already raging for about three hours when we trekked up the stairs at 3:15, and it showed no signs of stopping. Ferdydurke is small, but today it was chock-a-block with people downing dumplings, soups, sausages, vodka shots and mulled beer all in the name of Poland. 
Charlie and I, fresh out of the Melbourne Pizza Festival, ordered just one order of five fried pierogi with varied fillings for $10. At $2 each, these may be some of the most expensive dumplings I've eaten recently, but they proved worth it. 
Although delivery was a little hectic with just one server trying to make sense of tons of orders, our pierogi came out hot and fresh. They were fried to a nice golden brown and accompanied by sour cream and a fried onion and bacon relish. The skins were thick but light, and all of the fillings were really well done. We were a little upset that, despite ordering a mix of all three types -- meat, mushroom and sauerkraut and cheese and potato -- our plate didn't include any meat. When my friend Tess arrived a bit later, her mixed dish had no meat either. No mind, because both the mushroom and potato fillings were carefully and lovingly prepared, and delicious.

When Tess came, we also all shared the dish above -- a tasting plate of salatka (Russian for salad,) kabano sausages and fresh rye bread. The kabanos, served cold, were much smaller in diameter than what I've had at home, but had the same smoky taste and coarsely ground filling. The salad and bread were the real winners on this dish, though. Potatoes chopped small and mixed with peas, carrots, onions and maybe even some egg were coated in a vinegar-y dressing that made my day.
A DJ played traditional Eastern Euro melodies mixed with dancefloor beats, and an artist demonstrated a traditional craft of paper cutting. She told me she's been practicing since her brother taught her at just three years old, and although she usually only does it once a year now at the Fed Square Polish festival, it's clear that she has not lost her talent. Some of the more intricate pieces take hours to create.
I really enjoyed this event because it was cool to see a bar I go to get injected with a dose of culture for a day. The pierogi were awesome and it was so easy to see that all of the people who worked to create this event did so out of love. I Left My Heart in Europe is a monthly event and I look forward to seeing what next month brings!

Ferdydurke: 31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne, AUS. 9639 3750 Ferdydurke on Urbanspoon


Stan said...

$10 for 5 pierogi is a steep, especially since you didn't receive what you ordered. If you want the real deal and lots of other really good genuine Polish nosh try the Polish club in Albion. The bar prices are much nicer too.

Dominika Sikorska said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elspeth said...

@Dominika Sikorska I wasn't even upset about not getting meat once I tried the other two! They were both delicious and I'm sure the meat was just as good. Thanks for quenching my pierogi craving! It was all I was looking for, and more! (Not to mention the salad on the tasting plate, I'm obsessed!)

Anonymous said...

I am proud to be Polish and be able to get some more Polish in me by attending that amazing event :) I loved the pierogi and the Zywiec beer but the music was very loud !!! Sunday afternoon, wanted to catch up with friends show the a bit of Poland but we could not talk to each other without screamming!!! I overheard a lot of customers saying the same thing !! It was much pleasant to be out on the balcony and leasten to music from the section 8 !! A bit sad !!!

DC Cardwell said...

Thanks for the write-up! Ive been meaning to check out one of these events. The only thing that might put me off is music that's too loud to converse over.

In Canada pierogi are called perogies and they're available in bags, frozen, very cheap, in almost all supermarkets - in Vancouver at least. Just like we can buy dim sims in supermarket freezers here.

We used to live in Vancouver and we ate them frequently. We were horrified to find that they're not so readily available here! But after hunting online I discovered this place which makes them - they call them "pelmeni", but they're the same thing.

I used to work near Ormond and I was able to pick them up in a little shop called European Bazaar (535 North Road, ORMOND) - they're really good except a lot more expensive than the ubiquitous Canadian supermarket varieties! I think these ones were around $12 a bag.

Looking at the Pelmeni website, though, I see they have greatly expanded their distribution from when I checked some years ago. They're now available much closer to home for me - yeah!

Elspeth said...

@DC Cardwell -- Thanks for reading! We have the same pierogies back in the states... they come in a bag from the freezer, the brand is Mrs. T's. Love them with pork, gravy and cabbage and can't get them here at all! I'm sure that Polish people would scoff at those type, but I still miss them! You should definitely check out Pierogi Pierogi; they have some great food for sure! They have an event coming up, you can see the details on their FB page.

Anonymous said...

@DC Cardwell -- pelmeni are the Russian version of pierogi. They are usually smaller and there are other differences. The Ukrainian "varenyky" are probably a closer substitute for pierogi.

DC Cardwell said...

Thanks! Those frozen ones in the US sound like the ones we got in Canada, Elspeth. I think they're probably closer to pelmeni, perhaps? The one time I ever got proper pierogi in a restaurant (Borscht, Vodka And Tears on Chapel Street) they were considerably bigger than our Canadian frozen perogies, and, naturally, a bit more subtle and delicate. But I guess they're all part of the same wonderful food family! The cheap Canadian frozen ones are the ones we most long for ;)

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