Ivan’s Butchery & Delicatessen

Ivan’s Butchery & Delicatessen

Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

“What are you making with yours?” I asked a lady as we both rummaged and handpicked smoked pork bones from a tub.

“Kupus” she replied.

“Ne grah?” I queried.

She proceeded to tell me, in Croatian, that she uses hers in a cabbage dish as her body can’t take beans ever since undergoing some surgery. Gone are the days of her making grah, as now it’s only made for her husband occasionally.

I’m so used to smoked pork bones going into grah, my favourite Croatian bean soup, so hearing that she cooks them up with cabbage piqued my curiosity. Perhaps I should have pestered her for a recipe.

Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

There’s only one negative with Ivan’s Butchery & Delicatessen, my mecca for many things Croatian for several years now. There’s almost an hours travel between my house and its location in Chester HIll. Ok, not much of a negative, I know.

As soon as you make your way through the pvc strip door you’re enveloped in air that’s dripping in smoky deliciousness. It’s no wonder, when hundreds of smoked joints and sausages dangle about the walls like porcine decorations.

To one side is an open refrigerator loaded with fresh cuts of meat from a variety of animals – off the bone, on the bone, minced and made into čevapi – you name it. There’s a designated fridge for dairy and opposite is another open meats fridge; this one populated by a dazzling array of smoked and cryovaced kobasice (sausages), hunks of smoked pork and sliced salami-style meats.

čevapi at Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

čvarke at Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

The deli counter itself is another meaty extravaganza. More sausages and cuts of meat prepared in a variety of ways reside in the cabinet, as beautiful pieces of smoked ribs, pork knuckles and loins dangle overhead.

And crackling? Yes, they’ve got that covered, too. We refer to them as čvarke; bits of pork fat and meat that are remnants of the rendering process. Tasty snackage that’ll get you closer to high cholesterol.

Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

Baked pigs head at Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

Off to the left of the deli counter is the hot foods section; a small selection of roasted joints of meat and some gorgeous baked burek with meat, cheese, apple and cherry fillings. Tucked behind the counter is a tray of baked pigs heads, reasonably priced at $5 a kilo, for those that don’t like to waste any part of an animal.

Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

Jezve at Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

It’s not all about meats at Ivan’s, either. Several aisles are stocked-up with many European tinned and drygoods, pickles and preserves. Grains, spices, oils, breads, cakes, tea and coffee. A small mountain of wafers tempted me to grab a packet or two to make oblatne, but somehow we left Ivan’s without grabbing one.

Not that we went home empty handed. Our little bounty of smoked pork ribs, sausages, handmade filo, burek, čvarke, lentils and other goodies will keep us going for a little while. Until, of course, it’s time to head back to Chester Hill.

Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

Sremska kobasica at Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

Ivan's Butchery & Delicatessen Chester Hill

  • Ivan’s Butchery & Delicatessen
  • 141 Waldron Road
  • Chester Hill 2162
  • 02 9645 5099
  • website
  • Helen (grabyourfork)

    Um I know where I’m heading next weekend! Love this photographic essay too.

  • What a great store John. S o full of wonderful ingredients. I bet you bought a lot.You should definately have asked her for a recipe!

  • Ozmo

    smoked meats affect my thumb arthritis these days but once in another life i would have been a little piggy in that shop.so i’m more vegies than meat now

  • AmandaChewTown

    Travelling an hour to get to your favourite cultural food store is commitment – I bless my lucky stars that my favourite Italian butcher is 5 minutes from my house. Looks like it is definitely worth the visit. Maybe we should all come with you next time that way you can help direct us to what to buy… ROAD TRIP!

    • A road trip sounds like fun! Will give you warning next time I’m due for an Ivan’s fix.

  • phuocndelicious

    YES!!!! I’m lucky to have an offshoot Ivan’s butcher within a 15min drive from home but judging from your pictures, it’s still not sufficient. I’ve been told to check out the Chester Hill and you’ve just convinced me even more to go.

    Love their cevapi and cured meats. Stepping into the store would be heaven!

    • I read about the small offshoot online. The cured meats are fantastic!

  • Sara (Belly Rumbles)

    I second Amanda, road trip!

  • Oh, I would love to have a place like this in Tucson! Amazing.

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  • hazza

    Does this place sell smoked beef?

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