Celebrating food and family with events, recipes, markets and masterclasses.
Being the custodians of a grocery store marking its 150th birthday is an honour worth celebrating and we’re going to do it properly. There’s a lot to celebrate because our beautiful building on the corner of Lygon and Faraday Streets in Carlton began operating as a grocery store at the height of the Victorian Gold Rush in 1871. It has had just three owners since then: the Richards Brothers who opened the store, Edward King and George Godfree who took over and named it King & Godfree in 1884 and the Valmorbida family (that’s us) who came on board in 1955.
All three sets of owners have kept the business alive over the years by understanding the needs of our community, through ups and downs, good times and bad. As the neighbourhood demographic changed over the years, from people made rich from gold to migrants seeking a better life, to artists and bohemians chasing the counter culture, King & Godfree changed to suit each new wave of humanity. And the people kept coming because we’ve stuck to what good corner grocery stores always do: supplying our community with all the things they love to eat and drink, sometimes even before they realise it’s what they love to eat and drink.
To celebrate the milestone and the community that’s helped get us here, we’ve planned a series of special events over the next six months, themed around Italian pantry staples from pasta and olive oil to cheese and coffee. This will culminate in the publishing of the first ever King & Godfree book. Called The Corner Grocer, this beautifully designed and illustrated work is chock full of history, practical, detailed information about Italian pantry staples and Italian wine and an impressive number of Italian recipes for everything from pickling through to passata. As good to flick through as it is to cook from, The Corner Grocer encapsulates why the babies who sat in prams as their parents shopped for salumi and Chianti now come here with their grandchildren. They’re here to shop and to eat and to be part of something that represents the enduring and comforting pull of community.