Wednesday, July 23, 2008

country women Hobart style

Just a block down the hill from the delicious Royal Thai restaurant in Elizabeth Street is the CWA shop. We’d trudged past it 4 times at night before we could see inside during the opening hours. The window display featured homemade cakes and hand knits. It was a taste of op shops (thrift stores) like they used to be – except everything was handmade and brand new. Except the recycled coffee jar which go for a premium.

It was with great delight to finally walk through the doors to find Doris (number 98, which could well have been her age) with a spry but rather shy number 19. Almost half the shop is devoted to knitting, mostly old fashioned layettes and other baby attire. Many of the goods were priced at the cost of the wool. Seriously, if you want some woollies for a little one, or the most gorgeous green knitted elephant (for a mere $10), this is the place to shop. It puts new wave crafters to shame!

But the food, oh the food. Preserves like tomato chutney, passion curd butter and every jam and marmalade under the sun, sat with their plain labels and cellophane hats. The cakes and biscuits were all duly marked with their ingredients, date made and the number of the maker. You must remember pride is not a quality valued by the Country Women’s Association, so when I purchased a fruit cake (a late entry for the solstice event I reckon) there was a little blush from number 19 and Doris let the cat out of the bag that she’d made it. But I still couldn’t pry her name out of her.

On leaving, a woman barely 20 unloaded 3 boxes of yoyo biscuits and other goodies from a car – no not doing a delivery from her gran, a new generation of CWA bakers. So you can be sure as long as they keep their shop, baking like your mother might never have made is still to be had in Hobart town.

Country Women’s Association Gift Shop
165 Elizabeth Street

Shop hours:
9.00 am - 4.00pm Monday – Friday
10.00am - 1.00pm Saturday

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