We’re so lucky to have Books for Cooks in our city.

This independent book store in Fitzroy is Australia’s only retailer specialising in books on food and wine. The five rooms of an old Victorian terrace typical of the area are filled floor to ceiling with densely packed books, from the popular to the obscure. There are couches and chairs for browsing and the staff are always on hand with information and advice.

Books for Cooks also occasionally hold events in their small store. Talks and signings from visiting authors are normally accompanied by a free glass of bubbles and some tastes from the featured cookbook made by Amanda, one of the owners of the store.

From their mailing list I found out that Australia’s own Willy Wonka Adriano Zumbo was going to be visiting to promote his cookbook Zumbo: Adriano Zumbo’s fantastical kitchen of other-worldly delights. I am a huge desserts fan and I love Zumbo’s cakes and macarons, so I was not going to miss this event.

Adriano was a very personable speaker, even though he described himself as ‘not much of a people person’. We learnt about his beginnings baking in his parents’ supermarket in store bakery, his stint at a French sourdough bakery, his favourite cookbooks (Larousse des Desserts, Ramon Morato’s Chocolate), his favourite bakeries and patisseries in Paris (a long list, including Laurent Duchene, Fauchon, Pain de Sucre, Pierre Herme, Arnaud Delmontel, Laduree – but only the macarons, not the cakes), the challenges of managing 97 staff and looking forward to mechanising his processes, his most outrageous failed dessert (chocolate eggplant macaron, anyone?), his new dessert train at The Star and finally, the key to making winning macarons (finely processed almond meal, knock the air of the meringue, don’t eat macarons fresh but leave for 24 hours).

Books for Cooks have lots of other great events coming up in November, including a dinner with Luke Nguyen at Eat Drink Man Woman on 7 November, dinner with Andrew McConnell at Cumulus Inc and evening tastes with Janet de Neefe, author of Bali: the food of my island home. To keep up to date with their news, sign up to their mailing list.

As for my next Books for Cooks purchase? I reckon it’s going to be the Vintage Edition of the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. Retro-fabulous!

Books for Cooks, 233-235 Gertrude St, Fitzroy +61 3 8415 1415
Sun 11am-5pm; Mon-Sat 10am-6pm