Our friend and former Small Business Management student (now graduate!) grazier Julie Brown of Ilfracombe, has launched her new business (above) just in time for Christmas.
Coola Cozzies is Julie’s way of earning valuable off-farm income during the drought but this is no charity … have a look at these wow designs (all created by Julie).
Julie describes them as “Cool, colourful, comfortable women’s and men’s board shorts and UPF50+ rashies, swim shirts and sun shirts.”
In my new book Shopping News I visit les halles (markets) in the small city of Troyes (pronounced Trois) east of Paris and discover its range of meat, fruit and vegetables, seafood, cheese, wine and bread, as well as knick-knacks galore. My friends, guides and translators Matthieu Lardeau PhD and his wife Hind El Feghaly, introduce me to the butchers, the fish mongers, the bakers and the vegetable sellers they know from their weekly shopping trips. They tell me about a regional delicacy invented right there centuries ago. It’s a sausage called andouillette made from pigs’ intestines, the lower tract.
So I say: ‘Oh yes, I’ll have some of that.’
‘And you must have tête de veau?’ they urge.
‘Oh, sure, what’s that?’ Well, translated it’s ‘veal head’ but in practice they refer to it as the ‘face of the calf’.
So off we go to the centre of Troyes and in the shadow of the 13th century Basilica of St-Urbain come to the Restaurant de l’Etoile which specialises in these two dishes, and plough right in. The andouillette is served barbecued and alone on a plate, accompanied on a separate platter with a mountain of frites (French fries). The tête de veau, ordered by our colleague Laure Muselli PhD, but for me also to taste, is served as a casserole in a bowl with a very creamy, noticeably fatty sauce, and a side dish of steamed vegetables.
No ‘label’ accompanies either of these dishes: it’s unwritten tradition and word of mouth, mainly via my companions. The sign outside the restaurant is in French and if I need any more information, I can always ask the waiter … in French. But everyone in the region knows that andouillette is a ‘coarse-grained smoked tripe sausage made with pork (or occasionally veal) chitterlings, pepper, wine, onions, and seasonings (and if you want the details and pictures, visit Wikipedia). Food writer Jill Dupleix has written that it’s a ‘pale, lumpy sausage made from pigs’ intestines that smells like a pissoir (a urinal)’. Other, more brutal commentators, say it smells like poo. Fortunately I disagree with both and thoroughly enjoy the sausages which arrive on my plate, perhaps not least because I have a glass of genuine local brut Champagne (for Troyes is in the heart of the Champagne region) to accompany my meal. The tête de veau is, if anything, a little more challenging, because of the image it conveys … the little calf’s face peering up from the bowl. But it’s a tender, melt-in-your-mouth morsel, very fatty as Laure had pointed out.
Both andouillette and tête de veau, along with the alluring boudin noir (blood sausage, which is exactly what it says it is) are sold fresh in butchers’ shops in the Troyes halles, such as our provedore that day, ‘M. Mignot, votre boucher’.
Oh our bargain-hunting daughter Erin is a marvel … her dad (me) writes about shopping and she finds this wicked link!
We’ve been invited to have our worldwide launch of Shopping News at the new Merino Markets at Longreach, so thanks Sue Smith for this honour. It’ll be in August and we’ll let you know details closer to the date. Copies will be on sale and you can also buy right here right now (click the book cover on the right –>).
UK journalism colleague Paul Bradshaw has also kindly devoted some of his popular blog space to a virtual launch and guest post about Shopping News … you’ll find loads of other interesting stories there too. Just click the image at the top of this post.
And we’ve announced the date for our first TAFE Small Business Solutions business improvement workshop, also in Longreach. We start at 5pm on August 11 and seats are strictly limited so please, if you want a booking, my advice is to get in now.
After 10 years of research, my book Shopping News is now available from Melbourne publisher Australian Scholarly Publishing. Unlike most books about journalism it’s priced way below $100 … only $A39.95, and is available both as paperback and eBook. As the back-cover blurb says, “Shopping News contains the keys to the next generation of journalism and news publishing, with 16 clearly explained practical models for reporters, editors and producers everywhere”. I have shopped and researched for more than 10 years, from Iran and India to the UK, from China, France, South Africa and Australia to the United States. <more from the cover…> “As he shopped, Cokley learned retail and manufacturing secrets, including the latest in network theory, to show how journalists and publishers can reach and delight more people, ultimately achieving that Holy Grail of everyone in business, customer satisfaction, without compromising ethics or quality. It’s a must-read for everyone in the media business.”
Special excerpts and value-add illustrations from Shopping News will be published here from now on, including our new toolkit for reporters, editors, producers and Internet Service Providers, the Audience Soundtrack Analyser, and a Chinese version as well, priced at only 99 cents each. We hope you like Shopping News — and yes, it’s for shoppers, small business owners and digital marketing readers too.
Very happy to let you know that our business experience and expertise is now available through the TAFE Queensland Small Business Solutions program, which offers business mentoring for a low one-off fee of $395. If you or a friend have a small business which could use the tried and tested advice and methods described here, please contact TAFE here and mention my name. Available all through Central and South-East Queensland. I have run businesses in publishing, retail, and (of course) small-to-medium sized journalism enterprises.
It’s a little bit scary but a lot more fun … Christmas present buying steps up today with some new specials from Spinifex Collections in Longreach. When you live this far out, you need something naughty and nice. Happy shopping to all our viewers!
Here’s an exclusive sneak preview of Christmas stock at Longreach’s Spinifex Collections, thanks to owner Sue Smith.
Our lifelong friend Dallas Scott has gone into retail in the Outback town of Longreach, Queensland. and opened “The Garden Shed”, a spot for specialty botanical-theme gifts. Always the practical one, Dallas says she has stocked her shop with practical wares, “to be put to good use immediately … no dust & bug collecting!”
So practical that her shop provides free Wi-Fi for customers, lovely!
Dallas describes “The Garden Shed” (in Crane Street … every street in Longreach is named after a bird) as “a taste of South Melbourne in Longreach” and for once a sloganny-sounding promotion is rooted in truth … daughter Patience lives in South Melbourne and has added her tasteful stocking advice and big-city brands to the line-up. Let’s see: Helen Kaminski hats, Portmerion Botanical china, Mor Marshmallow products, French Hansi lemonade and mustards as well as what Dallas says are “the most expensive tea towels offered in Australia”.
As well as practical, Dallas is also generous: she says: “Every month a selected charity will be showcased in the Garden Shed to raise awareness and collect gold coin donations for the charity.”
It seems there are others … whew … I like the idea of joining a global network 🙂