Mitch Goldsworthy appears to have achieved that near-impossible thing – pleasing all of the people all of the time. At least, that is, when it comes to satisfying the desires of a largely vegan community with a strong affection for fresh pasta.
For about 15 years Byron Gourmet Pasta has had a strong presence at local farmers’ markets, purveying a wide range of fresh pastas using local and organic ingredients. A chef by trade, the ever-affable Mitch had been employed by the previous owners up until about four years ago when he was offered the opportunity of taking over the business, and, eager to be working more civilised hours and to ‘transition out of hospitality’, he accepted. Much of the original range and formulae were adhered to, but after ‘constantly being asked to do gluten-free pasta’, Mitch tells me, he gradually devised a product he was completely happy with.
As, indeed, are the customers: he has a loyal following who come for the fresh spaghetti, fettuccine, fusilli and rigatoni, all of it devoid of eggs, the traditional component in fresh pasta, providing that lush and silky mouth-feel that, wonderfully, Mitch has succeeded in emulating.
He uses chickpea flour (besan), with a small amount of rice flour, tapioca and xanthum gum ‘to give it elasticity’, along with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and filtered water. There’s spelt pasta too, gluten-free potato gnocchi, and possibly his biggest seller, the ravioli. Sold in convenient little frozen packs, their eight fillings, one vegan, include ricotta, lemon, chilli and dill; rocket, macadamia and basil pesto; blue cheese and caramelised onion. And there’s lasagne, both a beef and a vegetarian version, plus Mitch’s own tomato passata utilising Cooper’s Shoot tomatoes – so really, there’s dinner, all from the one stall, and everybody happy!
Byron Gourmet Pasta is at Mullumbimby Farmers Market every Friday from 7–11am.