The word ‘Delicatessen’ which first appeared in English in 1889 is the plural of the German ‘Delikatesse’ in turn on loan from the French ‘delicatesse’ meaning delicious things. The root word is Latin, delicatus meaning – giving pleasure, delightful.
The first Americanised short version of the word, deli, came into existence in 1954.
The German food company Dallmayr is credited with being the first delicatessen created in 1700, and it became the first store to import bananas, mangoes and plums to the German population from faraway places like the Canary Islands and China. 300 years later it remains the largest business of its kind in all of Europe.
The first Delicatessens to appear in the USA were in New York in the mid 1800’s and were not actually called Delicatessens until 1885, and even then catered mostly to German migrants in New York. As time progressed Supermarkets and local stores began using the word to describe sections of their stores. The decline of the Deli as an independent retail store was most notable in New York; from a high in the 1930’s of about 1500 mostly Jewish Delis down to just 15 in 2015.
In Australia the term ‘delicatessen’ retains its European meaning of high-quality, usually expensive foods and stores. Supermarket chains often have a Deli department and independent Delicatessens exist throughout the country. Both types of Deli offer a variety of cured meats, sausages, pickled vegetables, dips, breads, olives, etc.
In South Australia and Western NSW ‘Deli’ often denotes a Milk Bar or Convenience Store, while some actually use the word as part of their name.
Traditional Delicatessens often use the term ‘Continental Delicatessen’ to indicate the European tradition of their stores.
In commercial refrigeration circles the term ‘Deli Display fridge’ has also come to indicate the particular type of display refrigerator used to display the specialty foods that require constant and specialised refrigeration.
In the past a number of brands were manufactured in Australia, but these have all long since disappeared and now there are a small number of reputable brands being imported from Europe (mostly Italy) and of course there are the Chinese versions of commercial fridges, lesser known and generally not as well accepted since the Chinese have no history in this traditional industry.
One thing is certain, the Deli industry in Australia is alive and well and anticipates no decline in the foreseeable future. Especially by using quality, Italian manufactured commercial refrigeration units. Euro Chill supplier Australia with the best European fridges and freezers, both commercial and medical. We are proud of our Deli Display fridge range, fit for use as a butcher display case, specialty cheese and meat deli’s, in all supermarkets and convenience stores.
By clicking on the writer’s name, feel free to contact Euro Chill with any questions and enquiries. We deliver our medical and commercial units nationally. This includes our Vacc-Safe range of vaccine fridges, veterinary vaccine fridges, our Sanden range of under-bench and upright refrigerators, and our open display units. Feel free to check out our website to see which brands and products we stock. We have a wide range of Deli Display fridge, commercial fridges and freezers.