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Tag Archives: markets of melbourne

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia)

My ‘Markets of Melbourne’ series continue with a visit to the iconic Queen Victoria Market.

Affectionately referred to as Queen Vic, the Queen Victoria Market is one of the oldest inner-city markets of Melbourne with a rich, vibrant and a fair share of controversial history.

I love visiting markets because there is so much life and energy in the atmosphere. Most markets are a true representation of the history, culture and food practices of that region. And I love market tours as it is much more interactive than reading the same information on a website.

thespiceadventuress.com

The Ultimate Foodie Tour is the best way to enjoy a personalized tour of the Queen Victoria Market, learn more about its colourful past, the best places to shop and sample some goodies along the way.

Our tour guide for the day was Miss. Irene, whose infectious enthusiasm and love for the market made the walk really interesting. After acknowledging and paying respects to the elders and true custodians of the land, she spoke to us about the history of the market, interesting tidbits about the architectural details etc… And then we started on our tour visiting the several iconic, traditional and heritage-listed market food halls.

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

Since we visited a lot of stalls, I decided to do a pictorial guide of the tour, with all the relevant details provided under each photograph. While some of the stalls were part of the tour, some are traders or shops where I personally love to shop at while visiting Queen Vic.

It’s hard to miss George the Fishmonger while visiting the Seafood section. With the friendliest staff and the freshest seafood on offer, these guys are a must visit if you are crazy about seafood.

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

Picture Courtesy – Supriya Mengi

And of course, you cannot leave without sampling freshly shucked oysters from the Seafood and Oyster Spot. A generous squeeze of lemon and you are in oyster heaven! The best thing I liked is that there is no minimum number of oysters you must order (the minimum at most places is half a dozen); so if you are alone or in a small group, you can order just the number you need.

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

The Deli Hall is another must visit market precinct for homemade pastas, sauces, cheese, cured meats, olives etc….. You will be spoilt for choice and there are so many traditional shops that have been selling their food products here for years.

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

One of the stops we made during the tour was at the Traditional Pasta Shop. As the name suggests, this shop is heaven for pasta lovers. Arrays of homemade pastas greet you, both fresh and dried. You can also purchase their in house pasta sauces here. We sampled the pumpkin stuffed raviolis in a creamy cheese sauce….just divine!

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

A selection of cured meats including salami, ham etc…

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

Rows and rows of olives, different varieties from all around the world can be found in the Deli Hall.

It would be impossible for me to visit a market and not find a spice trader. And while there are quite a few to choose from, one of my favourites is Gewürzhaus, located inside the Deli hall. It is a one stop shop for all your spice needs, be it whole spices, blends, flavoured salts, dried herbs or teas. Let’s just say, I shopped quite a bit there…..

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ras el Hanout

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

Merlot flavoured salt

There are a few shops selling Australian wines and the one that caught my eye was the Flowerdale Winery. Located near the Kinglake Ranges, about an hour’s drive to the north east of Melbourne, this winery is all about producing wines using traditional and natural methods, without any added preservatives. And while there are plenty of reds and whites, it’s the liqueurs and infused spirits that really excited me.

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

A bottle of Chilli Wine, from Flowerdale Winery. I have had chilli infused wines before but none really had that hit of chilli. But this one was simply amazing in terms of flavour. I tried out a red wine jus and also used it to add that dash of flavour to my pasta sauces. Highly recommended.

There are plenty of food trucks and eateries inside the market and also situated in the Market place food court. Some of these are unique and serve some of the best food that you will find in Melbourne.

If you love mussels, do stop over at the Mussel Pot where fresh mussels are cooked right in front of you. There are several different styles to choose from but one of the crowd favourites is the tomato, chilli, coconut flavoured one. Totally worth the wait!

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

Love doughnuts? Then a stop at the American Doughnut Kitchen is a must. Well these guys will convert you even if you are not a doughnut lover. You simply cannot miss this iconic 1950s van where you get to watch the always busy dough makers whipping out hundreds of fresh, soft and hot doughnuts with the sweet jam filling.

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

McIver’s Coffee & Tea Merchants is another must visit place while at Queen Vic. It’s not just about the 24 coffee and 72 tea varieties that they stock, it’s also about the cutest teapots and kettles. I literally stood there like a kid in a candy store. And even though I wanted to buy a tea set, I didn’t because I intend to go back for some serious shopping.

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

I am not going to waste time by describing the fruit and vegetables area, because honestly we all know that Queen Vic stocks some of the best produce of this country. But what surprised me is that there is an entire area dedicated to organic produce.

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

It is not possible to showcase all the traders or the variety of products that you can find at Queen Vic. It is a shopping mecca so make sure you walk around the length and breadth of the market and not just pop in for fresh produce.

The tour ended at ReWine with a glass of warm mulled wine (felt incredible since it was a very cold day) and a platter of fresh fruits. ReWine is a sustainable venture where different types of high quality, Australian wines are sold through the barrels present on site. So instead of just purchasing a bottle or two, you can take the old bottles back to be re-filled with your favourite wine.

The Ultimate Foodie Tour at Queen Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

I would recommend the Ultimate Foodie Tour for everyone. Whether you are a local, an occasional visitor or tourist, the tour offers a great insight into the rich history of the market, the traders and their stories and how the market has progressed through the centuries becoming the iconic place that it is today.

(You can also read about my experience at the Dandenong Market and Yarra Valley Farmer’s Market)

Disclaimer – I was invited as a guest to participate in the tour. The experience was unique and personal; the photographs entirely mine, unless stated otherwise. 

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Dandenong Market – A Slice of History in your Shopping Bag + a Giveaway ($200 Market Voucher)

 

Established in 1866, Dandenong Market is the second oldest and largest market of Melbourne. Often referred to as the Cook’s Market, it has always played a central role in the community – farmers, small business owners and public alike.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

My association with Dandenong Market began in 2013, the year I migrated with my family to Melbourne. Living a stone’s throw away, the market soon became my shopping haven. The vibrant and bustling scenes, fresh produce, spices, friendly vendors calling out their wares were all a reminder of my home in India. And those initial days of newness in a foreign land seemed to diminish away, instead replaced with a sense of belonging.

It’s my weekly trips to the market that has provided a lot of inspiration for the blog in those early days. Even today, a trip to Dandenong Market is enough for me to come back home feeling inspired and bursting with ideas. And that’s largely because of the amazing variety of produce that can be encountered here.

The bustling multicultural community lends a unique charm to the market making it a utopia for food lovers!

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

The market also conducts free Food Discovery Tours, a perfect way to go behind-the-scenes and get an exclusive glimpse into the everyday workings of a busy market. It also provides a deeper understanding of the produce, sustainability and interesting stories of the traders who runs these businesses.

With over 200 traders, the market is a bustling expanse and private tours like these can be of great help especially when you want to buy the best on offer. There are also different kinds of tours of offer and booking is essential even though the tours operate free of cost. Learn all about the tours and make a booking here.

I was lucky to be taken on a tour by Chef Tim Hollands, who is extremely passionate about Australian produce. In fact Chef Hollands is a well known food consultant and owner of Tim’s Foods and Tim Hollands Catering who is on a mission to introduce fresh Australian produce to the outside world. Food provenance and sustainability are very important to Chef Hollands and I could not have asked for a better tour guide.

Now as I mentioned, the Dandenong Market is huge and bustling with more than 200 traders and it would be impossible to write about each of them. So here is a photographic tribute to some of my favourite traders, shops and cafes to share with you.

(I have provided information regarding each place beneath the photograph, but you can also find more information about the traders here.)

Details of the giveaway for a $200 market voucher at the end of this post.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Let’s start the tour with a cup of coffee, shall we? Café Valentina by Melba Coffee is a great place to stop by for a cuppa of your choice. I especially loved the cold drip coffee and you may also like to take home some of their award winning roasted beans.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Hart’s Honey is another favourite of mine and I often stop by to replenish and stock up the honey section of my pantry. Owned by Joza Hart, the stall is very famous for the different varieties of honey like Iron Bark, Mixed Blossom, Red Gum, Leatherwood (from Tasmania) and Manuka (from New Zealand). Hart also stocks creamed honey and honey comb but my favourite is the Orange blossom honey for its citrusy undertones. Do stop by for a chat; Hart is great company and loves to talk about his products.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

It’s a given that you will be shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables at the market. Do wander around the different stalls like Luppino Fresh (the oldest trader in the market), S&G Fresh, Alexander Produce etc… to see what’s in season and score a bargain. Markets are all about exploring so refrain from buying all the produce from just one place and rushing out unless you are in a hurry. For me, these braided shallots were the highlight of the day!

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Sam’s Spice and Grocery….the most inspiring space for me in the market. I can easily spend hours here pondering over rows and rows of spices from all around the globe. In fact, most of my spice education happens here. A trip to Dandenong Market is worth it just to visit this store.

All of you know how crazy I am about seafood and Dandenong Market is one of my absolute favourite places to buy fresh seafood. Recommending two shops;

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

The first is Hellenic Seafood, owned and operated by the Ganotis family. This is the place for sustainably sourced seafood, extremely high quality produce and my go to store for salmon, red snapper, oysters, mussels, clams etc….

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

The second is Schwarze Seafoods, my next favourite because of the sheer variety of seafood available. Especially the place to visit if you are sourcing seafood for traditional dishes from other cuisines like Indian, Asian etc… And to all those who have asked me so many times, I get fresh sardines and mackerel from here most of the time.

There is a great selection of bakeries inside the market and my top two picks would be Baker Boys and Melina’s Bakery & Larder.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Baker Boys is managed by Jawad Zada who fled Afghanistan to escape the Taliban rule and arrived as a refugee here in 2001. Since he was a baker there, he continued in the same profession here, taking courses and doing apprenticeships to establish himself as a baker here. While you will find all sorts of baked goods in his shop, my absolute favourite are the Afghan style flatbreads with herbs and chilli flakes……a stunning combination with a delicious lamb curry.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Melina’s is my go to shop for sourdough and rye bread. There are so many different styles available especially for those who are interested in artisan breads and European styles. My favourite would be the plain sourdough which makes an excellent base for a rustic and delicious Bruschetta.

Apart from all the fresh produce, deli, meat and seafood traders, Dandenong Market is also home to other shops, a space often referred to as The Bazaar. This place can indeed be a treasure house if you are willing to spend a little time and walk through the rows of clothing, shoes, accessories, cosmetics, toys etc…..

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

One such store is Linda’s Workshop which specializes in fine pearl jewellery. Rows and rows of beautiful pearl jewellery that won’t break your bank!

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

The Afghan bazaar is actually located in the meat and deli hall because they also stock a huge variety of Middle Eastern groceries but I would recommend looking at the ornate traditional homewares , tea sets and other kitchenware for such bargain prices.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

If you are a book lover, then you must pay a visit to Volkan Books. Owned by Mustafa, this is a very popular space not just to buy books but also to swap and sell books. And if you bump into me there, do come and say hello.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

And even though I have not personally used their services, I was drawn to the beautiful ambience at Christalignment. The staff is trained in supernatural healing, presence therapy, dream interpretations etc…..

If all that shopping and walking around has left you tired, then it’s time to indulge your tastebuds at the Market Square.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Let’s start with Saccha for a refreshing glass of cold sugarcane juice. Lez is a veteran of the hospitality industry and he definitely knows to mix his drinks. Opt for the plain freshly squeezed juice or try one of his signature drinks. Highly recommended!

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Food from all around the globe is on offer here and some of my favourites include The Grill (for delicious burgers and kransky sausages), Sansan’s Dumpling House (for handmade traditional dumplings, golden pies and soft Chinese buns), Andy’s Mauritian Hut (for dhal puri, curries and vadai/chilli cakes) and Fat Kebabs (for kebabs, Middle Eastern pizzas and the best lahmacun I have ever had).

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

And if you like spicy, rich and bold flavours, then it is PiqNiq Hut that you must head to for delicious Srilankan food. All the traditional favourites like Kothu roti, devilled chicken, goat curry etc…. are available.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Finish off your meal with delicious freshly made doughnuts from the much loved Dandee Donuts, perhaps the most famous of all eateries at the market.

I also had some very interesting conversations, all thanks to the DSLR around my neck.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Like this gentleman from Cairns who is visiting Melbourne and loves the Dandenong Market.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

And these two gentlemen who came here 30 years ago from Iran and now call themselves proud Melbournians. It was a joy to see the pride they had in their eyes while speaking of what a welcoming nation Australia is. Let’s keep it that way folks!

I can write forever about Dandenong Market but all good things must come to an end. And we have the giveaway to talk about too;

The folks at Dandenong Market would love to have you and so they are giving away a $200 market voucher to one lucky subscriber.

To enter;

  • Subscribe to my blog using your email id (the subscription box can be found at the top right hand corner on the home page)
  • Sign up to Dandenong Market newsletter here.
  • Leave a comment below stating you have done both.

The competition will run from 15th to 29th March, 2017 and the winner will be drawn on 30th.  Open only to residents of Victoria; the winner will be announced on my social media channels so make sure you are following me.

Good luck folks!

This giveaway is now closed and a winner has been drawn. 

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