My favourite type of tourist attraction? The local markets.
Wandering the aisles is always tantalising for the eyes and the stomach, but it's also the best place to see what's grown and what's in season, find out the specialties of the region and chat with locals too.
If there's one essential pit stop for food lovers in Adelaide it's the Adelaide Central Market, conveniently located in the city centre. Founded by a group of market gardeners in 1869, the Markets have now been in operation for over 140 years.
The indoor markets are a riot of colour, stalls laden with fresh produce, and numerous delicatessens hidden by hanging whole salamis and smoked smallgoods. Old-fashioned butchers have meat on trays with parsley garnishes and smiling service staff behind the counter.
During our trip to Adelaide for Tasting Australia, Billy and I join the visiting media contingent for a customised tour of the market led by Mark Gleeson, a market providore and celebrated local. Slightly star-struck by the sight of Rosemary Shrager and Michelin-starred Northern Ireland chef Paul Rankin in our midst, we trawl the markets as we touch, smell -- and often taste -- the local produce on offer.
Rosemary Shrager at the Adelaide Central Markets
Rosemary, who is a delightful food afficionado at heart, can be regularly heard trilling "Isn't this fanTAStic!" and "Look at this MAAAARRRvellous produce!" every ten minutes or so. She asks questions with keen interest, peers a little close at the display, and then inflates her chest and shakes her head with wonderment and incredulity at the bounty of discovery.
What I love most about the markets is how alive it is. A constant flow of people wend their way through, a happy mix of families, singles, couples and the elderly. Mark tells us that each morning, the head chefs of Adelaide's top restaurants can all be seen here, buying their supplies. A few hours later the customers become the local public, buying the same fruits, vegetables and meats that will be used for home-cooked dinners that evening.
South Australian tomatoes
The markets are such fun that despite the two hour tour, Billy and I return a few days later for another long and leisurely amble through the aisles. I could have spent all day here, maybe more.
San Marino Prosciutto
Mark takes us for a behind-the-scenes look at O'Connell's Butcher which has been trading at the Central Markets for 37 years. They still break down whole animals here, and the multicultural customer base means everything is utilised.
Owner Tony O'Connell
Tony's plastic-link belt
Barley, black beans and red Persian lentils
Cheeses at The Smelly Cheese Shop
A wall of cheeses
Con's Fine Food
Standing beef ribs at Barossa Fine Foods
Bum burners at The Mettwurst Shop
Fire Starters at The Mettwurst Shop
Stone oven sourdough by Dough...
Bagels by Dough...
Customers at Dough...
European small goods
Lachsschinken cold smoked pork ham $2.79/100g
If there is one thing you must buy in Adelaide, it's lachscchinken.
It means "salmon ham" in German, and when this cold-smoked pork loin fillet is shaved into thin slices, you really will think you're eating salmon. The pork is traditionally salted with brown sugar, dry-cured and then cold smoked for three to five days.
The lachscchinken is sliced paper-thin, and the result is a pale pink luscious and velvety treat that looks exactly like smoked salmon, and melts in the mouth the same way.
The Mushroom Shop
Wild pine mushrooms
Billy and I almost tripped over ourselves with excitement when we spot the harvest of wild pine mushrooms for sale at The Mushroom Shop. However when we return a few days later, ready to stock up for the trip home, we're devastated to find they are completely sold out.
But it doesn't really matter, because I've got the next best thing in my hands - a paper package of lachsschinken to savour slowly.
Buerre Bosc pears
Pavlova roll $12
Grab Your Fork visited Adelaide as a guest of South Australia Tourism for Tasting Australia.
> Read the next South Australia 2010 post
(Russian piroshki at Taldy-Kurgan)
< Read the first South Australia 2010 post
(lunch with Maggie Beer and Rosemary Shrager)
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Adelaide Central Market
Gouger Street, Adelaide, South Australia
Tel: +61 (08) 8203 7203
Tuesday 7am - 5.30pm
Wednesday 9am - 5.30pm
Thursday 9am - 5.30pm
Friday 7am - 9pm
Saturday 7am - 3pm
Closed Sundays and Mondays
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
South Australia - Enoteca Restaurant, Adelaide with Antonio Carluccio
South Australia - Maggie Beer's Farm Shop with Rosemary Shrager + Maggie Beer
South Australia - Taldy Kurgan Russian piroshki at Adelaide Central Market
South Australia - The Manse Restaurant, North Adelaide
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9/14/2010 12:58:00 a.m.