Monday, January 24, 2011

Bras, Ducklings and Kangaroo - A Visit to Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

Queen Victoria Market is a 'must visit' spot for any trip to Melbourne.  It is a huge indoor/outdoor market selling all manner of food and dry goods.  I say dry goods for lack of a better term to encompass clothing, kitchen wares, tools, linens, crafts and whatever else the vendors can fit in their trucks.  QV Market was founded in 1878 and is open five days a week, three weekdays and Saturday/Sunday.  Unlike the US where farm markets are usually a complement to the local grocery store, QV Market *is* the grocery store for many people in Melbourne. It is adjacent to the central business district, so it is easily accessible.

The food divides into indoor and outdoor, with the indoor halls selling meat, fish, fowl, cheese, bread, pasta, teas/coffees, wine, beer, oils etc. Outdoor vendors sell fruits and vegetables of all types, plus various livestock, flowers, eggs, honey and other things I don't remember.  .

I especially like the indoor food halls; they make me wish I had a kitchen here or that I could take meat on the 24hr flight home (and get it past the customs beagles).  I only know of a few butchers in metro Washington, DC and they generally have a limited selection.  There are more butchers at QV Market and they sell every cut of meat I have ever seen or heard of, and of course the meat sources go beyond the common beef, pork and lamb to include kangaroo and other exotics.  In addition to fresh meat, the cured meat is fantastic and diverse.   I loved the Polish sausage vendor, and bought a delicious garlic sausage that went perfectly with my pear cider.   For almost every kind of food I saw, there were at least a couple (and usually more) vendor stalls in competition.

The produce is good and diverse.  Temperate fruit from Tasmania and tropical fruit from the north are relatively close to Melbourne.  The huge ethnic diversity of Australia, and the almost universal interest in food and openness to new types of food creates an environment where food diversity thrives.

I visit QV market every time I come to Melbourne and find something new each time.

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