Friday, October 21, 2011

To Die For: Top Eats at Melbourne's Markets (Part 1)

For those who live and breathe food.

Last year I stopped gymming and started running. This went well until winter arrived (sometime just before autumn), and voluntarily braving the Melbourne wind and chill in active wear felt like an unintended death wish. Unless of course, you're running towards something worth dying for.

Living in the CBD, my incentives take the form of the four surrounding farmers' markets: Veg Out in St Kilda, Gasworks in Albert Park, Slow Food in Abbotsford, and the Collingwood Children's Farm Market.

Because you've never really lived in Melbourne unless you've been to a Melbourne market - especially the farmers' markets. It's an experience right up there with trams, inanely hidden restaurants and countless cups of coffee in renovated warehouses.

Especially because there's little other way to get your hands on one of these:

1. Mellawha Heavenly Pastry
Where: Gasworks Albert Park; Slow Food Abbotsford

This is at the top of the list because it is at the top of my list.

My pick: the Lebanese mince.

Just before the meat is piled on.

Unreal flaky pastry (like fabulous roti) encasing Warialda beef mince, Schulz organic yoghurt (also available at these markets), tomato, tangy chilli (formerly Susan Neville chilli pickle, until she sadly retired from the city market circuit), spices like sumac, baharat, and za'atar, and a whole lot of love.

You can get it without the chilli, but not without the love.

Price tag on one of best eats I've ever had: $8.90.

And I'll pay for yours if you can guess what these ladies do in their day jobs!

Where: St Kilda Veg Out; Slow Food Abbotsford; Mt Eliza Farmers' Market

On to sweet breakfasts and desserts, and there's a smorgasbord to pick from.

Head here early, because Kath's home-made goodies have an annoying way of running out quickly. The strength of these treats are in the strength of their taste. You can be sure that if it's lemon, it'll pack a punch. And anything chocolate is darkly intense.

Her brownies are particularly infamous, but my top picks are the citrus curd slice and the chocolate and pear praline tart. The lemon tart is fabulous as well, no weak and weedy over-sweetened nonsense here. In more ways than one, you pay by weight.

Spot the empty serving stools.

When my favourites are not on offer (like on the day I took these pictures), I go for anything containing oranges or rhubarb.

Because I literally know where they come from!

Where: St Kilda Veg Out; Slow Food Abbotsford; Collingwood Children's Farm Market; Gasworks Albert Park


I'm told there's no better rhubarb in Victoria, and Frank, Food & Me certainly makes these the showcase of their desserts.


My personal pick: the rhubarb tarts with cream.

Petite pastry shells topped with stewed rhubarb compote and cream. A slightly pricey $3 a pop, but very, very good. Fresh rhubarb, jams, cakes, and chutneys also on offer.


4. Kingfisher Oranges
Where: St Kilda Veg Out; Slow Food Abbotsford; Collingwood Children's Farm Market; Gasworks Albert Park

Also a favourite Frank, Food & Me ingredient, Kingfisher oranges and mandarins are incredible. Really juicy with an intense orange sweetness and texturally excellent: none of the hard, sour, supermarket variety.

The quality control is amazing, if they don't think their oranges are perfect, they simply won't sell them.

The proof is in the eating: I replenish my fridge with 6kg of these each week. And a jar of their mulberry jam can last me two, at most.

Where: King & Godfree, Carlton

No longer strictly a market item, but I'm willing to let that technicality go. Previously mentioned in my Taste of Melbourne post, these intensely luxurious Belgian chocolate brownies from Brisbane were worth ruining my weekend gym session when they were available across the street right after at the Prahran Market on Saturdays.

They've only shown up at special events since, but have just recently arrived on the shelves of King & Godfree on Lygon St in Carlton.

You can purchase them online to be delivered, but $15 (Brisbane)/$20 (anywhere else) shipping is a bit of a deterrent unless you're purchasing a heap, or as corporate gifts. These brownies are such delicate creatures they have to be shipped in a much larger box with liquid ice packs to keep them perfect.

Seems a shame to eat them, but at $5.50 each for the experience, I don't hesitate. And I'm in good company - fans of the brand include Ashton Kutcher and Oprah.

My picks: Espresso & Walnut, Honey Caramelised Macadamia, and Rosewater & Pistachio (no, seriously).

One post certainly isn't enough to encompass all my market loves, so expect many more parts to this series in future.

As for all that running, it pays off in other ways:

Like 21.1km in 2:17:02.


  1. Kenny: If you had to pick just one, make it the Mellawa Heavenly Pastry. Lives up to its name ;)

  2. Vee (the original)October 21, 2011 at 2:33 PM


  3. Vee(the original): No they are not. And you may have got the name first but I'm clearly the better version ;)

  4. Hey... I've never been to any of those farmer markets, sigh. Shame on me! Definitely something I'd love to do with my family during the holidays in Summer. And if I do, will definitely go by your recommendations, so thanks for this! I love the look of that lebanese wrap. Definitely need to try that when I'm there. Have a great weekend, Vee! =D

  5. Winston: Thanks Winston! And yes definitely take your family, they are amazing places to experience a whole lotta Melbourne at once :) Let the girls know I sent you!

  6. Ooh Very nice! Love this guide... why won't you bring me along to your adventures????

  7. msihua: I will, definitely, will give you a call the next time I go :) Always good to have more mouths to feed!

  8. Great post - so much delicious eating :D Also, congrats on the marathon!

  9. Agnes: Thanks! Pretty chuffed - with the eating AND the run ;)

  10. It's a little embarrassing that I haven't visited the Abbotsford and Children's Farm markets, when I do live pretty close by. But my weekends are for sleeping in...

    Everything looks so delicious too! The brownies packaging in particular appeals to me. :D

    I need to get back out running more, I'm excellent in the gym, but get a bit lazy actually running around my neighbourhood...

  11. Yunny: Indeed!

    Ashley: Haha I reckon it's a natural phenomenon that people never go to places that are nearby - there are a couple of restaurants downstairs from where I live I've never stepped in, and they're meant to be pretty alright! And I'm the inverse - awful in the gym and better at running ;)

  12. That pastry looks amazing! :O And wow, that's a great time for the marathon, congrats! :) I'm doing my first fun run this weekend.. Although it's only 4km :| I'm not sure what it's for or where it is, one of my friends is dragging me along. I feel like it will be more of a catch-up then anything :P maybe one day I will work my way up to a marathon, though!

  13. Bianca: You can BUY the pastry to take home even! And I have to work my way up to a full marathon as well, 21.1km is only half unfortunately! Hopefully we'll both get there one day ;) Good luck with your 4km!!

  14. lol. chocolates always ruin everything! but they won't ruin your mood for sure. :)

  15. Michelle: The psychological benefits are as good as the health ones, that's what I always say ;)

  16. I am hooked on these markets now. Went to one in Central Park and practically tried all samples ! Congrats on the marathon

  17. AT: Yum samples are the best ;) Thanks!!

  18. I am going to miss the farmers market in Melbourne :(

  19. Hey, I remember those Belgian chocolate brownies from Taste, they were amazing!

  20. This is such an epic post - I have to join the list of people who shamefully have never visited one of these markets! Am putting this on my Summer to-do list. :)
    I remember when Dello Mano just started up, and I used to grab them when I went to the Jan Power Markets in Brisbane! They got me through Year 12, I swear. I can't believe how famous they've become though...

  21. ZOMG I want to eat EVERYTHING!!! I haven't been to a market in a while, really need to fix that ASAP!!

  22. Oh my, what a find! thanks for putting them together! they will be on my summer mission!

  23. These are mouth watering and delicious products. I can’t stop myself any more without eating. Really looking delicious. Melbourne Corporate Cruise