TRH (The Retired Husband) and I took a trip to the famous Adelaide Central Market today. It’s one of Australia’s largest fresh produce markets right slap bang in the middle of the CBD. Friday is one of the busiest days. It’s the end of the working week. And the market is open from 7am to 9pm. Our plan had been to get there between the breakfast and lunch rush. Being retirees, we no longer know what it is to have rushed mornings. I woke at 9.15, skimmed through the paper, read the comics, did the crossword and scrambled letters. Himself joined me at the table 45 minutes later. By the time we were ready to leave it was after 12. Ah well !
It’s a popular place, the Central Market. Over 8 million people visit it every year. It hosts monthly food themes – this month is mushrooms and truffles. Which is the reason I wanted to go. I was after fresh porcini mushrooms wild harvested in the Adelaide Hills. Guess what ? I was a week too late. The season is over. That’s why I ended up with dried porcini. The beautiful orange ones in the poster above are wild harvested pine mushrooms. A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of eating the most awesome mushroom soup ever. I’m not normally a big fan of mushroom soup. However, I just had to have the recipe for this one. So next Sunday I will be making it. If I manage to pull it off, I’ll post the recipe.
Central Market was officially opened on 22nd January 1870. Back then it sold vegetables, fruit, hay, fish and game meat. The year before it’s official opening, local farmers congregated in the city to sell their wares. Such was its popularity that on the first market day 500 people attended. All stock was sold out by 6am!
The diversity of produce and cultures has grown exponentially since then, making it very popular for both locals and tourists alike. It is South Australia’s most visited tourist attraction with around 8 million visitors a year. There are over 80 stalls in a single undercover area.
The arcade located next to it has over 60 specialty shops. A market plaza has further specialty shops, cafes and a food court. It links Central Market to China Town.
The streets leading to the car park entrances (one on each side of the markets) were chock a block full with traffic moving at a snail’s pace. I must give TRH his due here. In days gone by he would have thrown his hands up in horror, revved the engine and screeched his way home. Not a whisper of complaint this time. Although he did wake me up in the middle of the night last night – twice!
What was it you wanted to get from the market?
Huh ? Oh – mushrooms.
Eyebrows shoot up. He’s not a mushroom lover. Some time (hours?) later –
What are you going to do with them ?
Huh? Make soup.
After some ten minutes of queueing to get into the car park, we made it in. And guess what?! The parking faeries were in top form. We had a park right next to the escalators within 30 seconds! But getting out of the car park took just as long as getting in.
TRH followed me faithfully with granny trolley in tow. However, his bag packing skills need serious attention. I will be taking the training in hand with successive marketing trips. A few times I did feel a little like I had a kid with me demanding to know if I’d bought this, that or the other that he really, really wanted. All in all , he was well behaved. Lunch of freshly made flat bread with lamb and chicken koftas was delicious. AS was the freshly brewed coffee.
We came home with wood oven baked rye sour dough bread, some cold meats, three new cheeses to try and mushroom soup ingredients (of course). Dinner tonight was savouring the market delicacies with a chilled glass of Banrock Station chardonnay. Life is good !
© Raili Tanska