Echoes of Food – mushrooms

Echoes of Food 1 - posted

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.

Wall art in the markets
Wall art in the markets

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.

Echoes of Food 2 - posted

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.

Echoes of Foos 3 - posted

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

26 thoughts on “Echoes of Food – mushrooms

  1. What a great post. I went to the market here in Arkansas. Purple Cherokee tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow onions and a big Clive of garlic! It’s one of my favorite things to do–go to the farmers market. This one sounds spectacular!!

  2. Even living on the otherside of the world I can relate to your story.. Thank you for sharing and showing the beautiful wall art or murals we call here

    1. Thanks – there’s a whole movement here to try and decorate public places with beautiful works of art rather than vandalise with tags and graffiti. Some councils make spaces available for graffiti artists specifically to encourage quality works of art. There’s a burgeoning of versions, I’ve discovered – wall art, street art, string art….

  3. Oh I’m soooo jealous Raili! We have a very teeny tiny farmers market here on the island that is seasonal (middle,of April – October) on Wednesdays and Saturdays….nothing at all like what you’ve got there! *heavy sigh*

  4. After you’ve made your mushroom soup, perhaps you can tell me how you managed to rehydrate and soften the mushrooms. Porcini aren’t the worst, but the few times I’ve bought dried mushrooms they’ve been tough. I’ve tried soaking them in cold both cold and hot water, leaving them overnight, and even throwing them into a casserole and cooking it in the slow-cooker – after an overnight soaking. I’ve also tried chopping them into tiny bits and cooking them. Even then I was aware of nasty chewy bits in my dinner. Nothing worked. Maybe it has something to do with the method of drying…

    1. I’ve got them soaking now. The mushroom store owner told me to soak them in warm water for 20 minutes. I’ve used hot water and will leave them longer than that, as I have misgivings. We’ll see. If they’re tough still, I might just use the soaking liquid. Will let you know what happens!

      1. You may not have seen my post about the soup. The porcini softened up really nicely, and blitzed well. Just left black specks in the soup. I did soak them in hot water for an hour and a half. Posted the recipe yesterday.

  5. Sounds like a real adventure! When we were in St. Johns, New Brunswick they had a huge market like that which spanned two city blocks and flowed across the street to the other side. Never been in a market that big.

  6. I’m impressed by how popular the place is. I know for a fact that if my family went there and tried to park, all 8 million visitors would arrive at the exact same time. That’s what usually seems to happen whenever we go shopping.

    1. IT was chockablock full when we got there, Friday is their busy day. But there was a steady stream of cars going in and coming out so the turnover in the car park was pretty good. Just waiting to get in (and out) was the longest. It’s a hive if multicultural food and activity.

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