I’ve been enjoying the Queen Vic Market for most of my life. From visiting when I was a young girl with my parents, walking up and down the aisles looking at what was even then slightly dodgy clothing. To heading in weekly to do the share-house shopping. We used to buy boxes of whatever fruit or vegetable was cheap, I seem to remember boxes of oranges and we never left without getting a bag of hot jam donuts, using left-over money from the share-house kitty! The american donut van was still parked in the same place as it is today, but the jam back then was what I would consider “real” jam and yes it was hot and had potential to burn.
I take my own kids now, but sadly we don’t go weekly like we used to. I end up spending more than I need to, I’m a sucker for lots of fresh produce. I make a point of getting most of the ingredients for special meals from the market, especially Christmas. I am slightly anal and keep a diary of each Christmas menu I feed my family and as such prepare like I’m in a professional kitchen. It’s just what I do. If you decide to go to the market at Christmas time for some goodies, my advice prepare in advance. Go a few weeks earlier to your supplier and order (turkey, chicken, seafood, ham etc) and ensure they will have your preferred cheese, cream or breads in advance. Also, write a list and don’t get distracted, it’s chaotic. Get there early and get out fast, also a word or warning don’t take your kids to any market the day before Christmas, they’ll get pummelled.
Here is a list of my favourite stalls and produce, in no particular order:
CURDS & WHEY
This stall sells freshly churned butter from Warrnambool, a great selection of cheeses (my favourite is the Warrnambool cheddar), fresh creams as well as bacon, homemade pies and a range of condiments. The service is friendly and they give great advice, especially if you are putting together a cheese platter. I find that everything I buy from here is of the highest quality and is always really fresh.
This stall sells an excellent selection of free range and organic birds of every description, chicken, duck, turkey etc etc. They also sell a wide selection of eggs, not just those from a chicken. I get Milawa free range organic chicken from here and I know that they also sell free range organic Turkey’s for Christmas. If you want something for Christmas you MUST order in advance, it’s one of the most popular stalls in the market.
I’ve been buying seafood from Prossers for years. I find they always have an excellent selection, and are very helpful if you need advice or filleting etc. They now have a second stall to the left of the Elizabeth St entrance.
M & G CAIAFA – BREAD & CHOCOLATE/SWEETS
This stall sells a selection of breads from different bakeries, so you have the very best all in one place. They also sell sourdough by the kilo, if you would rather not buy a whole loaf. There is ciabatta, brioche, bagels, rolls as well as a good selection of turkish loaves and pizza bases, you name it they have it. On the non bread side of this stall is a whole array of chocolate and sweets, go to town.
What more can be written about these now famous boreks. Crisp pastry on the outside and an interior of your choosing, spicy lamb, cheese and spinach and potato. They also sell an array of falafel and I noticed cabbage rolls too. Boreks are only $2.50 each and make a substantial snack as you peruse other stalls.
The best selection of small goods if not just at the Market but in Melbourne (Mediterranean Wholesalers on Sydney Road comes a close second.) You name it they have it, the “Grandmothers” ham is my favourite and please get it with the fat attached, I mean c’mon! My eldest loves the kabana and there is also a large selection of different polish sausage (perfect for bigos) and other cured meats. They sell an array of traditional Polish condiments and my other favourite barrel pickled cucumbers with dill.
I wouldn’t bother going to any other stall at the market for meat, I think they are cheap for a reason, I’m happy to be proven wrong. I go here for grass and grain fed beef of excellent quality, get steaks of all description cut to your liking. It’s not cheap but the quality is incredible.
MARKET LANE COFFEE
Only open for 7 weeks, this is fast becoming the must stop place at the market. Not in the market proper, it’s situated on Therry St, just opposite the flower stall next to the organic fruit aisle (up from McDonalds.) The one thing the market has been lacking, in my opinion, has been good coffee. This is coffee at it’s best. The space is minimal, white-painted brick walls and polish concrete floors. There is a small amount of seating behind the barista bench and a lovely window seat, but I happily got my coffee to go (in fact since discovering this place I’ve been back twice in a week.) The barista’s are extremely pleasant and accommodating and I am in love with the huge bowl of Rapadura sugar. You can buy a selection of beans and rapadura sugar also. A perfect way to end a day at the market.
Corner of Victoria & Elizabeth Streets, Melbourne
Tuesdays, 6am to 2pm
Thursdays, 6am to 2pm
Fridays, 6am to 5pm (General Merchandise to 4pm)
Saturdays, 6am to 3pm
Sundays, 9am to 4pm
The Market is closed Mondays, Wednesdays and the following public holidays: Good Friday, Anzac Day, Melbourne Cup Day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
109-111 Therry St, Melbourne (opposite the market)