Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Queen Victoria Market on a wet and windy Saturday

This weekend has brought much needed rain to Melbourne and so the bike stayed in the shed for the weekend.
In a momentary lapse of thought I suggested to Sue that we take off to the Queen Victoria Market. Without delay she agreed and next thing I know we were in the car and off to the city.

The Queen Victoria Market established in 1878

This weekend is Grand Final weekend for the Australian Rules Football. Neither of us has much interest in footy and the good thing is everyone is either at the game or at home watching it on TV.
Last year we were in Lygon Street Carlton when the Grand Final was on and the shops and cafes were empty.

The fruit and veg section of the 7 hectares of market.

Anyway, although the Queen Vic Markets wasn’t deserted, it at least wasn’t overcrowded. The market has a long history, being established in 1878. It is the largest market in the southern hemisphere with an area of 7 hectares or around 17 acres. The covered areas of the market contain 1328 solar panels, 2000 square metres generates 252,000 kw hours of electricity over the year.

Under cover area for seafood and meat - those prices are AUS$

There were other markets in the city such as the Eastern Market which no longer survives. The Eastern Market was demolished in the 60s and was replaced by Melbournes first high rise Hotel, the Southern Cross hotel. The Hotel’s claim to fame was that the Beatles stayed there on their concerts in Melbourne during the mid 60s.

The specialty stores are presented beautifully with lead light glass and gold leaf signage in many cases. Sue bought a wild rabbit from this stall.

The Queen Vic has had a bit of a shady past with supposed Mafia connections and certain criminal element at times. These days its rather trendy with some interesting specialty shops selling a huge range of produce from many other countries as well as the best of local produce.

This has to be my favorite stall - The French shop selling chesses, etc but look in the background, cycling jerseys and a classic steel framed road bike from the 70s.

My role in this trip to the market was pack horse and Le Banque. The more Sue became excited with the specials, the heavier the back pack became. Seafood, meat, fruit, and veg started being stuffed into the pack to the point that even the store keepers were showing signs of sympathy for me.

The corner Deli selling local King Island produce.
The benefits of course are the end results of enjoying Sue’s cooking of the produce, always washed down with a bottle of wine, in this case a Bordeaux 2005 blend of Merlot, Cab Sav and Malbec. We have this great wine chain called Dan Murphy, Uncle Dan’s, which has a marvellous array of local and imported wines.A stall selling chocolate, nuts and coffee - yum, yum.

The Bordeaux was just the perfect drop for the rib eye steak cooked beautifully with broad beans and potato slices cooked in duck fat.
As I write this blog the view from the study window is filled with the swaying of the Gum tree branches as the wind and rain lashes down. What happened to spring?


  1. OMG it is a big market place! How great to be able to buy a wild rabbit!
    Qantas has flight from LA to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane... for around $750. Not bad at all!

  2. Is that US$ and is return? That's approx AUS$880. Fantasic value if a return ticket.
    Nice to hear from you. I enjoy your comments on Walt and Ken's blogs. Don't they have some great stories.
    I've been researching their past blogs for our next trip.
    Sue is cooking the rabbit this week. I'll ask her to blog it.
    Thusday this week she is doing a cooking class for 2 other women and their husbands will join us to enjoy the results.

  3. Hello Leon & Sue, in your second picture, what is Cryovac Scotch? That market looks amazing. Are the products seasonal? What's going on with your weather? We are enjoying a beautiful end-of-September but our weather is soon to turn cloudy and chillier. Such is autumn...

    Nice to read you,


  4. Yes, the cheap Qantas flight is US dollars and it is round trip.
    The Hawaiian commission has been advertising their islands a lot in California; they need to have their tourists back. My ex inlaws live on Kauai and we are going to visit them for Christmas and the new-year. California in November, December and January is dreadful. I will envy your photos of sun drenched beaches then.
    Walt's and Ken's blogs are the first one I read in the morning. They are so balanced and interesting. You are so lucky to have met them.

  5. Yes Nadege, Ken's and Walt's blogs are the first things I read in the morning too. Gives me a real sense of everyday France. Sigh...
    Ken, the market IS amazing. Cryovac is a process where the meat is kept in vacuum packed bags and doesn't need refrigeration until it is opened. Only used for whole, large pieces of meat. In this case a whole scotch fillet. Sirloin in USA I think. It works well, but when you first open the bag it smells yuk, but it dissipates in a couple of minutes.
    Yes, the fruit part of the market is totally seasonal. We are just into Spring, although with the weather here you wouldn't know it at the moment. Asparagus is just coming in. Very little white asparagus in Australia, the green is much more popular.
    Mangoes are getting cheaper - bought 3 for $AUS5 last week, and the stone fruit will be around soon. Yum


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