HOT: South Melbourne Market tour, 322-326 Coventry St, South Melbourne

south melbourne market tour

During Markets of Melbourne’s Market Week 2014 I took the opportunity to take a guided tour of South Melbourne Market.

south melbourne market tour

South Melbourne Market is not a market I frequent often so the tour was a fun and delicious way to discover interesting gems and meet some of the stallholders and characters behind the long-standing market. Here are some of my favourites:

south melbourne market tour
Georgie’s Harvest is one of the market’s favourite stallholders. It’s run by a husband and wife team and they specialise in spuds and vegetables generally. I’ve been to a cooking class run by Georgie’s Harvest and learnt all about the different ways to prepare potato!

south melbourne market tour

At St George’s Sourdough Bakehouse we tasted some of their organic sourdough bread. I highly recommend the seeded loaf and to avoid the stodgy looking  pastries (which aren’t organic).

South Melbourne Market tour

We dived into the deli aisle and to Alka Polish Deli where we tried a variety of different cured meats. I doubled back later on to stock up on pierogi, ham and sausage – the owner was very helpful about helping me choose what to buy from the large range.

south melbourne market tour

At Rita’s Nut Shop we met jolly Rita herself who sliced pieces of her giant handmade Turkish delight for us to try. I highly recommend the almond Turkish delight studded with fruit and nuts.

south melbourne market tour

A unique space within South Melbourne Market is SO:ME Space with clothing, art and lifestyle retailers plus pop up stalls. I bought a quirkly paper towel dispenser from The Supercool, a shop where you can find things to make you and your home nice! The Supercool recentlywon Best Trader in the Melbourne Market Awards.

south melbourne market tour

After the tour I headed to Simply Spanish for paella. You can smell the food as they cook up huge paella pans on Cecil Street and I got a generous helping of Valencian paella for $14. The rice was a bit overcooked for my liking and there was no crispy base at all, so I didn’t love it. On the Spanish waitress’ recommendation I also ordered the croquettes ($6). They were beautifully crisp morsels ejecting an oozy mass of cheese, potato and pork inside.

south melbourne market tour

For dessert I visited Pardon My French, a mobile creperie serving freshly made crepes. They source their ingredients from the market and being strawberry season I decided to deviate from my usual Nutella to add strawberries. A huge triangle of sweet crepe for $8. They’ll be setting up a permanent stall at the market once a site is finalised.

Even though Market Week is over for 2014 you can still join the same tour of South Melbourne Market every month. To Market To Market tours run on the third Saturday of every month and the next tour is tomorrow, Saturday 20 September. A ticket is $35 and includes a coffee, tastings and a market bag. Sign up or give a tour voucher to a food-loving friend or family.

South Melbourne Market tour, 322-326 Coventry St, South Melbourne

Market open Wed, Sat, Sun 8am-4pm, Fri 8am-5pm

To Market To Market every 3rd Saturday of the month 10am-11:30am

HOT: Paris to Provence Festival, Como House & Garden, Cnr Williams Road & Lechlade Avenue, South Yarra

Paris to Provence, Melbourne’s favourite festival celebrating all things French, is back in the bucolic surrounds of National Trust’s Como House this weekend.

There’s market stalls, music, food and festivities and the festival gets bigger and better every year (this is its third year). Here are my highlights:

Grab some charcuterie, cheese and a baguette for a picnic lunch from the large stall by Carlton favourite La Parisienne Pates. If you want a sit down meal you can also try the pop up restaurant by Chez Olivier but personally I think it’s better to make the most of the lush garden surrounds.

Go to La Tropezienne and try some of the best French pastries (as stocked at Monsieur Truffe and L’Atelier de Monsieur Truffe) and the best macarons in Melbourne.

Buy a  ceramic Christmas decorations from Durance, great as stocking stuffers or Kris Kringle for only $2.50. Also check out the homewares from Malmaison. Sadly their pocket advent calendar that I bought last year is no longer available but there is still lots of French provincial chic to drool over.

As the weather heats up cool down with a creamy ice-cream sandwich from Pat and Stick’s. The biscuits actually make this treat surprisingly mess-free given the wedge of melting ice-cream inside plus the ice cream itself is high quality. I am going to look for my nearest stockist!

Over the weekend there is a timetable of presentations about French life and French cooking demonstrations plus you can participate in games such as croissant throwing, escargot eating and Notre Dame 3D puzzle reconstructions.

If you can’t afford to go to France then head to Paris to Provence for a fun, foodie, Frenchy day out in the sun. Take a wad of cash with you (there is a NAB atm on site but it wasn’t working when I arrived), slather on some suncreen, bring a large bottle of water given the heat (otherwise you’ll need to buy it) and Bon appetit!

Paris to Provence, Como Houe & Garden, Cnr Williams Road & Lechlade Avenue, South Yarra

Friday 23 November 4.00pm – 8.30pm
Saturday 24 November 10.00am – 6.00pm
Sunday 25 November 10.00am – 4.00pm

Adults $15 online -$20 at the gate, Youth $5, Children under 12 Free

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HOT: Creperie Le Triskel, 32 Hardware Lane, Melbourne

Sometimes a simple lunch is all I need. Somewhere quiet for me to sit with a drink, something wheat-based to satisfy afternoon hunger pangs and a touch of sweetness at the end.

Creperie Le Triskel is a cute café serving traditional Brittany crepes in Hardware Lane. The outside tables are framed by falling Autumn leaves while the inside décor is a-jumble in a cosy kind of way, with small wooden tables and a windowside bench / makeshift French library with what looks like traveller’s hand-me-downs.

The café is staffed by cheery students who have laughing rambling conversations in French and French music plays in the background. Squint and you can almost imagine yourself in a student café in the cobblestoned Marais.

The menu is divided between galettes, buckwheat pancakes with savoury toppings, then crepes, wheat pancakes with sweet fillings. Actually there are also baguettes and sandwiches but my suggestion is when in a creperie, eat crepes.

The crepes are freshly made, meaning the Swiss Gruyere in my La Korikan galette had transformed into a cheesy molten lava in amongst the mushrooms, spinach and bechamel wrapped in the thin crepe ($11). It came with a neat side salad – fresh leaves dressed with olive oil and two slices of baguette.

I followed that with a French chestnut paste crepe ($4.50) which had a slightly thicker and chewier texture that I preferred.

While I stuck to tap water the drinks list includes French sirops (cordial), pear cider and wine as well as ‘le bol cafe au lait’ – a milky latte served in a bowl just like in France.

If Creperie Le Triskel doesn’t give you enough of Gallic hit, try the pastel sugar palace called La Belle Miette next door which sells the most French of sweets, macarons.

For more crepes in the CBD, try Roule Galette and Harajuku Crepes.

Creperie Le Triskel, 32 Hardware Lane, Melbourne +61 4 6640 6404

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Creperie le Triskel on Urbanspoon

HOT: Harajuku Crepes, Shop 148 Knox Place, Melbourne Central

Harajuku Crepes Shop 148 Knox Place Melbourne Central Swanston St Melbourne

I don’t know what’s going on with my crepe obsession lately, but Harajuku Crepes is my third crepe review in as many weeks.

To write this post I wanted to do some research about the differences between a French crepe (as made by Roule Galette and Breizoz) vs a Japanese crepe (as made by Harajuku Crepes). Unfortunately the interweb was unable to throw up a definitive answer on this one (surely I’m the first person to ask this question?) so please let me know if you have the answer. In the meantime here’s my view:

  • buckwheat flour vs refined white flour;
  • thin and almost crisp vs spongier texture; and
  • cooked fillings vs raw fillings.

It’s pretty hard to miss Harajuku Crepes if your sense of smell is working properly, as the sweet scent of cooking batter wafts from the alleyway over the top end of Swanston St. The teeny shop itself is candy-bright and just like the crepe stands I saw in Tokyo,  complete with a display of plastic savoury and sweet crepes featured on the extensive menu. They only thing missing was some blaring J-pop and giggling girls dressed up in cos-play.

I tried the ham, cheese and mushroom crepe ($7) which contained the very traditional crepe fillings plus some uniquely Japanese extras of canned corn, a frill of lettuce and a squirt of sweet Japanese mayonnaise. Oishii!

HOT: Roule Galette, Scott Alley, 241 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Roule Galette Scotts Alley 241 Flinders Lane Melbourne

Roule Galette Scotts Alley 241 Flinders Lane Melbourne

After my less than impressive crepe at Breizoz, I’m not quite sure why I decided to eat crepes again so soon. Maybe because I was at a loose end on a Tuesday night waiting for my film to start and Roule Galette seemed like a friendly little unpretentious cafe where I could read the paper and have a quick dinner.

Roule Galette Scotts Alley 241 Flinders Lane Melbourne

The menu of savoury and sweet buckwheat crepes caters to traditional crepe tastes. I decided to go for the Forestiere (mushrooms, bacon, cheese, bechamel) because the recipe came from the owner’s father. Michel used to eat  it with his other six brothers and sisters when he was growing up and I just have visions of them all sitting along a big wooden table laughing and eating in a row like the Von Trapp family. My crepe was made and delivered by a young chic Frenchman who skipped along to the music and chatted in rapid French to his equally young and chic friends who stopped by for their crepe fix.

The crepe was wonderfully filling, stuffed with a generous amount of gooey cheese and oozing bechamel. For $9.50, a great value meal. They do takeaway too!

If you like Japanese crepes instead, try Harajuku Crepes.

Update 11 September 2009: Met the jolly owner Michel last night and had a chat to him about his crepes. With much fingers-to-lips smacking, he told me that his personal crepe recommendations were the Monsieur K crepe (raclette and prosciutto) or the Saint Jacques (scallops). He also suggested that if you want to use chestnut puree in your crepes, buy Sabaton from The Essential Ingredient.

Roule Galette on Urbanspoon

NOT: Breizoz, cnr Gertrude and Brunswick St, Fitzroy

Breizoz, cnr Gertrude and Brunswick St Fitzroy

A little piece of Brittany can be found on Fitzroy in the form of Breizoz. This rustic, verging on twee creperie serves a large selection of sweet and savoury buckwheat crepes as well as specialising in French cider. The service was a little scatterbrained when I arrived on a rainy Saturday afternoon, but after I placed my order my merguez and tomato crepe ($11.50) arrived quickly with my non-alcoholic apple cider ($3).

While my crepe was perfectly cooked, Breizoz gets a NOT simply because I don’t think it represents value for money.  My fillings were toppings (correct me if this is the Breton way to serve crepes) and I literally received one emanciated sausage with a couple of tablespoons of spicy tomato sauce. If you’re the slightest bit hungry, I don’t think even two crepes would be enough, so a full meal with a drink could set you back anything from $20-$30.

I think you’ll find better crepes at Roule Galette and Harajuku Crepes.