When Matteo and Fiona Carboni moved their Barossa Farmers Market stall to a permanent site (just a two-minute drive) down the road, they didn’t stray far from their roots.

The Italian-born chef and his wife Fiona, a former wine export manager, are the owner-operators of Casa Carboni – an Italian cooking school, pasta diner, wine bar and retail space in Angaston. It opened in late 2012, but the Carbonis still keep close ties with their market suppliers. “We created this network that we still work with now,” says Matteo. “A lot of them morphed into friendships,” adds Fiona.

The market’s produce still determines the day’s dishes. “My recipes, my classes are designed that way,” Matteo says “It’s not one recipe, and if you don’t have all the ingredients, you’re done. Fresh pasta [calls for] eggs and flour. Simple. Other things, in terms of sauce, or side dishes, or fillings, if you don’t find something, there’s always something else.”

That “simple” combination of eggs and flour saw Matteo charged with the pasta course at Marco Pierre White’s Tasting Australia dinner at Fino Seppeltsfield in May.

Yes, buying sustainably grown and sourced market produce is environmentally conscious. And it supports local business. But the real upshot for Matteo is flavour. “I tell people, ‘tomato tastes like tomato, potato tastes like potato’,” says Matteo. “It doesn’t sound like anything special, but go and buy a tomato or potato at the supermarket, you know?”

“Some of the [market] store-holders are certified organic,” he says. “But I’m not looking for the piece of paper; I’m looking for flavour.” It’s not hard to find.

Operating every Saturday, the market specialises in produce (though there’s ready-to-eat breakfast and a single coffee stall) sourced primarily from small-scale home-growers in the area. There’s fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs, meat, and non-perishables like jam, oil and vinegar. For any produce that can’t be found in the Barossa, food miles are kept as small as possible. The citrus is grown in the Riverland.

It’s a “supermarket for the locals”, says Fiona, but passers-by also come in droves. “The market’s supposed to open at 7.30am,” says Matteo. “When it’s quarter-past, it looks like you’re about to get into a concert.”

The Angaston locals do their own home shopping at the market, too. Like Casa Carboni their actual home is walking distance.

Matteo’s cooking classes are usually reserved for Saturdays. The morning begins for you right where it began for the Carbonis – at the market. Matteo runs through its history and what’s available. While he scours the stalls, creating the day’s menu – and buying the necessary ingredients – as he goes, you’re encouraged to browse.

“I don’t take [the class] around because it’s like having kids,” he laughs, “in the way that everyone has different interests.” Whatever you buy for yourself can be refrigerated during the class.

Cooking classes run from 9am to 2pm on Saturdays, after the market visit. You’ll learn four recipes: an entree; fresh pasta; gnocchi or risotto (depending on the season); and a dessert. A four-course lunch of what you’ve made follows, with a glass of European wine (literally) handpicked by Matteo and Fiona on their travels. There’s a dedicated pasta masterclass once a month.

Casa Carboni
67 Murray Street, Angaston
Thurs 9am–3pm
Fri 9am–3pm, 6pm–10pm
Sat to Sun 9am–3pm

Barossa Farmers Market
Corner Stockwell and Nuriootpa roads, Angaston
Sat 7.30am–11.30am

casacarboni.com.au
barossafarmersmarket.com.au