With supermarkets on every corner, it’s easy to forget that Melbourne is home to a multitude of thriving local food markets.
In an annual initiative by Markets of Melbourne, a collective of four of the oldest and most iconic markets, Melbourne Market Week kicks off tomorrow to celebrate the food, culture and commerce generated by these community hubs of activity and trade.
Running from September 7 to 15, the Queen Victoria Market, South Melbourne Market, Prahran Market and Dandenong Market will be hosting a series of activities, including classes, giveaways, free tastings and tours.
Ahead of Melbourne Market Week, we take a look into the history of each market as well as some of the best picks from the upcoming festivities.
The Queen Victoria Market
By virtue of its size and location, the Queen Vic is certainly the most famous of Melbourne’s markets. The sprawling site is recognised by the National Trust, with the Deli Hall in particular standing proudly as a homage the art deco era. Having once been a cemetery and livestock market, today’s focus is mostly on food. For Market Week, you’d be foolish to miss the Great American Doughnut Giveaway (September 14) or if you’d rather compete for baked goods, try the Spanish Churros Eating Competition (September 15). For fashion, our pick is the Market Insider Fashion tour (September 7) led by blogger Melbourne Girl.
South Melbourne Market
Opened in 1867, the South Melbourne Market takes the crown of Australia’s oldest continually running market. Today, it’s known for its diverse and specialised offerings spanning from specialty coffee and organic meats to fresh vegetables and deli goods. The South Melbourne Dim Sim in particular has gained a cult status that will be celebrated in the Great Dim Sim Giveaway (September 13), while a cooking class in Knife Handling Essentials (BYO knife) will teach you how best to slice and dice ingredients (September 12). For the kids, the Bike n Blend (September 11) will allow participants to create their own smoothies using pedal power.
Following its first incarnation in Greville Street, the current Commercial Road location of the Prahran Market opened in 1891 following the Gold Rush population boom. Over the decades, renovations have transformed the site into the culinary haven it has become today. Professional and novice chefs alike will enjoy offerings including a chocolate master class by Cioccolato Lombardo (September 8) and a Harvest Cooking Demonstration featuring seasonal produce (September 12).
Joining the Market Week collective for the first time, the Dandenong Market is renowned for its cultural diversity. Opened in 1866, the market in Melbourne’s southeast houses a melting pot of stalls and cuisines. Culinary borders blur when you pass each stall, with Afghani and Brazilian fare sitting beside offerings from Malaysia and Iran. Free samples will be in abundance during the week, with highlights including daily Tastes of the Market, featuring Turkish Treats, South Asia Snacks and Indian Street Food.
For the full Market Week schedule visit Markets of Melbourne.