If you want to experience the authentic taste of a region, check out the local market. Some of my favourites include several farmers’ markets — Whangarei, Matakana, Havelock North, Nelson and Blenheim — and the Auckland Fish Market. A recent visit to the Adelaide Central Market really had my taste buds tingling.
Adelaide lays claim to more places to dine out per head of population than any other city in Australia, so what better introduction to this foodie Mecca than an hour or so exploring its iconic market. Established in 1869 and covering one-and-a quarter hectares, the 80-shop Adelaide Central Market is the gastronomic pantry for South Australia’s produce, a pot-pourri of 48 different cultures. And the best way to gain insights and get to know the locals is to spend time with Mark Gleeson who runs two-hour market tours — he has a story for every delight you sample.
“Many of the stores are run by third generation families. Lucia’s Pizza and Spaghetti Bar opened in 1957 and was the first store selling pizzas and pasta in Adelaide. Customers loved their pasta sauces and this led to the commercial manufacture of Lucia's Quick (tomato-based) Sauce. They purchased the store next door to establish Lucia’s Fine Foods.”
At O’Connell Meats, 70 lambs had been butchered the morning we visited, in just one and a half hours. The smoke house was chockfull of salt-free pork hocks and ribs being treated in aromatic beechwood smoke.
We also enjoyed tastes of some of the 300 international cheeses at the 'Smelly Cheese' shop then finished with the tea of the day — black tea with cornflower buds — just one of the 150 varieties at the T-bar.
An inspiration for home cooks, the Adelaide Central Market is hard to beat.
Mark Gleeson Profile
There are few Market characters so well known and respected as Mark Gleeson of the Providore in the Adelaide Central Market. With over 25 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, Mark’s knowledge of South Australian quality food is second to none.
Mark’s passion and experience are in high quality gourmet produce. Through The Providore and award-winning Grange Jetty Kiosk Restaurant, both of which he co-owns, Mark uses his vast knowledge of South Australia’s produce to expose locals and tourists to the finest food and wine that the State has to offer.