21 June 2009

A Visit to the City Market

I had no excuse not to go, really. Deadlines, due dates, and overall busy craziness have all but halted my usual hedonistic pattern of eating out whenever E and I are too lazy to cook, too tired to do the dishes, or just want to try something new. In fact, all I could really muster for nearly 2 weeks in a row was either toast and jam or Artisano's "The Godfather" Minestrone (quite an acceptable substitute for homemade, by the way). And when the City Market opened up last Sunday, I was too busy to go check it out on its opening day.

But I really had no excuse - after all, I only live 5 minutes' walk away, I was already at the outdoor markets in the Te Papa parking lot (buying/tasting delicious sausages, veges, pizza by the slice, macadamia nut butter - oh my God...). So ever since I got home that day I was kicking myself for not going, and waiting impatiently for this Sunday to roll around.

Well, it was fantastic. Held in the sunlit Chaffers Dock Atrium, next to Herd St Brasserie and the Movenpick stall, there are a select group of vendors selling all sorts of speciality goods: from pâté to sourdough loaves to free range eggs and cheese. I didn't get to try everything (and ran out of cash before I could go nuts and blow all my savings on gourmet products) but here is just a small selection of what was there:

The lovely stallholders from Horowhenua Produce had on display a gorgeous array of fresh veg. I got a flawless-looking head of broccoli which I'm very excited to cook up this week! Their stand was so beautifully laid out that I couldn't resist taking heaps of photos:

Just recently there was an item in the news about a Navy captain who banned brussels sprouts from his boat. Now I'm not a fan of brussels sprouts myself, but the ones above actually make me want to buy them - so plump and green and... healthy-looking? Hmm. I digress...

And those carrots - so knobbly and quaint. Okay, I'm going a little too gaga over veggies.

I've never been to Le Marché Français in Thorndon, but they had an impeccably presented selection of French cheeses

I usually am a big fan of NZ cheeses - something in the "Buy NZ Made" campaigns or locavorism must have gotten to me - but these were great quality AND surprisingly inexpensive too! I came back for a second tasting (whoops, hope they didn't notice me sneaking around twice) and ended up taking home a quarter of the soft, gooey, Brie-like Coulommier. Only $6 - a bargain!

Okay, here is another one that I am just raving about still: Loukoumi Turkish Delights. Now, I'm not a regular eater of these gelatinous sweets but look at how many flavours - !!!

There were so many - from the traditional rose flavour to lime, grapefruit, honey & fig, hazelnut - oh my!! It was really delightful and I'm happy to report that they had little 4-piece baggies for sale, at only $2 a bag. I really love when vendors do this, as I won't buy a larger box (unless for a gift) as I usually don't have the willpower not to eat the whole thing in one go, and it makes the coin go so much further when you're buying more from different stalls, albeit in smaller portions. Go the small sizes! End of rant.

We got a one of those rustic-looking sourdough loaves (bottom right corner) and a couple of mini baguettes from The French Baker. (by the way, I was loving the number of French people out and about today - was it because of the rugby last night?)

I usually buy my jam from the outdoor markets next door, but there were several jam-makers sampling their wares which made me happy... I picked up a jar of Martinborough Manner's Raspberry and Citrus Jam to take to my grandma.

There was a lot more that we tried that I didn't take photos of - Tuatara beers were being sampled - they have a new lager called Helles (so new it's not even up on their website!) which I really enjoyed, more than the Pilsener, I think - though whether it will replace the extra-strength Ardennes as my favourite is yet to be seen. And there was olive oil, lemon curd, terrines and smoked salmon pâté and a spectacular-looking fish and oyster display.

I topped it off with a spiced tarakihi wrap from Martin Bosley's stand - there was a table set up where they were dishing up this fresh, juicy fish, lightly spiced, with yoghurt and cucumber dressing and a bit of fresh greens, wrapped in corn tortillas. I was thrilled to get this as I've never been to Martin Bosley's restaurant and had heard that he was one of the driving forces behind this new market.

Yup - it was pretty darn good... though the corn tortilla did fall apart a bit at the end. I would have maybe preferred a bit more spice, but the flavour of the fish itself really shone through. A fitting end to a gastronomic Sunday morning.

(kudos to those who scrolled down this far. I promise to keep my posts shorter and sweeter in coming days but was so excited by this morning's shop. Oh, and there are expected to be new vendors at the market each week, so this may not be the last post! --millie)

City Market: Highly recommended (especially pre- or post-outdoor markets near Te Papa)

Chaffers Dock Atrium (the ground floor of that big tall building right by Waitangi Park)
1 Herd St
Every Sunday Morning


Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos

Anonymous said...

Over the moon you had a great visit - love your comments. The Market is fast becoming part of the Wellington food scene AND you'll be glad to know that Le Marche Francais have gone out of their way to find local cheeses to compliment the French ones - Kingsmead (Wairarapa) and Cwymlyn Farm (Ekatahuna).

Loving being there Sundays.

millie mirepoix said...

Thanks for the comment - definitely loved the Market. Will have to visit this Sunday to check out the local cheeses on offer, thanks for the tip!