01 Jan Torquay Farmers Market
TORQUAY FARMERS MARKET – 1 Merrijig Parade, TORQUAY
To market, to market…
Acount-the-sleeps till Saturday affair is the Surf Coast’s best of the best Torquay Farmers Market. Runs 8:30am–1:00pm on the fringe of the Surf Coast Shire Office precinct. You’ll spot the umbrellas from the Surf Coast Highway.
Arrive early if you want in on the best croissants this side of the Loire Valley, and eclectic selection of artisan breads. First stop, A Hidden Secret, second on the right — seriously. Lemon tarts — but be quick; vegan and vegetarian pastries, curry puffs, pasties, mushroom Wellington. Endless delights here. A Hidden Secret party food cater, as do André’s Macarons and Beignets. Try the green apple, salted caramel, vanilla custard, chocolate, Nutella, and mixed berry beignets. Be done with it, and grab a box selection. You can brush up on your French conversation with André while you decide.
If by chance these exquisite baby donuts make it home from market, heat them for a minute or two in a standard oven, or 20 seconds in the microwave, sprinkle with icing sugar — et voila! And they say a party’s not a party if the only thing your guests talk about is the food…Well, that’s just silly.
Check L’Artisan Cheese — www.lartisancheese.com.au. Le Rouge is a favourite; Mountain Man a quirky second. On the cheese thing — you’ll find some pretty spectacular award-winning goat cheese from Moriac Farmstead Dairy close to L’Artisan – handmade and ethically produced. Look for the stall displaying pictures of Moriac Farmstead Dairy’s adorable pet goats. Soft goat spreads are dreamy creamy. Eva’s Fromages and Legumes apples are the real Garden of Eden variety. Yep, this is how apples are supposed to smell, bursting with apple blossom perfumery – the perfect compliment to Moriac’s goat cheese selection, and L’Artisan.
Fromages and Legumes blueberries are the size of cherries, and bursting with an indescribable blueberry fairy magic. And no, you’re not in Provence. Although the fare on offer at this little market can trick you into believing you just may be. A stop at Felix the Van’s retro wooden café caravan stokes the illusion. Ocean Grind coffee is the go here. And for something completely different – you can book Felix and his rig for parties and special events.
Look out for the Flatironed New York styled food van. Nick and his team rock and rumble the Cowrie Market and the NightJar Festival – so bring it, and join the fan club. Flatironed is ‘kind of a big deal’ in and about the Surf Coast, so keep your eye out for the silver streak!
Grab a treat from Annette’s Kitchen. Annette is something of a legend in the cake, biscuit, slice and cookie department. Her display is beautiful and there’s always something new to dig into on the choice list.
If you’re a muesli buff, Monica’s Toasted Muesli is out of this world. Monica also does an authentic biscotti – well worth the crunch.
You’ll never again eat store-bought eggs after cracking heads with David the Egg Man. These googies are jurassic-gigantic, googy-egg brown, spotted and feathered, and the colour of Surf Coast sun when cracked. Chooks are local rangers, too.
I’m pretty certain all the veggies here are grown on Venus — loved up and funky fresh. Grab some purple carrots, parsnips and swede, toss in a generous sloshing of local olive oil — available at market — throw in some sage, rosemary and rock salt, bake to a crunch and top with — you guessed it —more goat cheese. Suggested viewing post-market, French Kiss.
Over the French thing? Try the on-the-spot wok-fried Taste of Tibet Nepalese spring rolls — vegetarian, duck, pulled pork, chicken — stuffed with spiced-up vermicelli. Game up, and dive into the homemade chilli sauce here.
You’ll encounter an abundance of raw sweet delicacies, honey, condiments, oils and kasundis. Buy your flowers from the veggie people — just beautiful. Take your best and biggest market basket. If you forget, there are bags for the taking on an honour basis. Return next visit; but no-one holds you to it if you forget.
There’s a little ATM booth, more often than not. Only time this was missing in action was when the Cats were on at Kardinia Park.
Take your tools and knives to be sharpened once every three weeks — mostly. Mr Sharp is the ER chef’s knife doctor, and sure knows what’s what when it comes to sharpening pretty much anything. You’ll find the Ravens Creek Farm farmer here, too — 2014 Weekly Times Farm Magazine Outstanding Farmer of the Year — www.ravenscreekfarm.com.au. Ravens Creek Farm is – seriously – worth a visit. The chemical-free berry orchard is a pick-your-own affair where you’ll find youngberries, silvanberries, boysenberries, loganberries, blackberries and raspberries in plentiful supply in a unique farm property setting. There’s a superb range of Ravens Creek Farm grass-fed meats, condiments, terrines and patés at the Torquay Farmers Market, too.
Moorish is up there with my favourite kasundi and spice stop. And Soul Strength Ferments do the best kimchi I’ve tried anywhere on the Surf Coast and about the Bellarine Peninsula.
Try Otway Prime – Otway Ranges lamb and beef — next to A Hidden Secret. Sausages have to be eaten within two days of purchase, as no preservatives in these bangers — a right match for Le Saucisson de Lyon.
Oh, and don’t forget Fido. Dogs welcome. Dinosaur bones and doggie treats aplenty.
These are a few of my favourite things…
A HIDDEN SECRET
ANDRE’S MACARONS AND BEIGNETS
MANZANILLO GROVE OLIVES AND OIL
MAUNUKO RAW SWEETS AND TREATS
MOORISH PRESERVES AND SPICES
FROMAGES AND LEGUMES
L’ARTISAN ORGANIC CHEESE TIMBOON
SOUL STRENGTH FERMENTS
MONICA’S HOME MADE TOASTED MUESLI AND BISCOTTI