A Food & Travel Blog

Food Tours – Adelaide’s Central Market Tour

09/02/2015 | By

Mark Gleeson of Central Market Tours (image by Grant Nowell)

Mark Gleeson of Central Market Tours (image by Grant Nowell)

I’ve been hanging around food markets for more years than I care to think about. Wherever I travel, I make it a point to check out the local fresh food markets and I do food tours wherever possible as I believe they are the quickest way to get to know any local food scene. In this blog I’ve written about fabulous fresh markets and food tours from Rome to Istanbul, Vietnam to Montreal and plenty more besides, but quite recently it struck me that I’d never actually done a formal tour of the market I am most familiar with and most fond of – our own Adelaide Central Market.

Central Market Tours - A market institution, Lucia's.

Central Market Tours – A market institution, Lucia’s.

Central Market Tours - Lucia's daughter, Nicki

Central Market Tours – Lucia’s daughter, Nicki

 

Central Market Tours - Lucia's homemade fresh pasta.

Central Market Tours – Lucia’s homemade fresh pasta.

Somebody once said that “nothing is wonderful when you get used to it”, but I’d have to disagree. I’ve been a regular at Adelaide Central Market for all of my life and appreciate it more on every visit, but perhaps because of that familiarity it hadn’t occurred to me to take one of the most popular tours in Adelaide, Mark Gleeson’s Central Market Tour. Mark’s famous tours are frequently the first port of call for international chefs, food media types and food tragics from all around the world, so I thought it was high time I had a look at my market from the tourists point of view.

Central Market Tours - Mario's homegrown plums.

Central Market Tours – Mario’s homegrown plums.

Central Market Tours - fresh Adelaide Hills produce

Central Market Tours – Greenside fresh Adelaide Hills produce

Central Market Tours are a multi-award winning walking, interactive food experience where the participants get to meet a selection of the market stall holders, learn a little about their story and and sample their wares. Adelaide Central market is a melting pot of food traditions – a mix that takes in many ethnic cuisines, as well as various culinary cultures –  and the tours take in as much of the market’s culinary background as possible. Guests will be introduced to some of the Market’s longest-standing stallholders, whose own history is part of the history of Adelaide, as well as some of the more recent residents who bring newer layers to our growing reputation as a food centre.

Central Market Tours - Stephan of Central Organic

Central Market Tours – Stephan of Central Organic

Central Market Tours - Every fresh Central Organic variety is labelled with full details of accreditation and provenance.

Central Market Tours – Every fresh Central Organic variety is labelled with full details of accreditation and provenance.

Tour guests will get to know the story behind Lucia’s, an Adelaide institution and the birthplace of pizza in our town. They’ll meet Mario, the owner of Greenside fruit and vegetable stall. A Market stalwart, Mario runs the stall himself and has done so for close to 40 years. He grows quite a bit of the produce on his Adelaide Hills property and when his trees prove too prolific, he dries the fruit to on-sell, thus reducing food waste.

Central Market Tours - Maple, from the House of Health and her version of a dairy free, gluten-free Golden Gaytime. Tastes just like the real thing!

Central Market Tours – Maple, from the House of Health and her version of a dairy free, gluten-free Golden Gaytime. Tastes just like the real thing!

Central Market Tours - more of Maple's wickedly tempting 'everything-free' treats at the House of Health.

Central Market Tours – more of Maple’s wickedly tempting ‘everything-free’ treats at the House of Health.

Have a chat with Stephan of Central Organic, who have been providing true organic produce in the market for over 30 years, specialising in “Certified Organic” produce, or grab some of the  truly delicious raw, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, added sugar-free treats from the House of Health. Of course, they also stock a full range of health foods, vitamins,  bulk grains and nuts, honey, olive oils, pasta etc, but all I had eyes for were the stunningly wicked looking creations from the kitchen of their clever staff member, Maple.

Central Market Tours - Sumi of Sunmi's Sushi, home of the best vegetable and herb pancake in town.

Central Market Tours – Sunmi of Sunmi’s Sushi, home of the best vegetable and herb pancake in town.

Central Market Tours - Sevenhill Fine Foods

Central Market Tours – Sevenhill Fine Foods

Our tour included a visit to Sunmi’s Sushi, one of my favourite lunch spots. An ex-pat Korean ex-Olympic athlete (bet you didn’t know that!) Sunmi makes a simple and delicious vegetable and herb pancake that I’ve yet to taste the better of and has become a much loved part of the Adelaide Central Market story. Around the corner from her is the new home of Sevenhill Fine Foods who stock an extensive range of German and Dutch products. Here you can taste and learn about Adelaide’s San Jose Smallgoods whose range of hand-made, artisan chorizo, salami, proscuoitto and jamon have been taking out awards all over Australia.

Central Market Tours - fabulous Island Pure sheep milk cheeses at Proudly Kangaroo Island.

Central Market Tours – fabulous Island Pure sheep milk cheeses at Proudly Kangaroo Island.

Tourists who have only limited time will be thrilled to find Proudly Kangaroo Island, a new stall which allows them to shop for produce from an entire region. This stall features a range from 25 Kangaroo Island producers – a region renowned for exceptional food products from a pristine environment.

Central Market Tours have a diverse range of tours available, all of which are escorted by experienced guides who are Market experts and you can book a tour for as few as two people. The stalls visited will vary from tour to tour, but what will not vary is the passion and warmth of both the guides and stallholders and the chance to get a genuine feel for the culinary heart of our town – Adelaide Central Market.

This tour was independently paid for.

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  1. Lizzy (Good Things)
    09/02/2015

    Swoon…. to me, Central Market is heaven on earth… absolutely heaven on earth, which is why you had to call after me to hurry up! A lovely post, Amanda… and how lucky Adelaide is to have such a wonderful market!

  2. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    09/02/2015

    I’ve only been to the Adelaide Central Market a few times but what a wonderful place it is. It’s the only place I’ve ever sat down to have a sandwich and some old lady came up and in a very foreign accent told me not to eat it because I was too fat. 🙂

  3. Anna @ shenANNAgans
    09/02/2015

    That Golden Gaytime looks phenomenal. 🙂
    Love your markets, my Uncle is in Radelaide and is constantly raving about the awesome foodie scene down your way. Will have to make time for a visit.
    Hope you are well and had a great weekend. 🙂

  4. Hotly Spiced
    09/02/2015

    It really is a great place to be and I’d love to try one of those GF, DF Gaytimes – my most favourite ice cream xx

  5. Kris Lloyd
    09/02/2015

    Fabulous Mandy …and Mark even scrubbed up well!

  6. Leanne
    10/02/2015

    I’ve had the Happy Maple by Happy Wholefoods vegan sweets from House of Health before… they are amaaaaaazing!! And yes, the vegan, GF Gaytime is to-die-for…

  7. Maple
    10/02/2015

    So great to read your piece Amanda – loved how you captured the vibrant colour & whimsy of the markets. And so glad to have shared sweet treats with you … thank you for the mention & please come back any time to enjoy more vegan, gluten free goodies!! Maple xx

  8. Dianne Jacob
    11/02/2015

    Thanks Amanda. Brings back memories of my phenomenal trip to the market, thanks to you. I did go on a tour, but not sure if it was the same people. What the heck is a golden gaytime?

  9. Amanda
    11/02/2015

    It’s a popular honey flavoured, choc covered, ice cream here in Oz, Dianne.

  10. InTolerant Chef
    11/02/2015

    This had got to be the best markets I’ve ever been to, your so lucky to have them so close to you! So many goodies – I’m a wee bit jealous 🙂 xo

  11. Grant Nowell
    17/02/2015

    Amanda, great yarn, I’m at the market almost every day and I discovered some things I didn’t know thru you story. We are blessed having this treasure in Adelaide and great blokes like Mark and his tours