Melbourne – Queen Victoria Markets

I always get so excited about going to markets. I envisage discovering all sorts of unique merchandise. Handmade clothing, one-off jewellery pieces and shoes that none of my friends will ever find a copy of to add to my bulging wardrobe.  And I expect it all to be so cheap that I won’t even have to make a return trip to the ATM.   But it never happens that way.  The stalls are always row after row of cheap t-shirts, breakable plastic toys and clothing that is certainly distinctive, but not in the way I’d pictured. This is exactly what I found at the Queen Victoria Markets.  That is until I found the Deli Hall.

The Deli Hall is like the antipasto platter of your dreams. It was hard to know where to start. But when in doubt my motto is head for the cheese.  Among the countless varieties of cheese available were fresh hand-made pastas, so many cured meats hanging above the counters that it was difficult to see the staff and selections of platter favourites like stuffed mushrooms, dolmades and roasted capsicum rolls stuffed with yet more cheese.  
The Deli Hall was a relatively late addition to the market complex, built in 1927. It still retains its art deco design features however I imagine that with the influx of differing cultural groups since its construction the selection has evolved somewhat.

Thankfully 50% of the space at the market is dedicated to food because it’s what it does best. There are 80 fruiters selling their produce as well as butchers, fish mongers and a poultry section.  There is also an organics section where not only fruit and vegetables are available but also wines and preserves. The market has a commitment to environmental causes. Remember to bring some bags or hire a trolley because the meat and deli section has been plastic bag free for the past year and there are plans to extend this commitment to other areas of the market.  
The market was established in 1876 on the north western side of the city of Melbourne. The current façade was built in 1884.  It was built on land that had previously housed Melbourne’s first cemetery with 10,000 early settlers buried there.  Among those buried in this location was John Batman, a founder of the city of Melbourne.  Some, but not all of the bodies were exhumed in 1917 when the market was extended and moved to other cemeteries in greater Melbourne. But many bodies still lie under the car park.
I left the market with marinated goat’s feta, homemade vegetarian cabbage rolls and smoked salmon.  But it wasn’t only food that I bought.  Somehow despite the abdominal clothing range I did still managed to find a dress to buy…

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