Turns out I have a bit of a sixth sense for markets. Both the accommodation I chose in Hobart and Launceston turned out to be literally around the corner from a weekly market – something I only realised after I had checked in. By the end of my 10 day trip, I had hit up 4 of the biggest markets in the state, even going as far as to get up early so I could squeeze the trip in before my planned activities for the day. And if you know me and how much I love to sleep in, this is a huge deal.
Highlights: Farm Gate Market. Basically Salamanca for people who only care about food.
Hobart, TAS 7001
Hours: Saturdays 8:30am – 3pm
Salamanca Market is the market to end all markets. With over 300 stalls, it really does have it all – beautiful location, immaculate vibes, and huge range of stalls specialising in anything and everything you can expect to see at a market, and there’s almost no junky touristy crap in the mix. It also has hella crowds, so make sure you either get there super early, or be ready to take your time. But there’s plenty to see and eat, so there’s really no harm in whiling away most of your Saturday there.
Food-wise, there is so much on offer. Aside from the fresh fruit and vegetables, there’s also plenty of artisanal produce to stock the pantry with. The Copper Pot does a delicious range of roasted nuts that utilize native Australian ingredients, whilst the jerky at Tassie Tucker made for a delicious protein-filled snack on our many hikes. Grab some freshly squeezed apple juice – made from apples that came off the tree the very same morning – and enjoy its impossible sweetness and notes of honey and florals. Speaking of the very same morning, the Spiky Bridge Peanut Butter is in the jar for barely 12 hours before it goes on sale, and is extra fluffy and flavoursome for it. But my pick of the day? The amazing Tasmania Nougat that is unlike any other nougat I’ve had before, and definitely the most delicious. My biggest regret is only buying one pack; I tried to track them down later on, but they don’t have an internet presence, phone number, or even an address. Guess it was never meant to be. Sorry I ate so many of your samples.
Apparently scallop pies are a Tasmanian thing, so of course I had to try it at least once. Smith’s Specialty Pies is a good place to start. Their award-winning Scallop Pie ($9) is filled with 4 (5?) huge scallops, roe still attached, in a silky velouté sauce spiked with curry powder that’s just mild enough to let the sweetness of the seafood shine through. It shouldn’t work, but it does, and it’s a very impressive balancing act indeed.
Also grab yourself a hot pocket of delight, aka a Pino Empanada ($8.5) from Cantina Latina. Filled with a lovely beef stew that comes with the surprising addition of raisins and olives, its only downside is that it’s rather small. Don’t forget to say yes yes yes to hot sauce!
And who can say no to a good old fashioned snag Pork Bratwurst ($8)? If my memory serves me rightly, this isn’t as good as what you get at Queen Vic Market, but it’s pretty solid, especially when it comes with your choice of toppings and sauces, and eaten outside on a crisp and sunny Hobart morning.
Farm Gate Market
104 Bathurst St
Hobart, TAS 7000
Hours: Sundays 8:30am – 1:00pm
Salamanca may be the poster child market for Hobart, but if you ask me, Farm Gate Market is actually my favourite. If you go to markets first and foremost for things you can eat, then Farmy is the one for you. Everything here is from Tasmanian soil, sold by the producer themselves, and you have to be able to eat it, drink it, or grow it to be allowed to sell it – it’s all in the market’s official rules! You could easily do your weekly shop here (and many people do); in addition to the usual breads and produce and preserves, there’s also fresh pasta, eggs, dairy, meats, and even a stand dedicated to soy-based products.
But that’s not all. If you’re out to treat yourself, there’s also a fair selection of small-batch spirits, specialty cheeses, cured meats, and of course, a dazzling array of pastries and baked goods. It really is rather impressive the range they have here; cut out the packaged processed foods, and this place is as well stocked as any supermarket.
Just in case that’s still not enough food, Farmy also features 10 rotating food stalls each week, and they are unexpectedly varied. On the week I visited, Sri Lankan hoppers rubbed shoulders with American BBQ, whilst burritos were sold alongside bao and congee. It was impressively diverse, especially for such a small market.
If you spy Rough Rice, and it happens to be a crisp morning (though let’s be honest – it’s almost always a crisp morning in Hobart), then their Congee and Friends ($15) is an absolute must-order, because it is nothing short of amazing. The gently spiced congee was made with brown rice rather than the traditional white, making for a hearty, savoury start that warms you from the inside out. The standard option comes with an assortment of toppings, but for an extra few dollars, you can get it with eggs and greens and lentils too. Impressively, all the garnishes are made in-house, including an amazing chilli relish, as well as a quirky blueberry pickle. It is a super wholesome and delicious option for brunch, and I would highly recommend getting it if the chance comes up.
Now, onto the other goodies. The display at Baker and Co is so mesmerising I walked by about 7 times before making up my mind; I’m pretty sure the poor store owner thought I was up to something dodgy by the 4th or 5th time. The range of pastries here is truly inspiring, and many of which I have never come across before. For example, the Chai Apricot Bread and Butter Pudding ($8). Not quite bread, not quite cake, this is like a spiced fruit loaf, interspersed with custard, buttery chunks. It’s very different, and very very good. The Antipasto Tart ($9) was also delicious; it’s a fun take on your usual quiche, stuffed full of feta and olives and pesto and best of all, caramelised onions. It’s basically a picnic you can eat with one hand.
The main reason I was at the market was actually to pick up supplies for our daytrip to Port Arthur, though unsurprisingly I got pretty distracted. But if you’re looking for solid lunchy items, then Trouble Bakers is a good place to start. The Sourdough Baguette ($5) is pretty much what you’d expect, but the Jalapeño Tomato Cheese Focaccia ($4) is definitely a step up from the usual, with its dense, moist crumb and generous toppings. Similarly, the Sourdough Veggie Pizza ($6.5) was about as close to fresh pizza as it gets, the chewy base topped with a garden of ingredients.
Once I laid eyes on the display at Trophy Donuts, I knew I couldn’t leave without trying them. The Vanilla Creme Brulee ($6.5) was amazing. Thick vanilla custard, light bun, and a thick, golden, crunchy layer of caramelised sugar. It’s everything it promises to be, which as I’ve learned, is no easy feat. I also grabbed the Brown Butter Hazelnut ($6.5). I’m not sure where the brown butter comes into this, but the iced donut topped with crushed hazelnuts were good enough for me. And what goes with doughnuts? Milk of course! Specifically Organic Full Cream Milk ($2.5, 250mL) from Elgaar. This is what milk is meant to be. Creamy and slightly sweet, this could almost pass for dessert. And they even have a system where you’re encouraged to bring old glass bottles back – how quaint and eco-friendly!
71 Cimitiere St
Launceston, TAS 7250
Hours: Saturdays 8:30am – 12:30pm
If you’re heading up north Lonnie-way, then Harvest Market is the one to check out. A bit more produce-driven with slightly fewer treats compared to Farm Gate, this is a good halfway market that’s both practical and fun. There’s also a great range of local gourmet produce, such as ginseng, smoked salmon, and gourmet mushrooms – just to name a few. Dining options are a little more limited, but what’s there is still quite good, and has quite a heavy Asian influence. A highlight is the live music; the morning I was there, they had a man playing jaunty tunes on his fiddle. Not violin – fiddle.
I picked up some Mollies Delicious ($5/kg) apples because apparently it’s not good to eat nothing but cheese at wine bars every night or something. And I’ll be damned if this isn’t the best apple I’ve ever had. It was promised to us to be crisp, sweet, and juicy with a lovely aftertaste, and it was all that and more. You really need to taste it to believe it.
To eat, don’t go past the Wanderlust van and their Hash Brown Bowl ($13). Think crispy potato chunks, topped with an unexpectedly healthful combination of mushrooms, hummus, spinach, chickpeas, and relish. It’s everything you could hope for in a breakfast bowl – filling, nourishing, flavoursome, and just that little bit indulgent. Stick this on a café menu in a major city for $21 and it’ll have a cult following for sure.
I also indulged in some freshly made hotteok from Seoul Food. These may not be the thin, crispy variety you find on the streets of Korea, but the Sweet Hotteok ($7), with its piping hot centre of brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts was still great to have on a cold morning, especially when you have just watched it being pressed on the hotplate. I also ran into them the next day at Evandale Market (more on that in a mo), and when they found out we were on our honeymoon, threw in a free Pork and Veggie Hotteok ($7) along with our Kimchi Hotteok ($7) – what sweethearts!
As usual, I was also at the market for supplies, this time for our trip to Cradle Mountain – hence the absurdly scenic photos of the food. We grabbed a delightfully dense and sour Country Half Loaf ($6) from Sweetwheat, as well as a baked Pretzel ($4.5) carrying that distinct flavour in its chewy, dark brown crust. And to top it off, a Canelé ($4.5) so well-made that the outside was almost toffee-like in flavour and texture, whilst the centre wobbled like custard.
And from savoury pastry extraordinaire, Takin’ It Home, there was a Proper Pork Pie ($12) in all its British Glory. The dense, hot water crust was wrapped around a fist-sized hunk of even denser pork, complete with cold meat jelly. It’s so authentic that it frankly made me want to chuck on a straw hat and toil in the fields, 17th century serf-style.
The pork pie was so filling we didn’t end up having space for Dave’s Pasty ($7.5) during our hike, and thus ended up eating it in the hotel room for an early dinner. But don’t worry – it tasted as good as this photo is bad. The classic mixture of beef, carrots, onions, swede, and potatoes was satisfyingly savoury with a hearty pepperiness, but it wasn’t nearly as heavy as the pork pie, and I enjoyed it more for it.
8 Logan Road
Evandale, TAS 7212
Hours: Sundays 8:00am – 1:30pm
Evandale Market is your quintessential small-town Sunday market. A cross between a farmers market and a garage sale, it is an absolute enormous sprawl of everything you can possibly think of, useful or otherwise. It’s not quite as captivating as some of the other markets, as this one seems to be a bit more practical in nature, but there is still more than enough to see and do, not to mention things you won’t see anywhere else. My favourite thing about Evandale Market would be how hyper-local it is; in addition to whatever the stall might be selling, you’ll often see a loaf of two of home-made banana bread, or a jar or two of pickles on sale as well. It really doesn’t get more local than that.
Like all markets, there is of course produce-galore, plus a good selection of treats.
As for everything else, it ranges from the quaint…
… to the quirky…
… to the downright bizarre. Though I will admit I was just a little tempted by the asbestos sign.
They even had pony rides, chickens and ducks for sale, and a real-life bard, complete with wooden clogs!
Food-wise, it is admittedly less exciting than the other markets. Shoddy deep-fried food made up the bulk of the offerings, though Seoul Food was there and a very welcome sight. Another solid offering is Twist ‘n Roll Pretzels, where they pretzels are actually twisted, rolled, and baked in front of your very eyes, and filled with everything from caramelised onion, balsamic, and cheeses, all the way to a wicked Biscoff and almond. Our Spicy Jalapeno and Cheeze ($6.5) pretzel looked so good it actually prompted a complete stranger to ask us where we got it, and proceeded to go straight to the stall and ask for one of the same. I just hope he likes spice, because this packed an unexpected kick that not even the creamy cheese could mellow out!
Also keep an eye out for Kenzo’s, the donuts inspired by Chinese bakery buns. As promised, our Mixed Berry Jam Donut ($5.5) was feathery light and not too sweet, the bright tanginess of the jam bringing out the fluffy milkiness of the pastry.
But the real must-have in my opinion is the Cherry Pie ($5) from All Things Cherry. Boasting a super thin crust bursting with plump cherries, and topped with a delicate lattice pastry that melted in the mouth, this was a perfect balance between sweet and sour, and likely the best fruit pie I’ve ever had. If we weren’t flying out from Tassie the very next day, I would’ve gone back and gotten a full-sized pie.