Sunday, October 17, 2010

Otago Farmers Market

Critic Issue 28 – Food Column 

Every week, the masses crawl out of their warm cosy beds on a Saturday morning to head to the Otago Farmers Market (Dunedin Railway Station north car park, Anzac Avenue). I know that a lot of people get their supply of fresh meat and vegetables from the market, but I am one of those silly city-slickers who were brought up on supermarkets and haven’t changed my habits, yet. So, when I go to the market, I tend to spend all my money on the wide variety of scrumptious, ready-to-eat food. 

The first thing on my mind is usually, “I want a bacon buttie!” Even when I don’t, as soon as I get a whiff of the intoxicating aroma of bacon cooking, I want one. The proprietor of Touch of Dutch has long been dubbed ‘Bacon Buttie Man’ by his customers and the business has become so well known by that name that they now have a Bacon Buttie Man logo emblazoned on the side of the truck and on their wrappers. They also offer yummy Eurodogs, but there’s a reason it’s ‘Bacon Buttie Man’ not ‘Eurodog Man’. Sandwiched between two soft pieces of white bread, are layers and layers of delicious, perfectly grilled shaved bacon mixed with lovely caramelised onions and a perfectly complementary sauce mixture of ketchup, mustard and corn relish. I challenge you to bite into one of these and not make the “MMMMHH-this-is-so-$%^&*@-good” sound! 

The other thing that emits the most wonderful, irresistible, drool-inducing scent are the tasty, tender, beautifully marinated barbecued lamb kebabs from Koau Flowers. Nine times out of ten, I find myself automatically following my nose to their stall to get some. For something sweet, I go to The Tart Tin. I particularly like the pear tart and the brownie. I particularly like the luscious, velvety pear tart and the very chocolatey brownie, but Matt Cross (aka Cupcake Guy to me and my friends) also offers a variety of other tarts, cupcakes, lemon bars, and micro-cakes and a big, friendly grin every single time you approach his table. There are of course, numerous other extremely popular vendors like La Crepe, where you can get good, sweet and savory crepes, and Pie Time (aka Who Ate All The Pies?), which specialises in gourmet pies, but by the time I have my favorite buttie and kebab, and sometimes a waffle too, I am usually too stuffed to eat anything else - which is why there are quite a few things from other vendors that I haven't had the chance sample yet. 

Even though I don't often buy fresh vegetables or meat from the market, I do go there specifically for the fruit. Before coming to NZ, I had quite an aversion to apples. Then I had my first Pacific Queen. It was so fresh, crunchy and sweet, and the skin was so taut that when I bit into it, that it made an audible 'snap/crack!'. It is a little late now, but when in season, NZ apples are amazingly delicious (almost unbelievably so, if you grew up in a place where only imported, sub-par apples were available). I usually get the pacific queen and the pacific beauty variety from Ettrick Gardens.

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