There’s an explosion of colour and movement around me as I leave the rain soaked street and walk into the Adelaide Central Market. Men and women push trolleys loaded with everything from loaves of bread and sacks of potatoes to empty boxes and bags of rubbish around the narrow aisles. There’s a hubbub of people asking questions and a clink of coins as prices are paid.
The sweet scent of fresh flowers mingles with the bitter smell of coffee. The scent of salami wafts out of delis and of course there’s that ever present smell of fresh bread. I cannot resist fresh bread. My favourite are those made in the French tradition with crusty outers and luscious soft white dough. I buy a half baguette to take with me for lunch.
Fresh fruit and vegetables abound. It’s still morning and each marketeer’s particular style of presentation is still visible. Some stack their produce in broad flat-topped pyramids while other use wicker baskets to entice the buyer to feel like they have just been harvested by hand. My mouth waters as I gaze at the fresh selections and I buy a punnet of strawberries to eat with the half baguette.
Fromageries prove there is cheese beyond the cheddar, mozarella and brie that are usually displayed on supermarket shelves and I spend some time selecting something to top the pizza I hope to make this week. Olives grow wild in these parts so I buy some to accompany my cheese atop the pizza I plan to make. I also buy tomato, garlic, fresh basil and mushrooms to round out the creation only to discover on my return to the backpackers that there is no oven here. But that’s not going to stop me – I believe I can still make something delicious with a frying pan and sheet of alfoil.
The honey and soap shop tempts me with the vast array of honeys and soaps they sell. I taste a few of the honey varieties and realise just how different they can be. This is not the land of mass produced and sugar-syrup infused product but a golden land of natural flavours where the blossoms the bees fed on tickle your tastebuds. The soaps too are lovely. There’s something for everyone from those who want a treat on a budget to those who refuse to buy palm oil or prefer goats milk. I sniff the soaps but know I already have two bars in my kit and that everything I buy I will need to carry.
Naturally, as a tourist destination, stuffed koalas and kangaroos abound. These are Australia’s answer to batik paintings, Turkish rugs and delf blue crockery. I can’t help myself and giggle at the lone Kiwi sheep sitting between the Aussie koalas and resist the temptation to make mischeif by redecorate the shelf. I was thinking about drop bears and a poor lone sheep but decided that others might not get my joke and left well enough alone.