Aaahhh Wellington. Despite the shitty weather you put on for me this time ’round; that blasting icy wind and that bizarre mist that wafted about at dusk in a horizontal fashion … I still think you’re fab. You’re a youthful city, you know how to make a decent coffee, you can put on a party and you’re way too friendly. I think living in Sydney too long has made me develop a full-body callus against its frantic bump and grind, impatience and rudeness.
Wellington, you made me relax, drink just as much wine as I normally do – only better – you made me walk around the streets off my tits on a caffeine high and eat far more than my normally fast metabolism can handle. To this I say thank you!
Oh, that’s right, I mentioned a market. Actually two markets. Wherever I’ve been in my travels around the world I’ve always made sure to touch base with the foodie heart and soul that any city or town possesses. The local food market. This could be some grotty venue down a narrow laneway in Delhi, a lovely domed art deco building in Phnom Penh or in this case a modern apartment building atrium on Wellington Harbour. These food vendors are here for a bunch of reasons: to bring you fresh produce, keep you fed and educated, build a sense of community and make a hard-earned living.
When it comes to the City Market here in Wellington, something that was conceptualised over a few vino’s, Rachel Taulelei of Yellow Brick Road and award winning (feisty) chef Martin Bosley (both pictured above) opened their market doors in 2009. This market was compiled to highlight local artisan producers with a passion for their product and for shoppers to interact with the people behind the food.
City Market may be small but it seems to cover all bases in the food stakes, not that I’ve covered it extensively in my photographs. Sorry readers, you’re only getting a snap-shot. Cupcake Sweeties is a colourful stand that not only satisfies your sugar cravings with gorgeous little mouthfuls of decorated cupcakes, but it also sells accessories for you to buy and take home to make your own creations.
The selection of cheeses at the Le Marché Francais stand is quite minimal compared to the 35 varieties they import from France for their deli at Thorndon Quay. But it’s not all about the cheese. These guys also provide hams and cured meats, preserves and terrines, chocolate, olives, vinegars and oils. Pretty much everything a good deli should provide.
Brezelmania (above) is one providore that brings a touch of Germany to windy Wello. Not only are the danishes divine but the breads they pump out are irresistably dense and doused in seeds just like they are in Germany.
The chocolates at L’affaire au Chocolate are made purely out of love. Jo Coffey, pictured above, is a dedicated connoisseur that puts her heart and soul into these little treasures that are far from being mass produced.
It’s easy enough to loiter about inside the Chaffers Dock Building sampling food and buying gourmet treats at the City Market, but just outside in the carpark next to Te Papa museum is the open-air Harbourside Market offering a plethora of fresh fruit and veg, cured meats, preserves and a good selection of cooked food from portable vans. I’m liking it out here just as much as inside and I’m wishing I didn’t have breakfast at the hotel earlier.
Had I known, I would have forgone those dry scrambled eggs from the buffet and paced myself with a starter from Rojesh Roti. Spiced chicken wrapped in buttery and charred roti. People were queueing up for these and I’m kicking myself for not trying one.
One thing I definitely made room for was the pizza slice from NYPD. Watcing the boys methodically roll the dough onto a wooden paddle, top it with pepperoni and margharita in half-half fashion and gently place it into the portable woodfired oven was a definite highlight of the morning. Two to three minutes by the coals, rotated once or twice, we’re done. The base is just the way I like it: thin, chewy and charred here and there. Perfection.
The jam guy, or should I say Mick’s Yummy Preserves seemed quite popular with the locals as was the bright orange Espresso Rescue van with its gutsy and ballsy coffee. Three bucks for a regular takeaway cup of beautifully-made java. Why can’t we have one of these on Pitt St Mall in Sydney to keep me pleasantly wired?
When I saw the churros van I had to make a compromise. It was either wood-fired pizza or churros. The pizza won hands down and now that I look at it, I should have forced down the churros and just delt with it.
Both of these markets are great and I just can’t get over how inexpensive things are for the quality you get. Even better with the exchange rate. All I can say is come with an empty stomach!
Other posts from my Wellington On a Plate experience: