Walk and eat and repeat.
There are times when I should know in advance to pack elastic pants and unfortunately for me and my waistband this was not one of those times.
On a recent trip to Hobart, Tasmania, I finally got to attend the much-hyped Salamanca Markets. I’ve heard so much about these markets from other people – ‘There’s so much woodcraft!’ one friend said, ‘The produce is amazing!’ another friend said – but nobody, nobody warned me about the food on offer – oh sweet jesus the food!
I’m gonna go ahead and say it, let’s just go ahead and rename Hobart to Eatbart, because really you’ll find yourself eating so many awesome things in this lovely big little town, you might as well come here forewarned.
The Salamanca Markets (which Siri in my iPhone clumsily referred to as Salamander Markers several times) are home to a mix of eclectic stalls which their website promises will run every Saturday rain or shine. On this occasion it was very much raining, but I still ventured out, stolen hotel umbrella in hand and boots on determined to explore the magical markets so many raved about.
I should have seen the warning signs when, at 9am, I ate my first non-breakfasty meal of fudge at the aptly named House of Fudge – disappointingly not spelt Haus. Sweet delicious fudge in different flavours like coffee bean, ginger and chilli all of which were available to sample ad nauseous.
According to the wise Homer Simpson, if it has a toothpick in it, it’s free, and even though I consumed a fair amount of flavoured fudges I ended up splashing $20 on a four pack of mixed delights.
Sensibly I waited at least 15 minutes before consuming my next breakfast which had an authentic Euro-flavour but pun-worthy name Love This Sausage.
I could tell I was going to be served an authentic sausage experience when I spotted the ancient-looking German man sizzling Bratwurst away on his grill next to hastily written sign which promoted that rolls came with Sauerkraut or Grilled Onions only. Fair enough, so I ordered a Pork Bratwurst with Grilled Onions ($5.50) which was handed to me hot and fresh off the grill barely 15 seconds after I had finished my order and, as if by magic, I had eaten it about 15 seconds after receiving it. It was herby and delicious and not pretending to be anything else other than a juicy, herby sausage with hot onion on a crusty roll.
With both fudge and bratwurst playing best buds in my stomach I wandered on past a wonderful tea stall TasTea where I was encouraged to sniff from a variety of tea leaves that promised to cure everything from diabetes to indigestion which I could probably have done with but decided to move on in the quest to keep eating through the markets.
Of course we all love a balanced diet so I couldn’t resist stopping past an Apple farmer stand selling kilos of varieties of different apples so fresh they still had the leaves on – they were $2.50 a kilo – so I bought just that and at the same time experienced a Democrat apple for the first time in my life – it’s a red apple that’s not too sweet and firm and it was great but the Pink Lady apples fresh from the farm were bursting with flavour.
Even though an apple a day keeps the doctor away I wanted to make the bastard work for his money so of course I couldn’t just walk past the fresh hot pies stand, could I? Sorry doc. Now it’s times like this that I wish I ate seafood, because everywhere in Tassie during my trip I was offered a famous Tassie Scallop Pie which I was told is fresh Tasmanian scallops in a curry and Worcestershire sauce and is apparently a winter delicacy. But alas I stuck to good old land seafood and ordered a Beef Burgundy pie (Smith’s Pies, $5.00) which was served by a lovely girl who was clearly both very friendly and very used to handling hot items because these pies were piping hot and delicious so much so that I burned myself a few times eating it, but boy was this pain delicious.
It was encased in a super flaky, super homemade pastry crust with a wine and beef filling that just really made me feel absolutely no regret for having a breakfast of fudge, bratwurst, apples and beef.
But then that brings me to desert and my final stop on this walkable buffet, and of course considering I’d eaten such a balanced meal so far I decided to treat myself at the donut and coffee stand Jasper Coffee. But, despite the window of the stall beckoning me to eat a donut (Jam! Custard! Chocolate! Four for $8.50!) I went for the ‘healthier’ of the options in an Apple Turnover ($5.00) and a cappuccino to go.
Wow. Just wow. You know when an item of food brings back a memory? This was it and it was an awesome one. Taking a bite of the Apple turnover I found it peppered with plump juicy sultanas, a touch of cinnamon and a thick soft and crumbly pastry covered in a deliciously sweet icing that brought back a million memories of my grandmother’s apple pie. So good and so bang on that I just wanted to peek under the stall to see if my grandmother was secretly under there rolling pastry and swearing in Italian. But alas no.
I’m sure I could of eaten a million other things on offer at the markets – like fresh raisin sourdough, Wallaby Burritos (yes, real wallaby) or a myriad of delicious spicy-smelling pakoras – but a cursory glance down made me realise I had run out of both time and space in my jeans so I trotted back down the cobblestone paths in search of a comfy place to do the thing all great food travellers do after an epic feast… nap.