I have both written and spoken, here and elsewhere, about dining in Australia, so if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I think that Australia is a splendid destination for those who like to eat.
In Melbourne, one of the most wonderful manifestations of the excellence of the food options in Oz is the Queen Victoria Market. Founded in 1878, the venerable market covers more than 16 acres—and even that isn’t always enough, so they close down one of the bordering streets on Sundays, to create a café area, so people can linger at the vibrant market.
Much of the market is open-air, with only a roof overhead, but there are also enclosed halls for items that need a bit more care, such as fish and meat. The market is divided into several “precincts,” so you can target your shopping, if you don’t want to browse the entire place. You can visit the Deli Hall, Elizabeth Street Shops, F shed laneway, Market Place Food Court, Fruit and Vegetable precinct, the Meat Hall, Organics, General Merchandise, Victoria Street Shops, and the Wine Market.
The building that houses the Meat Hall (or, more properly, the Meat, Fish, and Rabbit Hall) actually predates the market as a whole, having been built in 1868. It houses butchers, fishmongers, and fresh poultry traders. The Deli Hall was a “late” addition, built in 1927. The offerings in this hall reflect Melbourne’s immigrant history, so head here to shop for delicacies from around the globe. The Wine Market is a weekend outlet for smaller wineries that might not otherwise have wide distribution. Fruits and vegetables occupy the largest portion of the market—almost 50 percent of the market is dedicated to fresh produce.
The splendid Queen Victoria Market might not be a reason to travel to Australia, but if you’re heading for Melbourne, it’s certainly a place to visit, at least if you’re serious about food.