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Bound for South Australia – A Tale of Two Markets

Readers are perhaps a little weary of my endless praise of the Vintage Festival in the Barossa Valley. Just to show you that it’s not all flashy lunches and endless drinking (though that does make up a considerable part of my itinerary), today I’m going to tell you about two very different markets in the Barossa that are only on once every two years, when the Festival is on.

Yalumba Harvest Market
This market’s all about the best of the Barossa producers coming together to sell their meals and products in the beautifully manicured grounds of Yalumba, Australia’s oldest family owned winery. The idea is to come early, stay late. We’re always there not long after the gates open to grab a possie for the day. Most years we sit on the lawn opposite the cellar door, under one of the big trees but this year, the weather was looking decidedly inclement so we grabbed some tables and chairs nears the coffee cart and there we stayed. We should have known better as it turned into another glorious Barossa autumn day and the locals arrived at a leisurely pace, shuffling up the drive and onto the common.

Harvest Crowd 1 Harvest Market pair 1
Harvest Market sign pair
Harvest Market trio 1
The variety of food on offer is vast.  Small local producers that you really won’t see anywhere except at Barossa events such as Kapunda Chevon, local community groups like the Lutheran school selling fresh lemonade every year and those who are more established such as Barossa Sauces (their Black Sauce is a winner) and Zimmys pickles and relishes.  I can’t say enough about these guys. The beetroot relish and horseradish sauce are a must buy every time we come to the Barossa but my inventory has now expanded to include pickled onions. I love a pickled onion and I can honestly say these are the sweetest and best pickled onions I have ever had. Big call, but there you have it.  You can buy Zimmys in some shops (I’ve seen them at IGA Carina) but buying directly from the maker helps to improve their bottom line and also shows your direct support. Careme Pastry was once again wildly popular and sold out before lunch – luckily I had foreseen this disaster in the making and got in early for a chocolate tart.

Harvest Market Zimmy's pair 1It’s important to plan your day. Get in early, grab and spot and do a quick tour of the stalls. It’s never too early to have your first knackwurst or buy some cheese for later on. After you return to your friends, it’s time to decide on what you’ll be drinking from the Yalumba selection (no BYO). Glass or bottle? White or Red? Once you’re set with some food and wine, you can relax and listen to the easy stylings of the band and singers who entertain all day.

Harvest Crowd 2

There’s an opportunity to visit the cellar door, take a tour of the cooperage in an enormous barn, still on site and, if you’ve been quick enough and have the pennies, take a cooking class and lunch with a celeb – this year, the delightful Poh Ling Yeow. The main focus of market day is relaxation, family and friends.  There’s grass for the kids to run around on, plenty of space to spread out, shuttle buses to the Angaston Town Day for those who want to fit it all in and good coffee available for designated drivers. Oh, and did I mention the food?  Must be time to buy some goat curry and perhaps a glass of white.

What:  Yalumba Harvest Market
When: Tuesday & Wednesday of the Barossa Vintage Festival
Where: 40 Eden Valley Rd,  Angaston  SA  5353 – plenty of free parking on site 
Tips:  Bring a blanket to sit on or, if it’s nippy when you arrive, to wrap around yourself. Bring a couple of spare plates and a knife to split meals and goodies so you get more variety for your $.

Yalumba Wine
The Ziegenmarkt
Ziegen seller

The what?  The Ziegenmarkt (rolls pleasingly off the tongue doesn’t it?) is the Goat Market, held in the township of Tanunda as a pre-cursor to the Town Day. The Ziegenmarkt is held in Goat Square (ziegen means goat in German), a short wander from the main street. There’s scant information about the history of the Ziegenmarkt but it’s safe to assume that at some time in the recent past, it was the location for animal trading and auctions in this firmly agricultural region.

Rotegruzte sign

This market is all about community and the region’s Germanic heritage. Community groups and schools run stalls selling home made products and local specialties as part of their fundraising efforts. People dress up in ‘ye olde fashioned’ outfits of a bygone era and there’s quite a bit of ancient farm equipment scattered about with old timers giving demos. Apart from your usual breakfast kransky (those Germans love their sausage), there are two big drawcards for me. The first is the absolutely delicious and addictive Rote Grütze. Rote Grütze is a sago based dessert using fresh juice squeezed out of all of those lovely, lovely Barossa Shiraz grapes. The sago is simmered with cinnamon and sugar, chilled and finished with a pour of fresh cream, it is a local specialty that you can only get at market stalls or need to make yourself.  This year, I bought Rote Grütze from a very proud stall holder who had won some ribbons at the Tanunda Show a few weeks previous. Yes, Rote Grütze has its own category.  Even more interesting were the two 60+ year old women who were sledging her and giving her a hard time about being a newcomer to the Valley. ‘So you’ve finally learned how to cook the traditional foods properly then’, said one.  ‘I won ribbons for Rote Grütze and Yeast Cake’, said the stall holder.  ‘Did you?  There mustn’t have been a strong field this year’, said the other.  I bought my Rote Grütze and left them to it.  Sadly, there’s no photo of this biennial treat as I ate it too quickly but you can make it using Barossa legend, Maggie Beer’s recipe in ‘Maggie’s Table’.

Ziegenmarkt Rotegruze pair
The other reason to visit is to watch the auction of local products and produce with all money raised going to local charities. The auctioneer and his trusty sidekick draw quite a crowd as they auction off an eclectic mix of fruit and veg, award winning jams, giant salamis, fresh caught rabbits and livestock such as chickens and on this day, a little squealer. Bidding sometimes take a while to get going and always starts from a few dollars. I bid for an enormous jar of homemade strawberry jam but as I was on holiday and it went for over $10, I decided that was a kilo of jam I didn’t need to drag home. I was more successful with my bid for a bowl full of tiny cherry tomatoes, homegrown zucchinis and a couple of small eggplants. I won it for the princely sum of $8, making it the base for a vege dahl we were having the following evening. It was quite a bargain because the cheap wooden bowl the veges came in was actually a beautifully turned hard wood bowl that I brought home and oiled.
Ziegemarkt Auction pair 1 Ziegenmarkt auction pair 2
It’s all over, red rover by 10am as people start to drift back to the main street to join in the festivities of Tanunda Town Day.
Pomegranates 1

What:  Ziegenmarkt
When: Always on the morning of Tanunda Town Day during the Barossa Vintage Festival
Where: Goat Square (off John St),  Tanunda  SA  5352 – plenty of parking in surrounding streets
Tips:  Vino Cotto from Domain Day Winery, bring small change to bid at the auction.

So there you have it, just two of the many markets that are part of the Barossa Vintage Festival.  Both distinct and both a regular fixture on my calendar.

2 comments… add one
  • Lizzy (Good Things) June 12, 2013, 10:17 am

    A lovely round up Fiona… I haven't been to these markets, so look forward to retracing your footsteps next time I get to SA. Thanks for sharing.

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! June 13, 2013, 11:02 am

      Thanks for your comments Liz – I know you'd really enjoy them. There's also the weekly Farmer's Market on the Saturday though it's always fairly quiet when we visit as many stall holders are at other events or sold out after a big week of the Festival.

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