I'm going to start with the end first: above is the bounty we acquired at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Australia.
What did it take to get here? Just a 32-hour jaunt halfway around the world.
We went to QVM to stock up on provisions for our week on the beach off the Great Ocean Road, which starts about 1 hour south of Melbourne and winds along miles of breathtaking seacoast.
QVM is a large open-air market where you can buy anything from toys, shoes, belts, and coats to organic vegetables, meat, seafood, and gourmet cheeses, bakery, and deli items. It's like NYC's Chinatown compressed into an area of a couple blocks.
This is Rashed, a Bangledeshi who sold us our Australian boomerangs, some of which were made in Indonesia.
These lovely flowers were made out of soap!
My husband asked me to take this picture of the Uggs poster, so he could send it to his contacts at Uggs Australia, whose boots are all the rage in the US. It's a US company and not Australian.
At the food court, I tried Butter Chicken and Turkish delight for the first time. Both were delicious. Christina ordered nachos, which were definitely not nachos, but corn chips with chunky tomato pasta sauce and some non-sharp cheese. Greek food is ever present here, so my husband and Lizzy got some lamb and chicken souvlaki, and my sister-in-law Liz ordered some pizza with feta cheese.
When I went to the Greek vendor to get coffee, we had an interesting exchange. I said, "I'd like some coffee." He said, "What kind? Cappuccino, latte, black coffee, white coffee..." I replied, "I'd like a black coffee with cream or half and half." He said, That's a white coffee." I was expecting an American coffee, but what he gave me was an espresso with frothed and steamed milk. How a white coffee is different from a latte I don't know, but it was delicious, as have been all the coffee I've had here, including the latte I had at McDonalds. It seems Australia's coffee scene is more like Europe than America, and that's a good thing.
The Greek vendor also asked me if I was Canadian. My sister-in-law Liz, who lives in Melbourne, told me I'd always get asked if I was Canadian, because it's the safer thing to say. Canadians are insulted if asked if they are American but not the other way around.
After we ate lunch, we went food shopping. At QVM, there's are sections devoted to organic goods, fruits and vegetables, meat and seafood and vegetables.
In the deli section, we bought different cheeses, a container of goat-cheese stuffed red peppers, a container of "goat cheese surprise," which was goat cheese topped with basil pesto and red pepper flakes (that was the surprise), and some artisanal breads from a storefront that had a long line of people. By the time, I got there they were pretty much cleaned out.
In the fruits and vegetable section, we bought mangoes, passionfruit, and fresh lychees as well as a lot of different vegetables, including lettuce, asparagus, red and green peppers, scallions, baby bok choy, potatoes and tomatoes. By and large, the produce was very similar to what one gets in the United States, but at a higher price point. Food is definitely more expensive here in Australia.
That said, the vegetables we bought here and in the grocery store tasted more farm fresh and flavorful than the produce we can buy in the US grocery stores. Maybe it's worth the tradeoff.
We perused the meat and seafood section, but didn't buy anything because we didn't have a cooler. Above is a pic of rock lobsters, and while I don't have a pic, I love that you can buy shrimp with the heads on here. Where I live I haven't seen heads-on shrimp in years.
As we were leaving, I had to get in line at this food stand, because when we came in, there were long lines and there were still long lines when we came out. What was so special about these "American doughnuts?"
I bought a bag of six donuts for AUD$5, and right after I bought my donuts, they put up the sold out sign. Oh my, there were a lot of crestfallen people in the line behind me.
Here's a pic of the donut, which was a jelly donut. It wasn't as light as the jelly donuts we're accustomed to in the US, but it was good.
After we finished our shopping, we headed down to the rental house and found this lovely kitchen awaiting us. Isn't is awesome?