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Hunt & Gather Food Tour At Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market

Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market is both a historic landmark and foodie hotspot. Open since 1878, it’s one of Melbourne’s last remaining working markets and as such has sections that are heritage listed. I’d been to the Queen Vic Market many times but it wasn’t until I joined the Hunt & Gather Food Tour recommended by my hotel that I realised I had never seen a whole section of the market before – and that I had been missing the best bit!

Street art and interesting installations at Queen Victoria Market.

Street art and interesting installations at Queen Victoria Market.

The Hunt & Gather Food Tour starts at Vic Market Place, minutes from the beautiful art deco Dairy Hall I had never seen before. The tour takes you through all sections of the market, starting with the Meat Hall, threading through the Organics and Fruit and Veg sections before looping back to the Dairy Hall to sample some treats.

I loved how the veg here co-ordinated with the street art - very Melbourne!

I loved how the veg here coordinated with the street art – very Melbourne!

The guide takes you through the history of the market (I learnt the car park was once a graveyard and other interesting facts) whilst introducing you to some of the specialities you can buy there.

The Meat Hall is a fascinating insight into Aussie eating habits – different butchers cater for different cultures with different cuts and types of meat – and needless to say there was a lot of Aussie beef and lamb on display. We got also a little insight into how the market works by looking at the rails which line the ceiling that are used to transport the meat in each morning.

Fresh meat is bought into the market hall using rails and pulleys on the ceiling

Fresh meat is bought into the market hall using rails and pulleys on the ceiling

Outside, the fruit and vegetable stalls were bursting with locals buying all the colourful goods. We watched as the guide made conversation with the stall owners and customers and I realised what a more vibrant shopping experience this was compared to going to Coles!

Food shopping with personality at Queen Victoria Market

Food shopping with personality at Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market Melbourne

Finally we headed back into the art deco Dairy Hall to try some of the goods sold by the bakers and delis. There are 37 outlets in total (including bakeries, patisseries and a boutique beer and wine shop) but alas we could not try them all – not during our 2 hours anyway!

The art deco Dairy Hall was built in 1927.

The art deco Dairy Hall was built in 1927.

Queen Vic Market Dairy Hall

Customers get their orders in at the Bread Box

Customers get their orders in at the Bread Box

Our first taster on the tour involves sourdough bread, olives and tapioca dip (yum!)

Our first taster on the tour involves sourdough bread, olives and tapioca dip (yum!)

Then came the meats - a perfectly cooked kangaroo steak and chicken sausage (surprisingly good)

Then came the meats – a perfectly cooked kangaroo steak and chicken sausage (surprisingly good)

I fell in love with a cheese called Petite Delice

I fell in love with a cheese called Petite Delice

There's always room for pasta

There’s always room for pasta

We sampled a sweet potato ravioli with mushroom sauce. Very, very good.

We sampled a sweet potato ravioli with mushroom sauce. Very, very good.

Dessert was covered by this famous chocolatier

Dessert was covered by this famous chocolate shop

Our tour finished with a visit to the newest addition at Queen Vic Market, which I’m sure will be incredibly popular with foodies. Books for Cooks is an independently owned, award-winning, specialist bookstore selling exclusively new, vintage and antiquarian cookbooks and books about wine and food. From foodie travelogues to chef autobiographies, every type of food related publication is covered in this Aladdin’s cave of reading.

Books For Cooks recently opened at Queen Victoria Market

Books For Cooks recently opened at Queen Victoria Market

The tour ticket comes with a free coffee voucher so I took my chocolates from Koko Black and nibbled them whilst enjoying a latte from Market Espresso. I couldn’t think of a better way to have spent my morning in Melbourne.

The Hunt & Gather Food Tour cost $49 per person and takes place on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Visit qym.com.au/tours for details.

About Author

Travel blogger and freelancer writer who loves boutique hotels and brunching. I've been blogging for 10 years, visited 60+ countries and called London, Sydney, Melbourne and (oh so briefly) New York home at various points during the last decade. Now travelling with a baby and trying to make it as stylish and stress-free as can be!

6 Comments

  • Gilda Baxter
    October 23, 2015 at 6:48 am

    I love food markets and this tour sounds delicious, I am feeling very hungry now.

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      October 23, 2015 at 6:50 am

      I love food markets too and it never occurred to me to tour one in Australia until my hotel suggested it. I’m really glad they did!

      Reply
  • Stef
    October 24, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Queen Victoria Market was one of my favorite places in Melbourne when I lived there. Loved the night market especially. This tour seems like a great way to get to know it!

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      October 25, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      It really was Stef, I learnt lots that I didn’t know from just shopping there before. I also want to go to the night events now – they sound awesome!

      Reply
  • Tiffany
    October 25, 2015 at 9:29 am

    That has to be the most beautiful market I have seen. My stomach is now growling for pasta and bottle of wine! I want to know about this graveyard in the parking lot though!

    Reply
    • Jayne Gorman
      October 25, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      It’s stunning and so much fun to eat your way around it! The area was one of Melbourne’s earliest major cemeteries – from 1837-1922. They moved a lot of the bodies when the area started being used as a market but they believe there may be a further 9,000 or so people down there!

      Reply

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