Belconnen Fresh Food Market is a Canberra institution. No matter what side of the lake you live on, who hasn’t stopped in to pick up everything from your weekly grocery haul to a Christmas ham or that hard to find deli ingredient that your cookbook insists you need to complete the new recipe you are trying?
With over 30 specialty stores selling everything from boutique gin to sea urchin, it is a true smorgasbord of market-fresh, one-stop shopping that has stood the test of time. Opening in 1976, it not only has a cornucopia of fresh produce but some great restaurants and cafés to fuel all that shopping.
Region Media spoke to local food stylist and photographer Emma Bickley to find out her top picks. Her work takes her to all the foodie hotspots all over Canberra but one of her favourites is the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets and she is there on a weekly basis.
Emma says her trolley is usually full to the brim and on any given week is likely to include the new Gin Kit from Ziggy’s Fresh, a collaboration with The Canberra Distillery containing a plethora of garnishes. To freshen up her kitchen table she swings by Bunches@Belconnen for some beautiful ranunculus, before stocking up on the in-house double smoked ham from Market Meats to jazz up her children’s sandwiches.
At Deli Cravings her favourite thing to do is rummage through the wall of preserved goods with the bright purple jar filled with pickled cabbage and apple labeled roetkool jumping out at her as the perfect accompaniment for roast pork.
At Natural Living Emma discovered the joys of snacking on the dark, emerald green Australian grown pepitas, and at Sea Harvest, she can’t go past the pretty scallops on the shell.
But for when you get hungry on the spot, Emma recommends adding these additional stops to your shopping trip:
All of the shopping excitement usually sees me ‘kneading’ a coffee. The crew at Knead make a top-notch brew and serve it with a side of super friendly service. I occasionally grab a sausage roll as well, though you better get in early! They also make the best sandwiches, but these sell out even faster.
Heng Hing Roast Inn
It’s hard to go past the delicious aromas wafting out of Heng Hing. A bit of a hidden gem but if you know, you know. On a cold day, a big bowl of noodles and soup from here is exactly what I need to warm me up. Usually, I’ll grab a pack of half char siu roast pork and half roast duck to take home. Once I managed to save enough to turn into homemade BBQ pork buns and duck pancakes although, if I’m honest, my daughters and I usually just devour it all as soon as I get home. So delicious.
The last stop on the itinerary demands something sweet and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t eaten more than one of these on my own. The sfogliatelle at Pasticceria Amelia is too good to be real. How they get so many layers of impossibly flaky pastry around the light and zesty custard, I’ll never know! My honest advice is to chomp them up right there on the footpath. For a start, they leave a delightful pile of pastry crumbs and, second, you won’t have to share!
To see her food styling and photography work follow Emma Bickley on social media @photobeforeweeat or visit her website www.emmabickley.com.
To further explore the markets, visit Belconnen Fresh Food Markets.