I've just had five days' holiday in Melbourne, thanks to the kindness and generosity of three friends - one of whom gave me the airpoints, one of whom came to stay with Harvey while I was away, and one of whom had me to stay in St Kilda and took me with her and her little dog (in a doggie pushchair - don't laugh, it meant she could take the dog into the markets and on the trams, and it was amazing how many people came up to talk about it!) to all her favourite food haunts.
I'd already been to the Queen Victoria market. This time we went to Prahran Market (almond croissants, prawns, ham on the bone, Tuscan bread), and South Melbourne Market (dim sum, Greek honey cakes, ready-to-cook kofta, a huge Turkish bread for $2, two cheeses for $5, paella for lunch). We ate at Kamel (modern Turkish), the George at St Kilda (modern Italian - cauliflower pannacotta - trust me, it was superb), Richmond Hill Cafe (Venetian custard fritters with poached quince and cinnamon icecream), and the inimitable Brunetti, the original one in Carlton, a huge, bustling, heartwarming pasticceria.
It wasn't quite as indulgent as it sounds, we shared most things (cheaper, plus it meant we could try more...like five of Brunetti's tiny sampler cakes for $1.80 each). Why, oh why, did the blinkered NZ Governments of the 1950s keep out Italians, Greeks and anyone else who didn't meet their rigid criteria for immigrants who would "fit in"?
Never mind, a new Sunday City Market has just opened down on Wellington's waterfront, alongside the existing fruit and vege (and excellent lamb, bread, sausage, cake, jam, etc) market next to Te Papa. It'll make the already dire parking hassles even worse, so I think I'll haul my faithful shopping trundler (naff, but a necessity) onto the bus when I get the chance to go and explore it.