The History and Culture of Adelaide Central Market

The Adelaide Central Market dates back to 1869 and, today, is a bountiful hub of food and culture. Over the past 145 years, it has accumulated more than 80 traders selling everything from fresh fruit and veg, to local meat and poultry, to seafood, seasonal cheeses, and delicious baked goods. It is now one of the biggest undercover markets in the Southern Hemisphere and promises visitors a journey into the history and culture of Australia through food and drink.

When you’re not browsing the stalls piled high with mouth-watering morsels, you can kick back and enjoy a hot drink in one of the many cafes and eateries that surround the market.

Welcoming more than 8.5 million visitors every single year, the Adelaide Central Market is quickly becoming the place to go if you want to sample the multicultural cuisine of Australia and tuck into some fresh produce.

Adelaide Central Market

The Central Market’s Vision and Mission

The market has set out to become the world’s leading food and produce market and has dedicated itself to operating sustainably and successfully. It brings visitors a diverse and culturally rich shopping experience that they’d struggle to get elsewhere in the city.

The History of Adelaide Central Market

Having been around for 145 years, it’s safe to say the market has a rich old history in Adelaide.

Founded back in 1869 on Grote Street, it was then known as the City Markets after it was officially opened by Mayor Judah Solomon in 1870. The opening had humble beginnings and unlike the covered market we see today, the original market was set out on a single stretch of land with only a fence surrounding it. At this time, the market opened on both Tuesday and Saturday mornings with more than 50 stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables.

It wasn’t until 1889 that designs for the market’s floorplans were finally put into action, with a new two story building on Grote street opening in 1900.

At that time, the East End Markets monopolised the show between Rundle Street and North Terrace, an area that would soon become the foodie hotspot of the Adelaide Central Market in 1988.

As time went on and more and more traders caught wind of the East End Markets, the overflow had to move to the Central Market.

After immigrants from Asia, particularly China, made their way to Adelaide, they settled in the market area which saw the beginning of Chinatown and Chinese inspired architecture coming up.

The Market Today

Today, the market has grown inside from 50 traders to around 250 stallholders marking the Adelaide Central Market as an integral part of the foodie scene in South Australia. In 2018, the market celebrated their 150th anniversary and the future look bright ahead for the market who is home to some of the finest providores of meat, cheese and pastries that one can find in the region.

The Traders of the Adelaide Central Market

Con’s Fine Foods is a market staple that have been family owned since 1959. A popular stop on shopper’s list, you’ll smell this stall before you see it, as the aroma of sliced meats and Italian antipasto wafts through the air.

Dough is well known for their artisan sourdough bread and loved for the imaginative and delicious pastries that they offer up to hungry customers. If ever you find yourself at Dough, don’t look past the iconic Golden Gaytime Cheesecake that made the ears of every foodie in Adelaide perk up when it first arrived on the scene.

The Smelly Cheese Shop might be the most famous on this list, so don’t be put off by the name but rather intrigued for what you’ll find here is a delectable range of creamy, sweet or sharp vintage cheeses. The providores of fine cheeses travel worldwide to bring us back expertly crafted batches for the cheese connoisseur.

Kangaroo Island Stall boasts wine from the island which you can now purchase on the mainland without ever having to visit it- although you really should. Predominantly new on the wine scene unlike its older sister the Barossa Valley, the wines of Kangaroo Island are now available at the Adelaide Central Market by way of over 40 producers who are there to bring their expertise on their wine varietals through wine tastings available in the stall.

To finish off, grab a coffee at The Grind @ Central, an institution of the Adelaide Central Market. Since the 1960’s they’ve been roasting up their own blends of Fair-Trade Organic coffee, tea blends and sellers of speciality coffees. They’ve also jumped on board the Nespresso train that’s taken on a life form of it’s own, however, at The Grind, they’ve gone one step further making their pods reusable.

Around the edge of the structure, shops popped up selling hot and cold drinks and other goods. Today, the Central Markets still thrive in the lively city centre. Surrounded by the Arcade, Adelaide China Town, and Market Plaza, they promise a multicultural experience like no other.

In the heart of the Central Markets, you’ll find stalls piled high with fresh produce, while the outer layer of shops are predominantly cafes, restaurants, and other kinds of stores. It’s become a integral stopping point for tourists to Adelaide, with many tour companies making the market and its friendly stallholders a top priority on the quest to discovering what makes Adelaide so great.

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