Adelaide Grazing – Strange Fruit and Oyster Noshing

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It is excruciating to walk through a market thrumming with the sights, sounds and aromas of food, and not have the stomach to take it all in. By the mouth, that is.

Agonised note to self: Skip breakfast the next time you are out on a food tour.

Snapshots from this morning’s walk through Adelaide’s Central Market with Mark Gleeson and Cheryl Turner.

Tantalising the pomologist in every frugivore, a world of  fruit at Central Market, Adelaide

The wrath of grapes. Tantalising the pomologist in every frugivore, a world of  fruit at Central Market, Adelaide.  

 Strange fruit. The world arrives here, fresher and cheaper than at a supermarket. This Jicama, a tuber favoured in Southeast Asian cooking, is also known as sweet turnip or yam bean. To complicate that imagery, the Asian lady at the shop said it tastes like pear

Strange fruit. The world arrives here, fresher and cheaper than at a supermarket. This Jicama, a tuber favoured in Southeast Asian cooking, is also known as sweet turnip or yam bean. Don’t think you’ve got the hang of it yet. To complicate that imagery, the Asian lady at the shop selling it said it tastes like pear.

Talking of pears, this here is the fruit of the cactus that answers to the name of Prickly Pear. Once considered a nefarious invasive species in Australia, it was bounty-hunted to near-eradication, so much so that a memorial to this feat stands in Dalby, Queensland. As with other invasive species such as rabbits and goats, it is eaten. What a good idea!

Cheryl, by now confessing to being an unwitting but far from unwilling hand-model, splits a Finger Lime down the middle, spilling a cluster of bubble-like vesicles that, when eaten, explode in a tang of delicately balanced tartness that reminds us of tequila and, bless this thought, oysters! Growers identify this Australian fruit as Microcitrus australasica.

To see food is merely the half of it. And such dreary puns will be forgiven if you wander, led by your nose, to the seafood section of the market. Both raw and processed, there is a ton of it, including scallops, tuna and fillets of the highly prized King George Whiting.

Prayers answered! These exquisite oysters were had right off the shell with just a sprinkle of lemon. You could savour the briny aftertaste of sea. It felt like a page out of The Walrus and the Carpenter: 

‘Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more’

The coup de grace is olive oil tasting, and the synaesthesia of the experience is as aesthetic as, or perhaps finer than, wine tasting.

After tasting, the olive oil is enjoyed with fine French artisanal bread and a dash of sea salt, and fresh tomato.  

What’s a meal sans dessert? And what’s dessert sans chocolate? This delectable piece of work is a fusion of inspirations from chocolate, hazelnut and cheesecake.

 Food connoisseur and chef Mark Gleeson‘s name is synonymous with artisanal cuisine in South Australia. His Central Market Tours are a must-do experience in Adelaide.

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