Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stirling Market

I don’t know about you but it’s usually about this time of the week that I start to get excited about the weekend.  The Adelaide Hills are in full autumn glory at the moment- leaves changing colour, grass turning to lush green, that slight chill in the morning air.  One of the best spots to enjoy this blaze of colour is Stirling, and this Sunday is market day!

Despite many efforts to the contrary, Adelaide isn’t renowned for its market culture – the plethora of market failures in recent years are testament to this.  Stirling Market has bucked this trend and become the benchmark for other markets to be measured against by having a strongly held vision which they have remained true to, resulting in a market of exceptional quality.

On the fourth Sunday of every month Druid Avenue closes to traffic and the street becomes abuzz of market umbrellas and gazebos as the market traders move in.  More than just a market, a visit to the Stirling Market is shopping heaven if you’re looking for something different, something handmade, something special…

Among the stallholders you’ll find original artworks, sculptures, furniture, homewares, clothing, fresh baked products, skincare, as well as cutting edge fashion and jewellery by local designers, all guided by the ethos of “make, bake, grow, sew”.   This is a market forged on quality – no mass-produced, tacky, imported junk here.  In most cases the person selling you the item is the person who made the item, and they’re all more than happy to talk to you about their product.  You will find things here that you won’t find elsewhere.  Personally, I’m not the mass-produced, Ikea-loving type.  I like decorating with unique pieces and that’s what brings me back here time after time.

Quality food and produce is my passion.  Foodie’s in particular will love this market – homemade pies, German gourmet hot-dogs, curries, wine.  There is a wealth of fresh produce – including fresh fruit and vegetables, freshly baked breads and locally made cheeses.  There’s also a fine offering of plants from various growers – all great quality and fabulous prices.

Being just off of the main thoroughfare of Stirling, banks are plentiful so access to cash at ATMs is easy.  Stirling is also a great spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner if you want to spend some time in this beautiful town.  You’ll find me having breakfast with the family at Tranquilo every market Sunday.  The food is always brilliant (the Salt and Pepper Squid and Open Steak Sandwich are lunch favourites), but it is the attentive customer service that keeps me coming back.  For coffee lovers, this is probably the best coffee hit you’ll get in the Adelaide Hills and they do a fine breakfast that will power you on for most of the day!  The Stirling Hotel is also fabulous having recently undergone a major refurbishment.  A fine selection of local beers and ciders on tap, and a fabulous menu coupled with beautiful surroundings makes this a place to wile away a lazy Sunday in the Adelaide Hills.

Stirling is less than 15 minutes from the CBD via the freeway.  From here you’re within easy reach of Mount Lofty, Bridgewater and Hahndorf.  Whether you come just for the market or make it part of a hills daytrip, a visit to the Stirling Market is a must for this weekends itinerary!

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