I have to admit, I did wonder whether the gumboots would be out of place in the wide world, as there are people in The Sticks who have professed to me that they have very traditional views on the role of a gumboot. I decided to abandon these fears in the hope that at least some people would be more accommodating of boots who were definitely keen to go beyond the Patch.
I like to hear about things going on in The Sticks (because there usually isn't too much..), and although this wasn't the first time I had visited the markets, it was the first time I had really been able to have a good look around, sit down for some brekky and check out all the offerings. According to some of the regular market goers, you need to get there earlier than we did (which was arrival at about 10:30) to see some of the baked treats coming out of the oven, and to have the full selection of cheeses available.
Phillippe (the owner) runs cheese courses and knows his stuff. I bought a nice blue with a bit of bite that shall remain without a name because I've forgotten it. There was a good selection of blue available and plenty of advice being offered should you ask.
There is organic fruit and vege available, but more excitingly, a range of house made treats on offer too. Bread and baked goods make an appearance early and we missed some of the offerings.
Phillippe came to Tamworth looking for a 'tree change' after having another French restaurant in Muswellbrook for 21 years called Phillippe's Brasserie.
The markets are a more than welcome addition to the local scene- this region really is crying out for more food related activities. From speaking with people, it is clear they are interested and excited about food, wine and all good things. There were a lot of people milling about, even though it was raining, which shows me that (hopefully) people are keen to patronise the market.
Duck's liver pate at $6 a pot was an obvious must have, as were the freshly made red wine and pork terrine and the rabbit terrine (terrine was $26 a kg from memory).
I also caught a glimpse of the homemade butter for $3.8 and realised I had to get myself some of that too. The house made dairy products are made with local milk which is always lovely to hear. They also have a goat's milk supplier too. I might see if I can get myself some of the goat's milk because goat's cheese gets eaten in this house at a rate the supermarket (insert curse words and obligatory statement about the horrible things) cannot supply. I'm not even kidding. I think there is really only my family and a few others that buy the goats cheese, and it is always running out.
The breakfast menu 'Marche' is small and consise with a few baked goods as well as poached eggs and bacon ($9) or scrambled eggs and bacon roll available.
I did sneak in to have a look at the cabinet and was tempted by the fig and pecan turnovers, but ended up deciding upon the poached eggs with house smoked bacon. The bacon is free range and organic and when tasted, revealed itself to be some of the best bacon ever. That is not a compliment that should be thrown around lightly, because as we all know, bacon is a serious business. HOWEVER- this bacon was basically revolutionary in it's sweet, salty and smoky combination that means it could easily be branded as 'the bacon eaten in heaven.'
We couldn't stop talking about the bacon. The conversation went something like this "How good is this bacon" "I know, it is very, very good bacon" "The bacon is seriously SO good" etc etc etc. When I questioned D about why he was leaving a bit on the side of his plate (which is not true to form) he told me it was 'to savour it.' When I tried to sneak a piece, he guarded it fiercely, sadly no extra bacon for G.G. What did please me, was being able to buy some of the bacon but in retrospect, I'm sad I didn't buy about 20 kgs.
I didn't buy any, but the sweet courgette and corn relish seemed to be quite popular, so next time I might grab a jar of this little specialty too.
The staff at the markets are super friendly, and it's obvious that they love their food and are happy to be doing what they are doing. I know the people in the region are also very excited to have a little Saturday morning market to visit and somewhere spesh to dine at when the occasion calls for it.
The trip to the market was definitely successful, we left with our belly full of beautiful bacon, a swag full of goods to eat later and a little bit of hope that the food scene may expand here in our little corner of North West NSW.
NB: The gumboots were commented on several times ('oo I LOVE your boots') and only once in a 'are you sure they are gumboots?' way so they also had a pretty good first outing! Unfortunately (if you are a gumboot) the weather cleared up today, but the boots are tucked safely away eagerly awaiting the next rainy day adventure.
When to go: Any Saturday morning you are in Tamworth. Get the bacon.
67 Denison Street
Tamworth NSW 2340
p)02 6765 3666