Have you heard? Canberra is the place that everyone wants to visit these days. Combine your trip to the Handmade Market with other attractions around this beautiful city. Try the coffee or go on a drive to the wineries of the region. Share a plate of innovative food and then walk it off at the lake or the Arboretum, capturing the views of Canberra. And then rest your head at one of the nation’s capital’s great hotels.
The list of eateries in Canberra is growing every week, with new gorgeous cafés and restaurants popping up all over our fair city. The main eating areas are Braddon, Kingston, Manuka, Barton and New Acton, but if you venture further afield, there are superb eateries nestled in suburban centres. Pulp Kitchen in Ainslie, Two Before Ten in Aranda, Little Oink in Cook and Young & Frisky in Gungahlin are worth a trip, but do some research and the hidden gems will reveal themselves.
Canberra’s cool climate is the talk of wine experts, with top class wines now coming from the Canberra region. There are over 130 vineyards in the area, many of which have cellar doors that offer good food, great views and of course, something nice to drink! Again, there are too many to mention, but check out Eden Road and Four Winds in Murrumbateman, Lerida Estate by Lake George or Surveyors Hill in Hall. And three wonderful wineries will be present at the Handmade Market this weekend – Quarry Hill, Twisted River and Long Rail Gully will be sharing their blends and knowledge at EPIC on Saturday and Sunday.
From family rooms (Abode Hotels) to top class boutiques (Hotel Hotel, Burbury) and places in between (Aria, QT, Mantra), there is a wealth of accommodation here in Canberra, much of it within a stone’s throw of EPIC, for easy access to the Handmade Market.
Spring is springing at the moment, and the blossom is coming out in force. With perfect temperatures of around 16 degrees forecast for this weekend, head down to Lake Burley Griffin and walk the 5km bridge to bridge circuit, taking in all of Canberra’s beautiful architecture in one walk. Or head to the Arboretum for truly spectacular views.
For the kids, there’s no beating Questacon for its interactive displays and amazing learning experiences. Floriade is fast approaching if you want to stick around for a few days (opens 17th September), but if you’re only here for the weekend of the market, what about the Canberra Moon Festival in Yarralumla?
And I hear a rumour that there’s an excellent market happening this weekend! 10am until 4pm on Saturday and Sunday at EPIC. 220 stalls, including a gourmet food hall, great atmosphere and all your Handmade shopping needs met under one roof…
To plan your trip, visit one of these websites for details of Canberra’s accommodation, dining and attractions:
Handmade’s gourmet food hall will be showcasing the best Australian produce and street food this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, 10am until 4pm, we’ll be in the queue for snacks, treats and larder staples.
To guide you through the offering for September, we have a beautiful online magazine with a full directory of everyone who is attending, and introductions to some of our newcomers. You can also look at images of all our stalls in the directory on the Handmade website. However, to give you a bit of extra help, here is a guide to some of the foodies you will find at Handmade to give you a great flavour of what you will find this weekend.
Three wineries will be on hand to pour you a glass to sample and savour. Quarry Hill and Twisted River will be joined by new locals
from Murrumbateman. Long Rail Gully, are making the most of the cool climate, producing classic Riesling and Shiraz, vibrant Pinot Gris, earthy Cabernet Sauvignons, lush Pinot Noirs and succulent Merlots.
Sauces, chutneys, relishes and jams will be in abundance from the likes of Black Horse Fine Foods, Elfreds of the Peninsula, Honey & Glow, Salted Caramel Sauce and Saori Premiun Japanese Sauce, not to mention Sticky Balsamic, Thirst, The Original Smoke and Spice Co. and The World’s Best Nuts.
Heathy snacks from Barbell Biltong and Stockman Sticks will keep you going, but all that shopping is likely to make you thirsty, so make sure you stop in for a lemonade from Krave, ginger beer from Grumpy’s or coffee from Art of Espresso and My Sweet Alice. With locations in both of the halls, you won’t have to walk those weary feet too far to find your caffeine fix.
If it’s a sweet treat you want to take away, try Veganarchy, Baked by Mum, Rosebery St Bakehouse, Bake Away Catering, Everything Mason and Babic Biscuiteers. There will be three chocolate stalls at your disposal as well – Jasper & Myrtle, Enigma and Pana Chocolate.
Loose Gourmet Churros, C3 Waffle and Le Petit Breton are also on hand to satisfy your cravings with sweet treat street food.
And of course, lunch. Mr Papa will be providing his signature Peruvian fayre, East Street will bring a taste of the Orient and Kurbside kitchen will be bringing you their wonderful “spiral spud”.
Form an orderly queue for Berlin Bangers’ distinctive bratwursts, and make sure you indulge in Burra Berkshires delectable free range pork. Tikka Stand will be serving Indian delights, while Kusina have a taste of the Philippines and you won’t want to miss the Greek yumminess at Yiannos Catering.
We’ll see you in food heaven!
Handmade Canberra and Four Winds Vineyard are teaming up to bring you the Four Winds Barrel Art Competition.
This is your chance to transform a wine barrel into something fun, something useful, something interesting or all three. Entry is $100 and includes your wine barrel. Pick up your barrel from Four Winds Vineyard’s cellar door, turn it into a creative masterpiece and bring it along to The Handmade Market for display over the weekend of 10 & 11 September, where the entries will be judged by a public vote. The winner will receive a mixed case of Four Winds Vineyard’s wines. You are welcome to sell your creation at the market.
So here are the key dates:
- 1 July – competition open. Register here
- 1 September – Photo of entry submitted
- 9 September – entries delivered to EPIC for the Handmade Market
- 10-11 September – display and judging at market
- 11 September – 2pm voting closes, 3pm winner announced
- 11 September – 4pm all entries to be collected from market
Head over the the Four Winds Vineyard events page to register. We started the competition with 22 barrels, and three have already been taken, so you need to register soon! Good luck, and we can’t wait to see your creations.
Are you ready? Have you made your shopping list? Handmade is only days away, so we thought we’d help you with your pantry stocking and menu planning.
You might want to stop by Elfred’s of the Peninsula while you’re at the market. With tried, tested and natural sauces, chutneys and jams, you have the choice of flavours from all corners of the globe. Moroccan dishes are raised to the next level with Elfred’s Harissa, and that spag bol wouldn’t be the same without its secret ingredient, Quince Paste. Honestly, it takes it to a new level…
While we’re on dressings, your dinner guests will rave over your salads if you incorporate something from the Sticky Balsamic range. Try the Pear Balsamic Vinegar with a blue cheese and walnut salad. You will never look back!
The Original Smoke & Spice Company is famous for its smoked salts and garlics. And with good reason. The smoking process adds sweetness to the garlic and the flavour combinations in their salts are mouthwatering. Add them to your list of places to try before you buy. While you’re trying, please don’t miss out on The World’s Best Nuts. Chilli macadamias and caramel peanuts top the bill, but find your favourite amongst the wonderful displays. Inspired by the Australian drover, Stockman Sticks Beef Jerky is handmade in the shadows of the Brindabella and Snowy Mountains using 100 per cent local Australian grass-fed beef.
Thirst will be bringing the flavours of Bangkok to your table. Locally made green, red & massaman curry pastes and pad Thai sauce make cooking at home easy. Or if you have a Japanese obsession, please don’t walk past Saori Japanese Sauce without stopping to ask for recipe advice.
Sweetness is brought by our three chocolate companies. Jasper + Myrtle will be bringing their award winning blends, while Cicada have a vast range of flavours to suit any palate. And welcome to newcomers, Origin, whose organic chocolate is sure to delight.
Marshpillows will have the kids and adults alike flocking around, with flavours from salted caramel to passionfruit and strawberry to vanilla bean. Black Horse Fine Foods will be serving up the perfect marmalade, so grab a jar to take home. And if salted caramel sauce is on your list, try, Salted Caramel Sauce! These jars of deliciousness will not hang around for long…
For snacking on the day, you have a big choice of stalls to visit. There will be no fewer than seven hot food vans, serving up savoury deliciousness. I can never leave Handmade without having indulged in a free range pulled pork burger from Free Range by Burra Berkshires. Please leave one for me! International cuisine is provided by food from all four corners of the earth. Join the queue for a tasty German Bratwurst from Berlin Bangers. From Peru, Mr Papa’s Street Food will be providing atmosphere, spiciness and, most importantly, satisfied tastebuds. The Philippines are represented by Kusina, who will be preparing unique street food, and East Street will be representing the Orient with Vietnamese Feasts. For curry and spice, try a plate from Tikka Stand. Tikka means “bits” or “pieces”, and you will want to indulge in these pieces of marinated magic. Scotts Food Van will provide tasty baked potatoes and nachos.
Breakfast in style with a Frensh-style crêpe from Le Petit Breton (and indulge in their whipped cream, on top – trust me!), or take away a waffle on a stick from C3 Waffle. If you really love your chocolate warm and sticky, head to Loose Gourmet Churros, with their freshly made churros dipped in the good stuff. Mr Frugii will be serving up his usual cold delights. Salted Caramel, Vanilla and Dark Chocolate will be complemented by some specials – check them out and try a popping mouthful before you decide which one to put in your cone.
Cakes and biscuits are the perfect snack to nibble on while you’re browsing the other stalls. Choose from melt in your mouth cookies from Babic Biscuiteers, delicious guilt-free treats from Veganarchy, iced and filled donuts from Donut Papi or fruit pies made with home grown fruit from Montrose Berry Farm. Or take home some cookie dough from Baked by Mum for later.
Thirsty? Grumpy’s will be peddling their ginger beer – get in early before they sell out. Krave Juice will be serving up freshly squeezed juices and refreshing blends of lemonade, so hydration definitely won’t be a problem for you this weekend.
List complete? See you there!
With days, if not hours to go until your next Handmade fix, let me tell you about another fix you might be pleased about. The morning coffee fix. So pleased were we that Handmade’s two coffee companies served you the good stuff quickly and deliciously in March that we’ve invited them back again.
Both halls at EPIC will play host to coffee vans and we couldn’t be happier with the people serving them or the blends they’re serving!
Two Before Ten will be back in the gourmet food hall with beans and smiles. With a bricks and mortar cafe in Aranda, pop ups around Canberra and guest coffee in some of Canberra’s finest cafés, Two Before Ten is definitely on the up. They’re now offering hands on roasting experiences on Saturday mornings, so chat to the guys about when and where, and enjoy the results.
My Sweet Alice will be holding the fort in the other hall from the vintage van they call, well, Alice! When she’s not at Handmade, Alice travels around Canberra helping people to have beautiful and unique events. Chat to your barista if you are planning an event, from a wedding to a school fête, because they’d love to hear from you. And in the meantime, try one of the yummy handmade treats on offer.
If you haven’t visited the gourmet food hall at the Handmade Market, save the date for June 11 & 12. If you have experienced the sights, sounds and scents, we’re sure you’ll want to make a return visit, as the selection of fine food, wine and larder supplies grows with every event.
Our food stalls offer a great cross-section of what Canberra and Australia has to offer. Herbs & spices, jams & chutneys, oils & vinegars, chocolate & ice cream are all represented, as are three of the Canberra and NSW region’s wineries. We’re bringing the cellar door to you at Handmade, with all three wineries offering tastings and advice, selling their unique cold climate blends.
Quarry Hill is a boutique, family owned and run vineyard situated just outside Canberra and is part of the Canberra cool-climate region, with elevations ranging from 630m up to 655m. Established in 1999, it was named after a section of the property that provided rock for the construction of the Barton Highway. It has a diversity of geology including granite, quartz, limestone and shale and features terraces that have been cut into the steep slope of the hillside, providing excellent morning sun exposure and controlled afternoon sun. The vineyard’s four and a half hectares are largely devoted to Shiraz with small blocks of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot, expanding in 2006 when Tempranillo and Savagnin were added.
They’ll be featuring a few special wines at the next Handmade Market, including their young-style Tempranillo that won wine of the month in Gourmet Traveller and their brand new Pinot Gris (that will have been bottled on the Wednesday before the market). However, they are particularly proud of their North Block Savagnin / Sauvignon Blanc blend. The main grape is Savagnin making up about 80% of the blend, with 20% Sauvignon Blanc. While Savagnin sounds like Sauvignon Blanc (and its full name is in fact Savagnin Blanc) it’s an entirely different grape with its own very distinctive flavour profile and palate. This is the 3rd vintage that Quarry Hill has made of this blend, and with each wine, they’ve increased the proportion of Savagnin as they’ve come to understand how it behaves in the vineyard and the winery. “We are kind of on our own when it comes to this wine, since as far as we know, nobody else in the world does this blend” says Russell Kerrison from Quarry Hill.
“The varietal characteristic that most people pick up from Savagnin is green-skinned apple. You get this on the nose and on the palate with some citrus and balanced acid. There is a strong presence of fruit on the palate that many people perceive as sweetness, despite this being a dry style of wine with minimal residual sugar. It has a lightly textural palate and a very crisp, clean finish. The wine is very enjoyable to have on its own, while its crisp, clean finish means it works well with a range of food – seafood, antipasti and spicy Asian dishes.” Chris Shanahan gave it Wine of the Week in the Canberra Times and James Halliday gave it 90 points, making it well worth a taste.
Mount Majura Vineyard is situated on the eastern slopes of Mount Majura, close to the centre of Canberra. Its unique site is characterised by red volcanic soils also containing limestone, producing wines of real character. Also known for a range of unique cold climate wines, the team from Mount Majura is particularly proud of the recently-released 2015 TSG – a Tempranillo, Shiraz and Graciano blend. They have been making this blend since 2008 and it is one of their best wines. “It blends some of the best varietals we grow and is a real expression of Mount Majura Vineyard,” says Cellar Door Manager, Kate Hibberson.
It is characterised by “dark blue and black fruits, savoury and gamey, with great spice in a juicy medium bodied style.” Kate would recommend that the classic match to this wine would be lamb. “A braised lamb pie with plenty of herbs and spices is a perfect match and delicious in this cooler weather.”
The TSG has recently been rated 96/100 by James Halliday and is certainly a favourite of Mount Majura’s customers.
Twisted River Wines will be at the Handmade Market for the first time in June. A boutique vineyard located on the Henry Parkes Way, halfway between Orange and Parkes, it is nestled on the edge of Goobang National Park, where coastal and western plant species overlap. Twisted River Wines focuses on producing low yielding, high quality grapes. The diverse geology of the area provides ideal soil. With a high elevation, Twisted River cool climate wines are medium bodied. The fruit flavours are more forward, which makes the wines crisp, bright and vibrant.
Their signature wine is the 2013 Shiraz Viognier. This medium bodied wine is their interpretation of the great wine from the northern Rhône Valley in France. With raspberries and spice on the nose, varietal pepper and well integrated oak on the palate, it has become their flagship red and won them several accolades including a silver medal at the 2014 NSW wine awards, gold medal and trophies at the 2014 Cool Climate Wine Show and a gold medal at the 2015 Royal Agricultural Society of Queensland’s wine show.
On a bright morning recently, I made the short trip to Braddon for a coffee and a stroll. Used to arriving at The Hamlet for lunch or an evening snack, it was strange to find it quiet, but the minute I took in the smoky cooking aromas, I became a convert to the early stop. There, I found Carlos Ramirez Roldan, the founder and force behind Mr Papa’s Peruvian street food, who found the time for a chat, while the Hamlet was waking up.
Carlos is an advocator of making plans, but is aware that plans change and is very comfortable following a different path when they do. His route to Mr Papa is an example of following the opportunities instead of the plan. His catering life started early when he got involved in his grandparents’ catering company. From the age of eight, he would go in the van with staff to market, spend 20 minutes loading the van with produce and return for the day’s cooking. By 13, he was put in charge of buying supplies. Carlos’ journey from Lima saw him cross the Pacific a roundabout way. He studied hospitality management in Lima before securing an internship for a hotel chain that led him to America and five years with the Hilton group. On his return to Peru, he started a restaurant with a friend, until his father in law planted the seed that studying at ANU for a Masters would be a good idea. (He himself had studied in Melbourne.) Before he even started a course here, he was offered a job with another hotel group that offered residency, so the course was put on ice for a while.
While working in 2012, he started helping one of his colleagues out at the Multicultural Festival. He admired this colleague’s “life perspective” and relished the opportunity to contribute to the community, but found that he equally enjoyed catering within the market environment and the seed for Mr Papa was sown. The name Mr Papa was easy to find. “Papa” in Peruvian is a type of stuffed potato, and as this was the first dish on his menu, he quickly adopted his now-famous title. In 2014, he was the only person in Canberra offering Peruvian food, making him unique and in-demand. He was asked to cater for 800 people at the Gold and the Incas Exhibition at the National Gallery and as a result, the enrolment at ANU might have to wait a little longer.
The business now operates in three areas. His van at the Hamlet serves the Braddon regulars and Mr Papa can be found at markets and festivals as a pop-up stall. But it’s the catering arm of the business that is thriving and growing beyond expectations. With a trend towards festival style weddings, the crew is busy with at least two weddings every month. Customising a canapé style to suit the theme of the wedding, Carlos and his team go above and beyond, creating an entire bar from scratch for example. He is also popular at the Peruvian embassy – recently catering during the Peruvian general election.
Mr Papa is also a regular at Handmade, serving hundreds of specials to our hungry shoppers. Carlos says that Handmade is a “market on a different level” with more attention to detail and creativity than any other market he knows, reflecting the openness to new things that is characterising Canberra at the moment. He is amazed and delighted that Canberra is growing its own vibe, citing “so much creativity” as the defining feature of his new home.
Showcasing Peruvian culture is what drives Carlos. Around 60% of his ingredients are from the Canberra region and he relishes working with local suppliers and producers to get the best of what’s on offer. However, the remaining ingredients are shipped every 3-4 months from Peru itself, allowing him to retain the authenticity of the brand. He wants to provide his customers with an experience. “I don’t just want to sell you a bottle of water,” he says, pointing to the bottle in front of him. “I want you to remember who you bought it from.” In keeping with this authentic style, he is currently customising a 1962 truck, previously used to transport racing cars, to become a mobile van. Combining street food, Peruvian culture and vintage style is a recipe for success and a plan that he is definitely seeing through.
Canberra’s changing seasons are one of the things that makes it so special. When the nights draw in and the mornings shine bright but cold, we love to complain, but Canberra always looks its best when the trees are turning red, orange, yellow and purple.
And March is a vibrant time for events in Canberra. When you are planning your trip to the nation’s capital to visit Handmade, there are so many other things to see and do that you are spoiled for choice. To help you, here’s a rundown of our current top three destinations in each of our categories.
WHAT TO DO
- Handmade Canberra opens its doors at EPIC on 12th & 13th March, 10am – 4pm. With free parking and free entry, there are 220 stalls with Australian made homewares, fashion, gifts and gourmet products.
- Get up early and see Canberra’s majestic balloons take off from the lawns of Old Parliament House. Balloons inflate from 6am, launch from 6.30am until 7am and there’s breakfast until 10.00am.
- Finishing on Saturday 12th March, Enlighten comes alive as the sun goes down, with many of Canberra’s iconic buildings lit up in a spectacular way. With a full programme of events and a night noodle market, there’s something for everyone.
WHERE TO STAY
- With individually styled rooms, all housed in the spectacular Nishi Building, Hotel Hotel will delight those wanting a weekend break in unique style.
- For understated luxury, The Burbury and its sister, Hotel Realm are centrally located and luxurious.
- For family-friendly accommodation, try One of a Kind Apartments in Dickson, very close to EPIC. Each apartment is styled to a theme and offers privacy in a secluded but convenient setting.
WHERE TO EAT
- Head to The Hamlet on Lonsdale Street for fresh and tasty street food, then pop in to Frugii for the smoothest ice cream in Canberra.
- Take the scenic route and pick one of the Canberra region’s many beautiful vineyards for a bit of lunch. Don’t forget to stop for the latest vintage on your way out.
- Try the Wedgwood Tea Rooms at the National Gallery for a white tablecloth afternoon tea with a beautiful view.
- When the Autumn leaves start to turn, the best view of the city can be found at the top of Mount Ainslie. Starting behind the War Memorial, the trek to the top is tricky but not impossible and the reward is worth the effort.
- Take the kids to the Pod Park at the National Arboretum. With yet another spectacular view of the lake and the city, you can sip a barista coffee while the small ones work off their energy.
- At ground level, the paths around Lake Burley Griffin are perfect for working off that breakfast. Try the 5km bridge to bridge circuit, or tackle the more ambitious full circuit of around 16km.
WHAT TO SEE
- View the Tom Roberts Exhibition at The National Gallery. (And while you’re at it, enjoy the gallery’s beautiful architecture.)
- Check out the Spiders exhibition at Questacon. Not for arachnophobes.
- Head to the GIO Stadium to see the Brumbies or Raiders.
So, plan your weekend carefully as there is a wealth of things to do at this time of year in this beautiful capital city of ours. But make sure you have enough time to spend at the Handmade Market. We’ll see you there!
As we approach Australia Day, the team at Handmade Canberra has been considering what it means to buy Australian made designs. Since its inception, Handmade has focused on promoting Australian designers and Australian made products for many reasons. Here are some of them:
It’s good for the Australian economy.
The Industry Capability Network has demonstrated that for every $1 million spent on Australian design – roughly the amount spent at each Handmade Market – the following effects flow through the economy:
- $333,900 worth of tax revenue generated
- $985,000 worth of value-added generated
- $95,000 worth of welfare benefits saved
- 10 full-time jobs created
It’s good for the environment.
An Australian made product doesn’t have to travel thousands of kms to reach us. The savings on fuel alone make a significant impact on the environment. In addition, the majority of our designers produce unprocessed items on a small scale, which doesn’t require factory conditions, use of natural resources and methods that are damaging to the environment.
It’s good for your family and friends.
Everyone has friends and family members that have taken the plunge and set up on their own. Buying Australian handmade products benefits the “little guy”, those people you know who have their own business and work very hard. Even if they’re not running a business of their own, the knock-on effects of buying Australian made products include local prosperity and job creation.
You can be sure of its origins.
There’s a lot of press about the large Australian companies who manufacture in Asia failing to really test the origins of their products. The results are unsafe sweatshops filled with children working for slave wages, with no visible benefits to the country’s economy. Australian made products have to adhere to the strictest standards, so you know that the people making your products are not being taken advantage of.
Quality is guaranteed.
Artisans pride themselves in their work, and the reputation of a small Australian business is at stake if its products don’t meet the grade.
Australians are pretty good at design.
Wow, there are some talented people in our Handmade gang! That’s the main reason we do what we do. Australia is a country that nurtures great ideas – always has – and we have a lot to take inspiration from, with our beautiful landscapes, natural features and minerals, flora, fauna and wildlife. In a place where the sky is blue, the lifestyle is easy and creativity is rewarded and lauded, the standard and originality of design is the best in the world. Go, team Oz!