I'd actually never been to this 'food and produce' market either, considering it was just a 10 min walk away for me. It was a glorious winter's morning (Sat 25 Jun 2018); the atmosphere, number of stalls, variety of food vans, and the vibe of the market was just perfect. It could only have been enhanced with a live muso serenading the punters. It's going to be a nice change to hop over here every now and again, for that open-air community vibe on a Saturday and leave the rest of the week to pound the pavement of Chapel street for cafes and restaurants.
Because I'd slept in, I didn't get to the Markets (runs from 9am to 3pm every Saturday) till around midday. Luckily I headed straight for MinnieSweets , whom after just three hours, had but 8-10 pieces of their gorgeous confectionary left. I grabbed 4, and saw the rest disappear soon after. There was still 3 hours of Market to go.
Make sure you have Saturday 8 September 2018 (9am to 3pm) firmly marked in your diary, as that's the next date MinnieSweets will be at the same market. If you check their Facebook or Website, undoubtedly there'll be information as to where they'll next be each week. You can also follow them on Instagram and salivate over images of food porn.
Minako (Minnie) and Nick, manning the stalls, have mastered the art of customer service and are ever ready to answer your questions and chat about what goes into the making of these delectable delights with a smile. Minako is a one woman machine, creating what can only be described as edible art. It's just what you'd expect from Japanese culture; creatively and precisely constructed, with a whole lot of cute factor, down to the individual mini boxes each piece comes in.
Minako's love affair with sweets began when she first tasted Japanese confectionary at a wedding, as a four year old. The taste and joy she felt, never left her memory. She was eleven years old before she had her next lot of sweets, at High School in Japan, in the preparation and learning of the Tea Ceremony where Matcha (powdered green tea) is used.
A combination of coming from an organic family where everything needed was grown in the garden, and everything put on the table was made by hand from scratch, Minako's path was sealed when she worked in the food section of a department store, exposed to a variety of desserts. Her palate lent her to a preference for the Japanese, to Western sweets, and she brought the memories of all those flavours with her when she migrated to Australia 11 years ago.
Minako is self taught, and she's been honing her skills for many years before she ventured into setting up a stall at the markets in February (2018) this year. Her first market was the South Melbourne night market, and since then she's been at many others in Fitzroy, Abbotsford and more. If you already know and love the taste of Japanese confectionary with core ingredients like Matcha, Adzuki Beans, White Beans, Yuzu (superfruit) and Kinako, you'll love the understated sweetness of this Wagashi experience. Wagashi (Japanese sweets) is a fine display of refinement and subtlety, appreciated not just for their flavour, but also visually for their exquisite form.
Minako does just that. She creates delicious, delicate, authentic and seasonal sweets encased in feather-light glutinous rice flour; from nerikiri, daifuko to yatsuhashi, she creates that amazing wagashi experience right here in Melbourne. On average, each piece is $4 for that handmade, edible, delicious work of art. She also caters for special events like birthdays, receptions, baby showers and more. There are many vegan and gluten-free options, if you have dietary considerations. Impress your guests and family and message them on their contact page (minnie@minniesweetsmelbourne) if you'd like to get in touch with enquiries, including special orders and catering for events. Do note that they need at least 2 weeks notice for special orders.