This post was written by chief boss-lady and littleBIG founder Sally Harley (née Urquhart). 

We have had the pleasure of working with many of Melbourne’s wonderful fresh produce and general merchandise markets for six years now, including the magnificent Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne’s most visited tourist attraction. I will never stop pinching myself over this fact. Melbourne’s markets are such amazing places.

After attending our VIP launch for the Queen Victoria Market’s Winter Night Market 2017 season Wednesday night, I’ve been bitten by the market love bug but again and I’m buzzing. We got a taste of the warmth, flavour and intrigue our Wednesday nights now have on offer thanks to: amazing lighting installations from John Fish (“think hazy walls of red smoke, glowing neon lights and bright white beams illuminating the entire main food hall,” as Timeout put it); incredible eats from Pacos Tacos, 400 Gradi, Southside Smokers and so many more; and awesome design and gift shopping including Out of Anakie’s epic leather and canvas bags and purses and deliciously smelling Coconut Revolutions goods.

And that’s just the Winter Night Market. In Melbourne, every day of the week but one there is an authentic market experience to be had. I can’t think of anywhere else you can replicate it. WE ARE SO LUCKY.

Where else do you find every ingredient you could possibly wish for, and countless ones you never knew existed – fresh, blissfully free of ridiculous superfluous packaging and at great prices (crazy great prices come 3-4pm!!!)

Where else do you find down-to-earth, knowledgeable, approachable salespeople (traders) who make grocery shopping a delight not a chore?

Where else do you find local craftspeople making clever and creative jewellery, art, fashion, furniture… you name it… and selling it direct? Where else do they get that opportunity to make a buck from their own ideas without crazy retail rents and multi-national overlords dictating their prices/brand/direction?

Where else can you grab a great coffee, a comforting meal from one of Australia’s best chefs (hello Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie), gorgeous flowers for home, a gift for your girlfriend and your grocery shop in the one place? Only one tram-ride, stroll or car-park required.

Where else not only provides us incredibly fortunate Melburnians with a soul-feeding place for all of the above on the regular, but is the place we send our interstate and overseas friends to spend time on their Melbourne holiday. Because “you have to experience a Melbourne market”. We’re not sending them to Aldi, Coles or Woolies, that’s for sure!

Ah, markets. I love you.