In South Africa, markets have only really become popular in the last 3-5 years. But one that has been running and insanely popular over the last, well for as long as I can remember and then some, is the Pretoria Boeremark (Farmer’s Market in Afrikaans). And what makes this market so much more fabulous is that it’s right here in my city (Pretoria for those of you who were wondering).
Just a little bit of background info… Pretoria is not exactly a “foodie”-destination in South Africa. Cape Town has that all covered and Johannesburg gets the runner-up prize. Johannesburg, even though in the same province as Pretoria, is still a 50km drive, so not really somewhere you’ll drive just for food (although I’ve been known to drive into the very heart of Johannesburg to the Oriental Plaza for their Samoosas and Prawn curry, but that’s a story for another time). So to have such an old and much-loved food institution in my home town is really exciting, well now that I’ve finally visited it.
Yes, you heard right, I’ve never been to this market until recently, but now that I’ve finally been, I’ll most definitely be back. The Boeremark only happens on Saturdays between 5h30am and 9am and you absolutely have to be there early to get the best stuff, and I promise you, you want that stuff.
My friend and I got there just after 6am and already we struggled to find parking and the market was bustling with shoppers all looking for the freshest and best produce, freshly baked goods and the most delicious coffee you will find at that hour over a weekend.
There are so many fabulous stalls but some just jumped out at me because, well, they sold my favourite food stuffs. Like the Dutch cheese makers who sold me the most amazing Peppered-Gouda. I had a few samples of their magnificent cheeses but the Peppered-Gouda was just perfection.
Then there were the father-and-son team who produce some of the most delicious looking pies and quiches I have seen in a long time. Combinations like Beef & Guinness, Smoked Oyster & Beef and Steak & Kidney all sounded mouth-watering, but it was their Duck & Cherry pie that got my vote. Their pies are filled to the brim with flavourful, succulent meat and after eating a small Duck & Cherry pie AND a Chicken Pie, I was in heaven!
But my absolute favourite was the French artisan baker who sold me Chocolate Croissants and a Garlic & Parmesan Ciabatta so good, I will walk through the desert for it. And I’m not over-exaggerating. Alexander the bread baker was so charming and so helpful that I almost followed him home just so I could take a sneak peak at him working his magic with bread dough. But you will be happy to know that I didn’t.
Other delights were the amazing Vetkoek & Mince (deep-fried dough resembling a bread roll filled with curried mince and grated cheese, directly translated Vetkoek means Fat Cake and that is exactly what you will look like if you eat too many), proper Indian Samoosas and the man who sells the most amazing Proteas (our national flower) for so cheap, it should be illegal.
I am so glad that I found this gem of a market and I am excited to be returning regularly to explore all the products and learn about all the producers. Market life, I love you!
The Pretoria Boeremark is held every Saturday at the Pionier Museum in Silverton, Pretoria. visit www.pretoriaboeremark.co.za for more information.