Story and photos by: Vivienne Pearson
It’s a new market but it is not a new market. Let me explain. The Byron Artisan Market is a seasonal creature, existing only at twilight during the months of daylight saving. It therefore kicked off on Saturday and will run through until March 2017.
The term artisan applies to the food on offer as well as other stalls. The food offering has expanded this year so I went to check it out.
It is a market where you can snack or feast. The offering is truly multicultural with stalls and stallholders hailing from France, Belgium, India, Thailand, Bali and Japan (as well as a couple of long-term locals).
Savoury delights include gyoza (Japanese-style dumplings), Balinese meals, smoked meat from Jerry’s Smokehouse, samosas by Rami Baga, savoury crepes, Thai food, and an intriguing mix of French frites and baguettes with marinated kangaroo.
For a touch of sweetness, you can indulge in a sweet crepe, handmade chocolate from Puremelt, a made-from-scratch apple tart (from the French Bistrot), Belgian chocolate mousse or Knox&Aya’s vegan ice-cream.
If thirsty, head to the juice stand, get a coffee from the Belgian cubbyhouse on wheels, or a hot chocolate or chai from Puremelt.
And to take home, there are jams, chutneys and sauces from Byron Steve – see our story opposite.
I tried a range of food and, though I try not to play favourites, I must mention the use of black rice by Sala Thai (richly flavoured and apparently containing more fibre than other varieties), Puremelt’s whole-raspberry surprise chocolate, the delicious samosas, the tongue-tingling juice, and the entertainment value of watching your crepe being prepared.
It seems that stallholders and punters love this market for the same reason – the atmosphere. ‘It’s perfect as the day cools down,’ says Sarah Wheeler from Puremelt. ‘I love this market; it’s such a nice atmosphere,’ says Cecile Charrue of Peace Love and Crepes. ‘I missed it over winter,’ says a local who visits most weeks.
Maybe the best indication is Jerry King, who came to the market as a punter last year and loved the atmosphere so much that he applied to be a stallholder. ‘It’s not over the top; it’s a nice place to hang out,’ he says. He adds that the market has a family vibe and he is spot on. The market area backs onto a playground, plenty of space for a picnic rug, and some of the best climbing trees in the Shire.
While the rest of Byron Bay can be a tad frenetic on a summer’s Saturday night, the Artisan Market offers a welcome oasis.
The Byron Artisan Market is held at Railway Park, each Saturday 4–9pm, until March 2017.