The handmade market was on yesterday. If you haven't discovered these already, you should check them out! I'm a huge fan. The market seems to have found a stable venue at the Kamberra Wine Centre, after outgrowing the Albert Hall and trying out the Yarralumla Woolshed. The next one will be 11th September - a great chance to start your Xmas shopping. But if you want to get in earlier, there's now also a shop in Civic which has a good selection of the various designers' wares.
The philosophy of Handmade is that the stuff it sells is, well, handmade. It is to local arts and crafts people what the Growers' market is to to local farmers and small food producers. You'll find cards, books, quilts and quilt supplies, felted gear, handmade clothes, bags, teapots, jewelry, slippers and much more. This is the first time that I did not come home with a piece of jewelry by cardog. But I did get a new top by Wendy Leigh - it's made of stretch dark green rayon ribbed velvet, with a black knit cowl neck and a small black lacy sequinned feature.
And then there's the food! Well, here's the full list. Most of them will be familiar if you go to the EPIC and Kingston markets. There's a mix of people selling things to take home and things to eat there. The large area out the back had plenty of seating, an entertainer making balloon animals for the kids, and lots of yummy food for sale. Gourmet pizza and sausages and muffins and more. Also, for the grown-ups, there's Zierholz beer, and local wines and spirits. I wasn't entirely persuaded by the Grog Shed, run by Wombat Heights Liqueurs. I'm not a fan of fruit wines, but if you are, why not give it the walnut rum and cherry port a try.
And scattered through the front open air markets and the indoor stalls were many other food producers. The Curious Chocolatier was there, and I bought a bar of dark choc with walnuts and honey. She makes mostly bars rather than individual pieces, in some very unusual flavours. Coffee and fennel, anyone? Strawberry and Szechuan pepper? There was Lindsey and Edmunds, too, and the Lime Grove and Homeleigh Grove people, and some people making popcorn and caramelised nuts (not together, though I must ask why not?)
And cupcakes - there was not one but two cupcake makers. The ones illustrated are amazing pieces of fondant and buttercream art, from Liz Wright at pARTycakes. I had to buy some for arvo tea - a friend was making a flying visit to Canberra for lawyer and accountant reasons, and a good cup of tea and a cupcake was clearly needed. (And a martini, but that's The Bloke's specialty.) The cakes are not just decorative, but also good to eat. Thankfully, Wright's fondant isn't so sweet as to make you gag, as some are. The cakes themselves are on the solid mudcake side rather than fluffy sponge, good moist rich chocolate and caramel flavours. At $25 for six, these are special occasion cakes.
The other cupcake seller's wares were a little cheaper at $4 per cake, and less dramatically artistic in presentation. They were topped with simple buttercream swirls. But they are good cake - I had a passionfruit one, also quite dense and moist. These are made by A Moment on The Lips, who will deliver you a dozen cupcakes, as well as do more arty things. Check out the gorgeous cupcake bouquets on their website! And they had a very cute fondant sculpted baby dragon and egg cake on display.
The other stuff that I bought was from Crankypants - I know they're regulars at Kingston, but for some reason I don't make it there often enough. I got some proper piccalilli, lemon curd, and smoky caramelised onions. The onions were great topping homemade steak sangers last night. Lemon curd on crumpets for breakfast, and a cheese, tomato and piccalilli sandwich for lunch. Yum.