Massive Markets, Gorgeous Glassworks and Ginger


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Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Eumundi
July 9th 2014
Published: July 20th 2014
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Eumundi MarketsEumundi MarketsEumundi Markets

The Markets were full of artisans' work and delicious food.
We got up quickly this morning to get to the Eumundi Markets with enough time to see everything before they closed at 2pm (which in our experience means they start packing up by about 12.30/1pm).

Barry stepped out for a moment and came back with the news that the caravan opposite us was Ros and Arthur’s. “Are you following us?” They’d already been here 2 days and may stay another night. We made plans to catch up tonight.

Eumundi is only about 20 minutes down the road so we got there in plenty of time and Barry dropped me off while he looked for parking as the place was packed! It is a very large group of markets, largely undercover, and has stalls full of “Artisans’ work” which ramble throughout the area and make it hard to know what you’d seen and what you hadn’t (and to photograph). There were a lot of places selling health and beauty products, some even purporting to cure everything from psoriasis to nausea (Snake Oil, anyone?). I did buy some Lemon Myrtle antiseptic cream, which I didn’t know the company made, as I love the smell of it and use the soap all the time.

I was more interested in the clothing, jewellery and crafts. I saw a few lovely colourful cotton skirts but reluctantly decided not to buy one as I have quite a few skirts that it hasn’t been warm enough to use yet. We are getting nice days in the early to mid 20s but it’s still quite cold as soon as the sun goes down and in the mornings it can be 2-5 degrees. As for the jewellery, I saw some lovely pendants and several dragons but resisted. It was hard, though! I did buy myself a wide-brimmed sunhat for $28, cotton and double sided, with cream on one side and a lovely aqua blue on the other. It looks really nice on and I’ll definitely be getting a lot of use out of it from now on.

There was also a really good food area with stalls and vans selling anything you could want from paella, Turkish pancakes, Vietnamese and vegetarian dishes to pofitjes (little sweet pancakes) to baklava. It smelt delicious walking past and it was very difficult to choose what to have at lunch time when we went back. Barry ended up with a
The Ginger Factory, YandinaThe Ginger Factory, YandinaThe Ginger Factory, Yandina

The Processing Room, where absolutely nothing was happening.
Cheese Kransky sausage in a roll with salad and I had a French crepe filled with cheese, mushroom and fresh spinach. They were both scrumptious. We also found a stall selling home-made ginger beer. It was very strong and refreshing. I got talking to the man about how he makes it and it is the same way my mum did it when we were kids from a “plant” which has to be made and then kept topped up and fresh every day. I’ve been trying to remember the recipe for starting the plant, I’ll have to look it up because it is much better and less sweet than even Bundaberg or Buderim’s bottled ones (which we’ve found to be the nicest commercial ones).

We also indulged in a packet of warm honey and cinnamon macadamias ($12 so we’ll have to make them last a few days) and some “Frozen Sunshine” home-made ice lollies with so many unusual flavours it was hard to decide what to have. I ended up with coconut and ginger (very strong fresh coconut flavour that dominated the ginger somewhat – but tasty) and Barry had Strawberries and Cream (you could see the strawberries mashed and
The Ginger Factory, YandinaThe Ginger Factory, YandinaThe Ginger Factory, Yandina

These are the vats of ginger in sugar that have been heated and are now slowly cooling for 13 days to caramelise them. The darker the colour the longer they've been in the vat.
stirred into the creamy base – I had a taster and it was lovely, too).

We then headed across the road to a second market which was up a short but very steep incline. By the time I got to the top my knees, which had done well for the couple of hours we’d been strolling around the main market, were getting sore. There were only a dozen or so stalls up there and they were not very interesting compared to what we’d seen, so I was sorry we did it. Still you never know until you go.

We sat down for a bit and then were about to go back to the ute when I spotted the Tina Cooper Gallery in the main street. This was the glass blower whose amazing work we’d seen in Montville so I wanted to see more. The exhibition she had at the back was called “Cornucopia” and it featured more of the wonderful vases with the tropical fish scenes around them and some wall plaques. Of course you weren’t allowed to take photos but she has a website if you’d like to see some of them (www.tinacoopergallery.com). There was also a
The Ginger FactoryThe Ginger FactoryThe Ginger Factory

Our "Taster" plate and small cup of Ginger Refresher Cordial. Highly underwhelming.
20 minute video of her making one of the pieces which was fascinating to watch. It involved her and two well-practised assistants working with incredibly intricate co-operation. There was another glass blower on site who was giving demonstrations of more normal small ornaments and some lovely glass fountain pens but he and Tina were both at lunch.

That was a lovely end to our Eumundi visit. We then set off to Yandina and the Ginger Factory, where Buderim processes their crystallised ginger. We both love ginger and I use Buderim ginger quite a bit so thought it would be interesting to see what they did to it. We arrived just as a tour was about to start so we paid our $12.50 (Senior’s rate) each and joined the group. We were shown into a viewing area that looked down on the processing room – where absolutely nothing was happening! There wasn’t a soul in sight and none of the machines were operating. The guide explained that there were 200 people working there (85 shift workers actually making the ginger products, all apparently on a break, and the rest in the tourist park). She then gave us some spiel about
The Ginger FactoryThe Ginger FactoryThe Ginger Factory

The Garden Walk had some pretty plants.
what they machines did, when operating, and showed a DVD which lasted a couple of minutes. The most interesting fact was that they passed all the ginger under a laser which indentified the quality of each piece and used air jets to separate and bin them in their grades. Anything that was found to be fibrous was used to make the ginger beer. It explains why some cheap crystallised ginger you buy often has quite a few stringy pieces but Buderim never does.

We were given lots of facts and figures about yields and how much they process a year but as we didn’t see any boards nor were given any fact sheets, I can’t remember them. We then looked down on the “Caramelising Room” where there were rows of huge open vats full of sugar water and ginger pieces that were heated and then slowly cooled while the syrup was continuously circulating through it. The liquid had different colours in various vats, which was an indication of how long they had been processing, the darker the colour the longer they’d been in. The process took 13 days, after which they emptied the vat with a large vacuum and
The Ginger FactoryThe Ginger FactoryThe Ginger Factory

A pretty selection of different Bromilliads in the Garden Walk.
started again with a new batch.

Next we were taken into a “Tasting” Room where we were each given a small cup of Ginger Refresher (a cordial I use regularly), which they’d made up with soda water (about 1:1 judging by how strong and syrupy it was!), and a plate with a few samples of cooked food on it. We were encouraged to try the drink but not eat until she’d told us what each one was. We then listened while she explained how to make each one (e.g. the first was a piece of canned pineapple which had been soaked overnight in Ginger Refresher). Unfortunately, most of the samples were not as strong in flavour as the drink and so hardly tasted. She also gave most of the mild ones after a stronger one, just in case you could taste it! We were then told that there was a pack of products used in the recipes, along with the recipes (which turned out to be a little card anyone could pick up in the shop), that we could get discounted because we’d done the tour. I bought one and it was only discounted $1! It contained a range of products which I know and use so it won’t be wasted, at least. On the whole it was a highly underwhelming, disappointing and overpriced tour which I would not recommend to anyone unless they had money to throw away.

They also had a train ride that took you around the gardens but it cost $7 each! We decided to walk around them for nothing. There was a very small manufactured but quite pretty rainforest walk, but as we’d just done some real rainforest walks it didn’t impress either; and a garden walk which did have a few nice plants in it.

By this time we were ready for a break, so we bought some double scoop ice creams and sat down to eat them. I must say that they were the highlight of the visit. They had about 12 different flavours that included ginger, of course. I plumped for Ginger Berry while Barry had Ginger Mango and we both chose Ginger Cinnamon as the second scoop. They were delicious and we both enjoyed the cinnamon the most. I think I’ll try mixing some naked ginger (ginger that has been caramelised but not crystallised) and cinnamon into ice cream myself.

Despite our disappointment in the tourist side of the Ginger Factory, I still spent quite a bit on their products in the shop. I have always found them to be excellent and recommend them highly. I was particularly happy to see the Ginger Bears, (sort of ginger jelly babies only they’re bear-shaped) which I love but seem to have disappeared from shops in Melbourne and, of course, a bag of dark chocolate coated ginger. I’m glad the last thing part of the day was full of delicious things to remember.

Back at the van we had dinner and then Ros and Arthur came over. We enjoyed sharing our experiences and chatting generally again. They had been to the Noosa Botanic Gardens and a lookout further along the road to Noosa and highly recommended them. Ros was unsure if I’d be able to manage the lookout as it involved walking up a steep hill but we can see how it is when we go tomorrow. It has been nice catching up with them again.

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22nd July 2014

For some reason I have never considered the fact that ginger factories must exist. Sounds like it was right up your alley. Nice to find something so unusual! I'd love to have sampled some of the products.
23rd July 2014

Tasty Ginger
We really enjoyed the unusual tastes you don't normally get. It's a shame the actual tour was so feeble, though.

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