There is nothing more guaranteed to delight your taste buds than a morning foraging at Matakana Market. The market is very popular and it’s easy to see why. We made a family outing of it, driving north from Auckland on a sunny Saturday morning and arriving in Matakana around 10.30am. There is so much packed into Matakana that it’s hard to believe that the village is just two long streets lined with shops and cafes. On market days car parking becomes an art and we felt justified in paying $5 to park in the forecourt of a local business just because it was convenient.
The market is a bustly mix of locally grown and home made produce. There are jars of butter made from hazelnut, cashew or peanut, pots of gorgeous herbs and trays of shiny organic vegetables. Breads and pastries, pies, whitebait fritters, hand made sausages, oysters and fresh salmon. Giant free range eggs and soft white cheeses made in the Italian style: mozzarella and the best ricotta ever – so light and delicious that I have been known to eat it directly from the tub before it reaches the fridge back home.
The growers and and the makers are proud to share their stories and happy to offer tastings. In amongst all of this there is fresh coffee, juices and smoothies, to drink which we did while eating our late bacon and egg rolls in the sun listening to the live music. The food on offer at the market changes weekly but it’s always good.
The market spills into adjacent spaces but there are still plenty of places to sit and rest before browsing in the gorgeous boutique shops and galleries that make up Matakana’s main shopping area. There is high end fashion, designer glassware, luxurious stationery and the best of the wines grown around Matakana. In fact, after exhausting the market, it’s a treat to pop into one (or two) of the local vineyards to sample some of their wines and (if you still have an appetite) enjoy some lunch. If wine isn’t your thing, then icecream might be so Charlie’s is the place for you. Ice cream and gelato in a multitude of flavours, morning teas (with clotted cream) and, depending on the season, strawberries freshly picked from the fields behind.
Matakana is a must stop on your way north. It’s worth an overnight stay so you can sample the great restaurants and maybe even see a film in one of the most delightful cinemas in the country. If you have longer to spend, the area around Matakana has much to offer. It’s also an easy 40 minute day trip from central Auckland. Whichever way you look at it, you shouldn’t miss it.
Categories: New Zealand