If you’re looking for something fun to do with the family on a sunny Saturday morning, or just want to indulge your inner foodie, Hazel Food Market is just the place.
The bunting-lined park (situated in the bustling Greenlyn Village, Menlopark) comes alive every Saturday morning with passionate purveyors of fine food products, and glorious aromas of fresh food fill the air. Lively but relaxed, the market has a pleasing slowness about it that makes it almost impossible to leave.
Hazel Food Market founder and owner Retha van Hoven speaks fondly of the fast-growing concept, which has become a huge part of her life since its conception in January 2009. She is passionate about re-establishing the consumer’s relationship with ingredients, and opening the lines of communication between producers of fresh food. The market has also afforded food enthusiasts a space to meet and form lasting bonds with farmers, cooks and bakers alike.
Hazel Food Market boasts over 70 stalls with myriad irresistibly good food items. Extensive brunch options include everything from juicy burgers fresh off the grill, homemade biltong, fragrant freshly ground coffee and artisanal handmade cheeses to authentic Indian and Malay curries, and homemade jams and preserves.
Popular stalls at the market right now are Belnori Cheesery, which specialises in a variety of delicious handmade goat’s milk and cow’s milk cheeses, and an array of other freshly made dairy products.
Another well-loved stall, hailed by many as the number one food experience at the market, is the cleverly named Dough & Lambitious, a fantastic duo between a passionate braai master and a baker. Theirs is an idea of fuss-free, melt-in-the-mouth spit-braaied lamb, with all those crispy bits stuffed in the loveliest freshly baked pita bread. You’d best come early, as a winding queue quickly builds up in front of the stall every Saturday morning, with mouthwatering wafts of roasted lamb and fresh bread filling the air.
For the coffee fanatics, Spout offers a wonderfully fragrant array of beans from all over the world to take home or send as a gift to a loved one, as well as take-away cups of hot, delicious coffee to enjoy on the premises.
Another favourite stall of mine is Mohammed Fahzier’s weigh-and-pay Indian spice stall, a vibrantly colourful one-stop spice shop with an enormous variety of fragrant curries, spices, dried herbs and robust, MSG-free seasonings. The stall also offers customers an opportunity to mix spices to form their very own special seasoning to take home. Expect woven bags heaped with herbs and spices like dried tarragon, larger-than-life bay leaves, and Mohammed’s very own rustic tikka seasoning, which includes whole and broken dried chillies, vivid red paprika, dried onion flakes and pungent cumin seeds.
To sip on, The Juice Bar offers freshly pressed juice using only the very best seasonal fruit. There is also bubble tea and refreshing homemade iced tea to enjoy with your meal.
Hazel Food Market has created a wonderful sense of community amongst food producers from all over Gauteng, an exciting space for those of us who love to eat, to enjoy fresh local produce, and tasty, satisfying home-cooked meals. The market also offers a great day out with the whole family, with a laid-back ambience, more than enough seating space and fun activities for the kids. The market is wheelchair friendly with absolutely no stairs, so you won’t miss out on anything, plus it’s pet friendly and offers ample parking space. Card facilities are not widely available, so if you’re planning on visiting anytime soon, remember to carry some cash or download the Snapscan app on your smartphone for another convenient paying option.
Retha has worked tirelessly to establish the market and to source only the most committed food producers in Gauteng. She speaks of re-introducing a night market, and aims to continue sourcing more seasonal fresh produce, listing popular items such as avocados and pomegranates.