Carseldine Markets – A Cosy Winter Wonderland

The Carseldine Farmers & Artisan Markets are well known in Brisbane, providing quality food, arts and crafts to the city every Saturday. However, the Carseldine markets also have an annual event in the same location – their wintertide wonderland twilight markets. It was my first time there last Saturday and I encountered a hugely popular market with over 250 stalls, 40 food trucks, a pop-up bar selling mulled wine, bonfires, live music and a lot more!

The Carseldine Wintertide Wonderland Twilight Markets get pretty busy!

The Atmosphere

I arrived there pretty early on Saturday evening with family and friends, just after twilight actually, to a packed market. I was there with my 12-year-old and his friend and it was good to see there was lots of kids and family-oriented entertainment. However, this was a market clearly for everyone as there was a pop-up bar just near the entrance.

I was almost a little overwhelmed when I entered the Carseldine markets, as there were people everywhere, bubbles floating about and I was confronted with the smell of food and crackling fire. Interestingly, not long after we entered the market, we all split up, quite naturally. It seemed we were each drawn to our own desires and we’d decided, without speaking, we’d all meet up later.

Ice cream rolls!

I took off with the boys and we found ourselves near the food stalls. At this point, I thought the markets were a little too packed and there was a wait for all the food, even though there were so many food stalls and food trucks about. Everybody seemed friendly though and the market had a cosy, European feel about it, with the fire, mulled wine, pancakes and pizza pervading the night air. About an hour and a half after we entered, the markets started thinning out too.

The street food was so good

The food

This was the biggest attraction at these annual Carseldine markets, as the food assaulted you at every turn. Of course, who doesn’t like that? As long as the food is enticing right? And it certainly was. I weaved my way with the boys towards the back of the markets and grabbed them some hot chips. I passed flaming BBQs and various stalls with German hotdogs, Japanese pancakes, Argentinian BBQs, Asian stir-fries and ice-cream rolls. There was literally food for everyone.

Carseldine markets
These empanadas were uber tasty
There’s nachos in there somewhere

I settled on empanadas with cheese, caramelised onion, then mushroom, then spinach – all topped with salsa. They were so good. My son had nachos with pulled beef, his friend had a wood-fired pizza and my partner Nikki had gluten-free soft tacos with chicken. There were also some excellent sweet options at these Carseldine markets too, as we encountered mouth-watering cookies and our team bought a cookies and cream cake. Oooh la-la.

Nom nom

The Drinks

It was certainly a night of indulgence, and to top it off there were some enticing booze options here too. The pop-up bar was located inside a gated area filled with tables and dotted with fires here and there. We all decided to embrace the European-style winter night that was upon us and bought mulled wine. It was almost as pleasant as it sounded. Following this, I had a Stone & Wood pale ale, which I don’t mind, while the ladies had another mulled wine.

The Swiss Alps pop-up bar – clearly where a lot of action is!
Enjoying some mulled wine with the gang

Two Tales Gin

Shortly after, I wandered toward the back of the Carseldine markets and ran into some friends who I was initially coming here with. They had just bought and sampled some gin at a tasting stall. Here I had a chat with the stall owners, who are opening a new gin distillery in Burleigh Heads called Two Tales Gin. They were friendly and passionate about their product and I sampled the three varieties they had on offer – their ‘Anytime’, ‘Citrus Sunset’ and ‘London Dry’ gin.

The Two Tales Gin stall

I admit to being a modest gin drinker, so I had some idea here, and I found their gins very fragrant, which you could easily have neat (which I like). My favourite of the three was their London Dry, which I found to be more of a classic style, but the owner told me they’ve given it a coastal feel, adding saltbush, river mint and kaffir lime. I would definitely buy a bottle of this. My friends did, but I was a bit short on cash seeing I have to allocate funds for further investigations with this blog.

Additional Stalls at the Carseldine Markets

I’ll mention just a few of the many stalls I saw at Carseldine markets: Jojo and Lola’s Jerky Chompers – which are premium dog and cat treats. There was also an interesting record store here and I particularly liked the ‘metal punk hardcore’ section, which took me back to high school upon seeing my old favourites Sepultura. There were also quality-looking jewellery stalls that our friend Paula was investigating, and my son bought a wooden katana at one of the kid-friendly stalls.  

The ultimate treats for your pet – Jojo and Lola’s Jerky Chompers
The cool section
Jewellery shopping
Where Olin bought his katana

The Entertainment

The Carseldine markets had stilt walkers, fire twirlers and live music playing in the gated area next to the fires and pop-up bar. Yes, the small fires were sources of entertainment, as were the comical chefs that carried rubber chickens, wore disguises and wandered about stirring things up by interrupting conversations, with a smile. My son certainly wasn’t impressed though. I could have told them that but I was amused letting them find out the hard way.

One of the fires in the gated area

In all, it was definitely worth the 25-minute drive from my house in the inner city. We were stuffed, pleasantly so, and it was nice to get out of the house and indulge in some winter fantasies (mulled wine, bonfires and cockle-warming food). We don’t really have many winter fantasies in our Brisbane sweat pit!

A few fast facts

  • Dogs, cats and pigs are allowed at the regular Carseldine Markets and this annual wintertide wonderland twilight market, as they have special stalls such as Jojo and Lola’s Jerky Chompers which cater for them! They must be on a leash though. Word of warning, the markets are an assault on the senses so unless your dog is calm, leave him/her at home.
  • The Carseldine Wintertide Wonderland Twilight Market is an annual event held in July every year.
  • The Carseldine Farmers & Artisan Markets run every Saturday.
  • Entry to the annual twilight Carseldine markets is $3 for adults. Kids are free.
  • The annual markets are open from 4 – 10pm and they seemed to die down substantially at around 8:30pm. So if you want to avoid the crowds….

See you next year!

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