Tag Archive for 'France'

Markets worth a visit

Wherever I live or travel, one of my favorite things to do is visiting farmer’s markets. Before I leave to go on a trip, I usually have my visit(s) to the local markets all planned out. After a long distance flight, I once arrived with the kids at the San Francisco airport at 10 am on a Saturday, knowing that the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market would close at 2 pm. We took a taxi to our hotel, quickly unloaded our belongings, and rushed to the market in time for a scrumptious lunch and several punnets of berries (in December!). Yes, the kids were tired, but they know there’s no stopping me when there is a new market to be explored. Never mind if I am in a place for only a day or two, staying in a tiny hotel room with no fridge, I will always buy at least 2 bags full of produce.

French markets have got to be my favorite. I love how all the vendors offer generous tastes of salami, cheese, olives and other mouthwatering delicacies. Their salamis/saucison are the best, my favorite being made from wild boar (sanglier) meat or stuffed with hazelnuts. We always buy trays of delicious peaches, fragrant apricots, to-die-for melons and berries of all colors. And don’t get me started about the cheeses. At our usual market in Lamastre, Ardeche, the local speciality is Picondon, a small round cheese made from goat’s milk and available in all stages of ripeness. I got totally carried away on our last visit, thinking it would be safe to bring it back into Australia. The rule is that you can bring in cheeses from ‘foot-and mouth disease’-free countries. I didn’t think however about the lack of labels on my cheeses, which wasn’t appreciated by the quarantine lady, who threw them in the bin. Arrrgh!

 

 

Another great one I keep going back to, is the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC. It offers a wonderful selection of local produce, mushrooms, breads, pastries, cheeses and even duck meats. Of course the surroundings add to the attraction and there is a price to match.

 

 

On my last visit I ventured to Smorgasburg in Williamsburg/Brooklyn to sample some of the adventurous treats I had read about in the New York Times. This market is set right on the waterfront of the East River with a great view of the Manhattan skyline. It is a foodie’s paradise and I was truly overwhelmed by the choice. The food is artisanal, local, seasonal, comforting with a twist, multi-cultural, wholesome, frequently organic and more. I had a very tart hibiscus and honey lemonade, Mexican creamed corn, kale and cranberry salad, pulled pork on a roll, a mini carrot and maple cupcake and an ice cream sandwich that almost finished me off. Yes, I was very full, even so I saved some of it for the plane ride later that day. The selection of fresh produce is still quite small and for now it’s more of a ‘go let’s have lunch and enjoy the scenery’ kind of market.

 

 

The market that truly impressed me most this summer, was the “Porta Palazzo Market” in Turin, in the Piedmont reagion of northern Italy. It is the biggest market in Europe and I have never seen so much produce. And it was cheap, really cheap. I bought one kilo (2.2lbs) of blueberries for 5 Euros and 4 bunches of ruccola for 1 Euro. The selection was fantastic with some stalls specializing in snails or tomatoes in all shapes and sizes. I wish I had more time there.

 

I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it to those markets I have taken pictures of while traveling this summer. No doubt I’ll add other markets as I go. As I mentioned in previous posts, the farmer’s markets here in Perth are well worth a visit and I buy almost all our produce there. The Subiaco Farmer’s market on Bagot Street is continuing to get better. I recently discovered wonderful granola bars at “Food Well Thought” and another organic veggie grower next to the apple lady. Something new seems to show up almost every week. The Mt. Claremont farmer’s market is quite established now and I love the biodynamic produce, the small growers who come with their plums, asparagus, blueberries or avocados and of course the fresh goat’s cheeses from Ringwould.

I hope I inspired some of you to venture out to the nearest farmer’s market when you get a chance. There’s always some new food to discover. I bought live marons yesterday, but you can read about those in the days to come… Stay tuned and eat well!