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Summer in Europe, Shopping at the Markets July 16, 2013

Posted by southtechculinary in Uncategorized.

Generally, lots of people shop at the open air markets in Europe. The vendors travel from town to town and sell their goods fresh from the suppliers. There is a market every day within a 40 mile radius. The market does not offer only fresh consumable goods but also other items such as clothing, plants and some hard ware. Most shoppers are looking for the fresh fruits and vegetable as well as a variety of cheeses and fish or meat. Others are looking for bargains in the clothing section like robes or scarves, hats, belts or jewelry.  On our trip in France we visited several markets on different days. The day we meet our friends half way between Switzerland and France in the city of Thonon, I found this market to be different from previous markets in Annemasse. For instance there was a vendor that sold ladies handbags from Paris but he had only one bag of each because they were designer samples.

 This market was on the foothills of Aboundance and Evian. Based on its location you find several vendors of dried meats (sausages, dried beef etc.) this area of France and Switzerland is called the Savoie region and one of the regional specialties is dried meats.  When you have vendors of dried meat often the cheese vendors are located right next to them. The cheese selection is incredible; you can find cows-, sheep and goat cheese. The cheese varies from market to market because they are made locally.  So at this market we found Abondance, (a cow’s milk cheese), Comte (also cow’s milk), Tomme de Savoie (more cow’s milk) and lots of varieties of goat cheese, including very fresh and then some that were aged. 

The fruits and vegetables also vary according to the area.  This particular area, the Valais is also known for its apricots. But you can also get great apricots from the Provence.  We found the apricots from Spain and Italy to be flavorless, so we avoided those.   One aspect that I like about the French market is: most vendors offer the product to taste.  I was shopping for watermelon for a catering party, not knowing the local water melon I was able to taste before purchasing.  It helps to know the season of fruits and vegetable because they are sold all the time, but tasting the difference between Spanish and Italian or local produce makes a difference. I find it takes time to go to the markets. First you make the rounds, see what’s available and taste samples the vendors hand out. Then zoom in on the particular vendors and buy what is on you shopping list and then some. As soon you done with shopping it’s time to bring everything back to the house because fish, meat and vegetable have to be stored in the cellar for a few days until you head back 3 days later for another trip to the market.

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   1. Patricia Durr - July 21, 2013

The first place I search for are the local markets where you find the real people of a village. Loved reading about your summer vacation in Europe and look forward to reading more articles in the future.

   2. FastPaleo - August 9, 2013

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