Taste of Travel: Those Super Markets
Europe’s age-old food bazaars reflect local flavor.
By Raphael Kadushin
From the October issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.
Today no chef worth his or her whisk would consider planning a daily menu without checking in with regional suppliers and pinching the local produce for ripeness. But this isn’t news. European hausfraus have been doing it for centuries. It’s called going to market. And the food markets, still thriving in most European cities and towns, rate a visit even if you aren’t stocking your larder. In fact, they offer authentic local experiences to travelers and lessons in culinary and cultural traditions.
Naschmarkt › Vienna, Austria
Vienna’s snaking strip of an alfresco market may have started as a mittel European buffet, but today, the variety of goods and delicacies sold here reflects the city’s blended population. You can still find wooden barrels, big enough to bathe in, filled with more sauerkraut than any hot dog stand vendor could plow through. But there are also Iranian figs, Java peppers, Tunisian olive oil, and Italian prosciutto. And the surrounding stalls that turn the market into a food court dish up every- thing from gyros to Shanghai dumplings. But if you’re in the mood for more of a classic Austrian culinary waltz, you can count on schnitzel served every which way.
Cours Saleya › Nice, France
This isn’t one of Europe’s larger outdoor markets, but Nice’s favorite photo op is a contender for one of the most sun-splashed and inviting markets, starting with the colorful striped awnings tenting the vendors’ stalls and the array of fresh flowers. Local chefs scour the stalls for the Provençal harvest, including white asparagus, olives, and eggplants. But if you’re more interested in eating on-site, grab a slice of the socca, a buttery chickpea-flour crepe that vendors cut into (Read more...)