market

In the beginning … was Greece

In the beginning … was Greece

As we all keep living in the eternal present, we are grateful for the recent past. Last winter we caught the Paris sales and moved on to Athens, a city we had wanted to visit for years. Even while we were there in our rented apartment, we kept seeing ominous news of an infection that was sweeping Wuhan in China. Not long after we got back to Boston in February, it had jumped to Lombardy. The rest is already history, with more in the making. But we wouldn't give up that trip for anything. Even Greek friends told us we'd get bored after three days in Athens, but for us, a week was still not enough. Beyond the amazing sites from antiquity and the stunning...Read More
Enjoying the sheer immersion of a Mexican food market

Enjoying the sheer immersion of a Mexican food market

Diego Rivera (see last post) wasn't the only one obsessed with Mexican food markets. It's funny that Americans think of Mexico as a place where all the meals are based on dried corn made into a bread (tortillas), dried chiles made into sauces, or dried beans made into burrito fillings. Given their druthers, most Mexicans eat fresh fruits and vegetables as their dietary mainstays. True, they do love to grill and deep-fry some foods, but the key to the Mexican table is fresh food. That could include some pretty exotic stuff. The basket of small gray stuff in the left pane above is huitlacoche—fresh corn infected with what American farmers call ‶corn smut.″ It's a fungus that makes the kernels ooze with an inky, musky...Read More
From the market’s parish church to the tastiest street in Paris

From the market’s parish church to the tastiest street in Paris

In Paris this winter, we visited Saint-Eustache as consolation for the closure of Notre-Dame cathedral. With its soaring spaces and grandest pipe organ in Paris, Saint-Eustache (saint-eustache.org/) provided a real spiritual uplift. Although the church's present structure dates mainly from the 16th century, part of the plan was loosely modeled on the 12th-13th century French Gothic cathedral—a hint of glory by association. Saint-Eustache was originally the parish church of the market district, known as Les Halles since medieval times. When Paris moved the central fresh market to the suburbs in 1971, many people viewed the destruction of the old market buildings as a crime against the spirit of the city. One of the side altars in Saint-Eustache memorialized the loss in a mass of statuary...Read More
Findlay Market Tour circles the globe

Findlay Market Tour circles the globe

We met a true kindred spirit when we signed up for a Findlay Market Tour led by Barb Cooper (90 minutes, $30). She and her husband used to operate a fresh produce and specialty shop at the market. In 2012, she founded Cincinnati Food Tours (cincinnatifoodtours.com) to show visitors the ins and outs of the market. Her company has expanded to offer nine different tours, but the Findlay Market tour is the original. Just as Findlay Market, completed in 1852, is itself an original. It's the oldest continuously operating public market in Ohio. Like all such markets in the pre-supermarket days, it provided fresh produce, meat, and fish to city residents, including the large German population of its Over-the-Rhine neighborhood (OTR). “In the last 10...Read More
Chili, bbq, fine dining, social justice rise in Queen City

Chili, bbq, fine dining, social justice rise in Queen City

Cincinnati chili was the lure. We always have high hopes for any community that has its own food specialty, especially if it's a signature fast food. It means that the folks who live there take pride in their traditions—and it usually signals a strong dining culture. That proved to be the case when we spent a few days eating our way around Cincinnati this summer. The Queen City has all the hallmarks of a great dining destination. In addition to that chili, we discovered delicious and eye-poppingly colorful raspberry chocolate chip ice cream at Graeter's. A welcoming breakfast and lunch place crossed the traditional breakfast sandwich with pimento cheese. We dined at an upscale riverfront barbecue institution as well as an elegant gourmet restaurant whose...Read More
Saint John City Market reveals the city’s foodways

Saint John City Market reveals the city’s foodways

One of the first places we visit when we arrive in a new city is the public market. Sure, we're curious about what's in season, what the fishermen are catching, and what local food specialties we might discover. But it's more than that. People who make a living nurturing their neighbors are among the friendliest folk you could hope to meet. We always feel welcomed and at home after spending some time chatting with food market vendors. That's why we found ourselves in the Saint John City Market (http://www.sjcitymarket.ca) on the first morning of a short trip to this small New Brunswick city. Given the hour, we made our first stop at Uptown Donuts, where Melissa Whiting from Grand Bay, New Brunswick, has been brightening...Read More
Robust harvest from New Mexico’s high desert

Robust harvest from New Mexico’s high desert

Sometimes we just get lucky. We drove straight for the Santa Fe Railyard on the opening day of Indian Market earlier this month. We smugly figured we could park there and walk into the plaza where the gigantic gathering of Native American artists had already sucked up the downtown spaces. When we opened the car doors, the air was heavy with the come-hither scent of fire-roasted green chile peppers. We knew we were on to something good. In fact,we had stumbled into a glorious celebration of northern New Mexico bounty, or more specifically the Santa Fe Farmers' Market (1607 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, 505-983-4098, santafefarmersmarket.com). Now 50 years old, this institution takes over the Railyard plaza every Saturday year-round, as well as Tuesday mornings...Read More
The lavender lady of Aix champions the scent of Provence

The lavender lady of Aix champions the scent of Provence

“This is the 'gold of Provence.'” a lovely older woman exclaimed us as she handed us each a sachet so that we could inhale the minty-floral aroma of lavender. To us, the purple blossoms are the signature scent of Provence. But, according to Béatrice, not all lavender is the same. She insisted that the best is grown in the fields surrounding the ancient fortified village of Sault in the High Vaucluse. She is dedicated to spreading the word. “I want to keep the tradition alive,” the former French teacher told us. “The family has been growing lavender for 400 years. The soil and sun around Sault impart unique flavor.” Béatrice's table at the Tuesday produce market in Aix almost overflowed with sachets stitched from traditional...Read More
Sun-splashed markets make Aix a shopper’s dream

Sun-splashed markets make Aix a shopper’s dream

Just 45 minutes north from Marseille by train, Aix-en-Provence is incredibly cute and utterly Provençal. It almost seems fabricated by a clever group of artisans to send tourists home with suitcases full of the accoutrements of French country design and the ingredients for the celebrated cuisine of the sun. Since it was our first opportunity to visit one of the great market towns of Provence, we scheduled our trip for a Tuesday for the broadest range of open-air markets. Also available on Thursdays, the produce market, flea market, flower market, and textiles and crafts markets are less crowded during the week than on Saturdays. Or so we were told. It's hard to imagine if any more people could have crowded into the mostly pedestrian streets...Read More
Marseille swirls with scents and sounds of North Africa

Marseille swirls with scents and sounds of North Africa

If we were placed blindfolded on bustling rue d'Aubagne, the scents of ginger, cumin, and mint and the liquid sounds of Arabic spoken around us would convince us that we were in a North African kasbah instead of the streets of France's second-largest city. That cosmopolitan worldliness is part of the allure of Marseille. It is a global city in the midst of the region that gave “provincial” its name—Provence. To locate an immigrant culture in any city, we always look for the food market. The main thoroughfare of Le Canebière assumes a North African accent a few blocks uphill from the Vieux Port. A jog east onto rue d'Aubagne suddenly immersed us in the immigrant district. A few streets up, a jumble of carts...Read More