Tuesday, March 31, 2009

To Market, To Market .....

(Keep in mind that a left click on any of the photos will "embiggen" them for a closer look.)

I often feel overwhelmed in markets, not the big sterile supermarkets but the European-style covered markets. There's such a choice of things and the displays can be works of art unto themselves. There are many local markets here in Rome but the one nearest to us is a bit of a disappointment, doubly so after a visit to Mercat de la Boqueria on the Ramblas in Barcelona. I'm sure there are markets as splendid here in Roma but I just haven't come across them. La Boqueria has a long history as a local market and even though it is now crowded with gawking tourists, like me, still serves the needs of the people in the area.
The glass, wrought iron and tin archway give only a hint about what's to be found inside.
The staples of any market are the fruits and vegetables - I find more local and seasonal things on display here than at back in Canada, not unusual given the short growing season there. And hand and hand with the verduras and frutas are the butcher stalls - some specializing in particular types of meats, though unlike Hanoi there were none featuring Cane - thank heavens. When I see those wonderful hams hanging in porcine splendor I think how much Dora would enjoy picking one out and feasting on it.
Being a port city it can only be expected that the fish counters - at the core of the market - have an incredible selection of things from the sea. I'm still not sure what those long bamboo-type tubes with slug like things hanging out are and I'm not really sure I want to find out. I'll stick to Gilthead, Sole, octopus and shellfish thanks!
The Time Out guide warns that the stalls near the entrance, displaying fresh juices and whole candied fruit jack their prices up for the tourist trade. Its a shame if they do but you have to admit the displays are pretty tempting and just down right pretty.
But this market has more than staples - you can get everything from carry-out soup to nuts. There's at least two tapas bars, if you don't mind pulling up a stool and the crowds, as well as one or two wine shops. Pretty much everything you need for a good meal. But I didn't see a stall offering ice cream!
And I am ashamed to say that my favorite stall in the whole market was this one. Aside from the fact that the little lady who worked there was cheerful and helpful, she also gave away lots of free samples. And topped up the containers after she had weighed them. And you will notice I said containers plural - I had to make a second visit to her just before we headed to the airport.

31 marzo - Sant'Amos

8 comments:

flipstinger said...

yeah! your pics bring back memories when i used to attack those precious "mercados"...hehehe!
i had the opportunity to check a few other ones in Spain and they were grand...

sageweb said...

Oh I am with you on not wanting to find out what those bamboo slugs are. You sure picked the right booth to be your favorite though.

Doralong said...

I could just cry. Damn now I'm starving...

Parsifal said...

Ay, cuantas memorias!

Tater said...

I am green with envy.

Doralong said...

PS- It's funny you mentioned the hams as I just called my butcher this morning to make sure he had my Easter ham order right :)

yellowdog granny said...

oh my Goddess...I could just weep ...I'd push a little old lady in a wheel chair down a flight of stairs for a day at that market..sigh*

Sling said...

I think the slug-like things are tube worms!..Eewwwww.
Your photos of market places are always terrific!