Tag Archives: markets

Venice markets and a food tour..

The band is playing, the seagull is watching……it must be market day in Venice!

 

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In May we spent a month in Italy, and I’ve finally sorted most of the photos ready for a few posts on Italian gardens, and some markets.

Paul and I are interested in growing food, and we enjoy seeing food at local markets when we are travelling.

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The markets are behind the stairs.

The Rialto markets of Venice (a fish market and a produce market) were built long before the Rialto Bridge was in place.

These Markets keep up the tradition of all good markets; that food is much better grown locally, and eaten fresh and in season.

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The fruit and vegetables are carefully displayed and clearly marked, a perfect opportunity to learn the names of vegetables in Italian, at the same time as buying the produce!

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Much of the fresh food is grown on the island of Sant’Erasmo…look at the amazing white Bassano asparagus.

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The purple Sant ‘Erasmo artichokes are very popular too.

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Our guide, Francesca, explains that only the white inner part of this artichoke is used for cooking.

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This happy market worker is cutting the artichokes up, and putting the white part into water, for later sales.

There are not many Venetians still living in Venice itself, and so locals all seem to know each other. In the Italian way, there is plenty of talk and laughter and good humour. Francesca has lived in Venice most of her life and considers herself very lucky. As she says, she can walk everywhere and never has a traffic jam going to work! (she says she knows how to dodge the crowds)

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The Piscaria (fish market) was re-built in 1907, and we had heard that sustainable fishing is an old tradition in Venice. The marble plaques show regulations set centuries ago for minimum allowed size for lagoon fish.

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The fish is glistening with sea water it is so fresh..

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Mackerel

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This was our first food tour in Italy, and Francesca guided us towards a tiny bar, full of delicious cicheti (small snacks like mini Panini), and of course, a glass of Prosecco.

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I had some small artichoke balls, seen on the top of the counter, and they were delicious!

At our next stop we were offered Panini with some traditional serving of Baccala ( a dried salted cod mixture) and a variety of meats, artichoke, olives, anchovy, chilli, mixed vegetables, and beans.

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The shop window had an intriguing array of herbs and spices, all artistically arranged on the plates.

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We went to a restaurant for lunch and had black pasta made with the ink from squid.

It is testimony to the lovely food and good company on the tour, that I was too busy eating and talking to take photos of this!

The charm of Venice is not just the water and canals, but the small tempting restaurants, often tucked down alleyways, away from the crowds.

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One thing we learnt quickly in Italy, Italians love to eat, socialise, and celebrate life…

….salute to that!

Copyright Geraldine  Mackey. All rights reserved

 

 

 

Only in Paris

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In tribute to the sad events happening in Paris, I am reminded of our trip to Paris last year. As always, the markets of a city or a town tell so much of the character of a place.

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Okay, so they weren’t all markets……

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I think we’ve covered all the major food groups for lunch…cheese, bread and wine…and of course the local patisserie…I loved the sing-song way they would say

“”Bonjour Madame!

…Bonjour Monsieur!”

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You’d think these pesty tourists would let a cat sleep….

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Our apartment was above the patisserie and the chocolate shop….the smells each morning were wonderful…

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IMG_0448 2 (1024x798)When we  came back from sightseeing the markets were packed up for the night, and…..someone has made an bouquet  of the scraps of fruit and vegetable

…only in Paris

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All photos copyrighted by Gerrie Mackey

Canberra’s markets build a community

Canberra is  surrounded by productive farming land. For many years these farmers and producers were beholden to big supermarket chains to buy their produce.

IMG_6216 (1024x890)However, in recent years a few really good markets have started up in Canberra, giving farmers and producers a chance to sell directly to the public.

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We go to the Southside markets most Sundays. We don’t go to get a bargain, (although we often do get one).. we go because we like to know where our food is coming from, and to support local growers and producers.

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The stallholders themselves not only meet customers, but develop links and friendships with each other.

Two farmers who come from  the Tilba area (near the South Coast) have stalls next to each other. One grows strawberries and the other is a dairy farmer, he sells cream, milk and yoghurt, and cheese ….

…now the strawberry grower sell strawberry ice-cream ….

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We went to the markets before breakfast today…but I’m definitely going back to try the strawberry ice-cream…and all that fresh dairy produce….the farmers tell me it does not  affect cholesterol at all!!

We buy regularly from Russell who owns Windellama Organics. He is a methodical and painstaking grower and producer and today he has the first of his spring produce, radishes, kale, rhubarb, free-range eggs and lots of wonderful jams…and pickles.

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Canberra is a great market for South Coast fishermen, it is easy enough to get to Canberra for the weekend, and wonderful for Canberrans to have such a choice of fresh fish.

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This Narooma sign says ” We only sell sustainably caught fish from two family boats. We do not sell imported or farmed fish. We are happy to answer your questions…..

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The girl who is filleting our Flathead remembers her grandfather’s fishing days and is also telling us some stories about surfing near the headlands at Narooma….sounds very brave, having seen the waves last week.

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Another favourite stall we visit is Burnbar Fruit. These farmers come all the way from Alstonville. Their farm, in northern New South Wales, is far enough away to produce avocados long after we can get fresh ones here in Canberra. They drive to Canberra every fortnight for quite a few months of the year….just over 1 000 Km…

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We love their avocados, their bananas and their sense of humour. They are unfailingly cheerful even in winter months….and what an adjustment from their mild climate to ours….

Once spring arrives everyone stays to have coffee, pancakes, bagettes, and whatever is on offer.. my favourite musician is playing classical guitar…I don’t think you can’t put a price on the happiness music brings to a place..

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On our way out we notice another star of the markets, Clover the piglet. She is owned by Wisher Woods Sanctuary who fund-raise for abandoned animals…I suspect Clover is quite safe in that department, but she is a wonderful drawcard. However this morning she is a little over the paparazzi and after this photo was taken she retired under her sack.

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There are so many more markets to talk about…we’ll be back..