Dining out on holiday enables us to try delicious local dishes freshly prepared, but food markets provide us with a totally different experience. Step into a world of history, infused with local culture and foodie delights. Nothing can beat touching and tasting fresh ingredients, discovering new flavours and stocking up on exotic spices, artisanal cheese and bottles of local wines. We have scoured the globe to find your some of the world’s best food markets.
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, San Francisco
For organic food heaven then Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market in its stunning waterfront location is your place. The market displays an array of fresh foodie delights from dandelion greens to dried figs and almonds, mini tomatillos, jars of lavender honey and chunks of artisan Red Hawk cheese.
Everything here has an emphasis on sustainable agriculture and you can be truly satisfied that you are helping to support local farmers by shopping here. Market events include seasonal cooking classes and food history talks; there are even market tours to delight in.
Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
The city of Melbourne has really established itself as a foodie city and it’s no surprise given the diverse origins of its citizens. Residents of Melbourne include large Greek and Italian communities, as well as many Vietnamese and nowhere are better to try out this mix of cuisines than the historical Queen Victoria Market, which has been serving Melbourne for 130 years.
The market has a vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere and is stacked high full of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood. Special sections of the market are dedicated to Australian wines, exotic meats such as kangaroo and crocodile and teas and coffees. Around the edge of market you will find an array of Italian trattorias, French patisseries and Turkish speciality cafes. Don’t forget to try some of the bratwurst sandwiches that the market is famous for.
For the best choice of Russian delicacies head to the historical Yeliseyevsky food store, housed in an elegant 18th century mansion sparkling with glitzy chandeliers, stained glass and gilt edgings. Here you can buy the best in sumptuous gourmet goods from freshly baked Russian rye bread and brioches to fruit filled caramels, handmade Russian chocolates and gingerbread.
Fill your bags with the finest caviar in the city and pick up a few bottles of Russia’s famous vodka, not to mention cognacs and Armenian berry juice. Better still this luxury food market is open 24 hours a day so if you get a craving for caviar in the middle of the night then you know where to head.
St. Lawrence Market, Toronto
The city of Toronto takes a lot of pride in its food and at the hub of this foodie pride is St. Lawrence Market, a historical market which began in 1803. Housed in the elegant former town hall the market is best known for its fine cuts of meats, sausages and artisanal cheeses.
It’s a great place to soak up the local atmosphere of the city and also hosts many events such as exhibitions and cookery classes by celebrity chefs.
Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid
The historical Mercado de San Miguel housed in a beautiful Beaux-Arts building, lay empty for years until recently in 2009 it was renovated and revived to its former glory. Just a few years later it has become one of the best food markets in the world and an excellent place to stock up on Spanish delicacies. Piles of green, black and purple olives glisten in wooden tubs, bright juicy oranges are strung up next to bunches of asparagus, and pungent bulbs of garlic.
It’s a great place to buy traditional Spanish fare that are great for presents, bundles of spicy red chorizo, fine Spanish wines, golden bottles of olive oil and barrels of sweet sherries. On some days, most often on the weekends you can enjoy live classical concerts while you shop.
So next time you’re on holiday, maybe forgo lunch in that local bistro and discover the delights in the local markets instead. Turn eating into a whole day trip complete with concerts, cooking lessons, foodie talks and artisanal demonstrations.