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The Art of Market Shopping

Category: Savoir Vivre | 04.26.2022

As shopping at country markets is as much an art as it is an experience, we offer a few suggestions to help you enjoy it:

  • Take a straw shopping basket with you; not only will it help you “go local”, but it will prevent your fingers being sliced off by plastic bag handles. (You can buy them at most markets, or your house may have one or two.) During hot weather it’s a good idea to take an insulated bag too (available in the frozen foods section in the supermarkets) for keeping cheese, fish, etc. cool till you get home.
  • Do a quick tour of the market before buying anything; get your bearings then go round again to buy the best of what you’ve seen.
  • Observe the locals; watch where they shop for their huge variety of crusty breads, their cheese, their produce. Remember, they’ve been there before and they are masters at the art of market shopping.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the vendors on how to prepare an unknown vegetable, or if you can sample the olives or strawberries. Ask to sample the cheese, prosciutto or spreads before you buy; most vendors will be happy to oblige.

By now, it should be nearly noon; time to find a seat on the nearest terrace for a coffee or a cooling drink, to watch the passing parade, and dream of the delights you are going to create with your purchases. Soon you’ll be asking, why do they only do this once a week?

In fact, country market shopping is such a “must do” activity while visiting Europe that we often include it in our destinations’s Perfect Week Guides for example in our Perfect Week in Provence or in our Perfect Week in Umbria

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