There is much debate about what goes into a great dining experience – ambience, entertainment, food, service and authenticity. When travelling, often the latter outweighs the other factors, with locally sourced, traditional fare in high demand. With an added peek into the cultural and culinary lives of people who reside nearby, markets offer an experience rich in product, history and local flavour. Travellers can observe merchants vending the region’s specialties, artisans selling their wares and ‘locavores’ eating, buying, and — if you know the language — talking. Markets also indulge visitors’ senses, from the colourful sights of fresh produce to tasting mouth-watering cuisine and the wafting scents of fresh seafood or spices. If this sounds appealing, speak to a personal travel manager to create an itinerary that unlocks the freshest and most authentic food markets in the world.
San Miniato White Truffle Market, Italy
Hidden within a quaint medieval town in Italy, the annual White Truffle Market attracts truffle lovers and foodies from all over the world. Local specialties like wine, olive oil, pecorino cheese, honey, hams, chocolate and other curiosities complement unique truffle-based products such as oils, pastes and sauces. During this time the truffles are at their peak, contributing to a quarter of Italy’s white truffle supply. For this reason, the market is incredibly popular, transforming the town into an enormous open-air tasting market. As well as stalls, there are also plays, marching bands and an array of pop-up eateries serving traditional flavours of San Miniato with specialities from other Italian culinary cities.
Situated next to Marrakech’s historic Medina, this bustling market is a thousand-year-old cultural spectacle, with snake charmers, acrobats, Berber musicians and herbalists to complement its main attraction: food. Although nearby restaurants offer elevated seating to overlook the market, eating in the midst of locals is an incredible experience. Of particular interest is the méchoui – pit-roasted whole lamb pulled by hand and topped with cumin and salt. Vendors will often team this with mint tea for a traditional meal. Ensure you arrive early to see hundreds of chefs arrive with grills in tow, and stay late to watch the critically acclaimed market bring urban legends and oral history to life.
Spice Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey
Once the largest spice-trading venue of the medieval world, the Istanbul Spice Market features mounds of edible exotics, making it a staple for anyone exploring Istanbul. Here, specialty reflects reputation – you will never find a reputable vendor offering Turkish delight alongside dried fruits and nuts. The market offers an extensive array of traditional, as well as lesser-known gems made with fresh produce. Look out for innovative Turkish Delights – dusted sugar powder fruit sticks made of plum or blackberry with hidden pistachio nuts inside. Or, try a fruit döner, a block of fruit paste with nuts that thickens after hours of simmering, named after the renowned kebab variety as it also gets served in very thin shavings. Another highlight are the spices, herbs and natural cosmetics vendors, who design their products around local preferences. If taking home not only the taste, but also the smells of the city interests you, enquire about the perfumes they mix of fragrant essential oils on the spot.
Speak to your personal travel manager today to plan a mouth-watering experience http://www.travelmanagers.com.au/ptm-search/