One joy of living in Europe is going to the market. We already posted a story about the spectacular supermarket here in Cascais. But to get super fresh farm-to-table produce, local farm-raised meats, and just-caught seafood, European farmer’s markets can’t be beaten.
On Wednesday, we made our first foray to the Cascais weekly farmer’s market. And judging by the crowd, everyone else in town headed there too. This was much more than a farmer’s market, although the produce section was larger than a football field. We strolled by stall after stall, marveling at the variety before selecting a few items for the next few days. We ended up with a couple of vine-ripened tomatoes, peaches and onions along with a kilo of fresh strawberries, all for the grand sum of 2.70 euros.
This morning we stirred some strawberries into our yogurts and later, finished lunch by splitting a peach. So sweet and delicious!
Surrounding the entire market area were some two dozen specialty food and drink stalls – like an outdoor food hall – with bakeries with the tempting sweets Portuguese love, butchers, wine tasting, craft beers, and lots of delicious looking street food. Ron thoroughly enjoyed his large sandwich, a fresh roll stuffed with succulent black pig pork, kind of like carnitas on superb bread.
We strolled over to the fishmonger building, isolated to contain the extreme smells that always accompany these places. There were lots of choices, although we were unfamiliar with most of the fish laid out before us. When we checked out the price of a small filet, we discovered there were no deals here. The price was higher than the cost of a fish dinner with wine at a local dining spot.
For locals, the dry goods section of the market seemed even more popular than the produce section. Here, we strolled by dozens of tented stands selling everything from underwear and designer fashions to electronics and jewelry. Bargains drew the most shoppers who dug through piles of blouses and shirts for the perfect 1 euro find. Crowded and loud, it was more like a carnival than a market.
But one thing for sure, it’s now on our weekly calendar: a trip to the Cascais market isn’t just a trip to the store, it’s an event!