When my husband and I travel, we love checking out the local food scene. We don’t necessarily go to the high end places to eat. We want to see where the locals eat and buy their food. So we look for supermarkets and outdoor markets. In Europe, it’s so much fun to eat at the sidewalk cafes and people watch while we eat. I loved the look of this one in Tunisia.
One of the restaurants that we had to try was Zeffirino in Genoa, Italy. The last 2 Popes have eaten there and the restaurant is famous for their pasta with pesto sauce. Genoa was where pesto was created – a sauce of bay leaves, oil and pine nuts. It’s yummy. It was a big meal for us for lunch, but it was delish.
They brought us their photo albums of the Popes’ visits. It was quite impressive and had many photos of a Zefferino brother (there are 5) with the Pope and bay leaves being made into large jars of pesto. The Maitre D’ listed many of the famous people that have eaten there and then said “and now you!”.
When we go to the local supermarkets, the hunt is on for regional food. On this trip we checked out all of the olive oil and in Spain we looked for the different types of ham. This ham that still had the leg and hoof attached was enough to make me turn vegetarian!
We also use the trip to the supermarket to stock up on bottled water and my drink of choice – Diet Coke or Coca Cola Light as they call it.
But the most exciting way to see how the locals eat is to find their fresh food markets. Everything from fruits and vegetables, fish, meat, bread, spices and candy are sold there. It seems like every town has at least one. My favorite market this trip was the one in Aix-en-Provence in France. There has been a market there every day since the 12th century. I seem to be a little partial to France of all the countries I have visited. I am comfortable with the language, but maybe I was French in a past life!. But the reason I liked this particular market so much was that it not only had local produce, but also local products, like honey, soaps, lavender sachets and herbes de Provence. I did some damage there! And don’t you love their table covers?
I also had to check out the fabric while I was in Aix. Provence is well known for a particular style that I learned was first provided by the Chinese, many years ago. Then some enterprising Frenchmen decided to make their own. It is really beautiful fabric. But the price??? It made me realize how lucky we are in the states with the abundance and price of cotton fabric. The price was 33 euros/meter. A meter is about 39”, so only a little more than a yard and right now 33 euros would be the equivalent of $44.00 US.