Table of contents:
- 1. Stop at the first stall
- 2. Don't have a shopping bag
- 3. Be shy
- 4. Have only large denomination banknotes
- 5. Buy cookware and the like
2023 Author: Cody Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 11:20
For me, spring is synonymous with shopping at the market.
Although I don't have any particularly interesting ones close to home, I gladly travel to reach my favorites, perhaps on Saturday mornings, when I have plenty of time to wander around the counters, look at the goods, compare prices.
Because shopping at the market can be beautiful, good and also affordable.
But it has its rules and, of course, its traps. And here I am, therefore, to point out the mistakes not to commit.
1. Stop at the first stall
Or always the same. The market game works like this: you start from the beginning, look at all the stalls, compare quality and prices, then retrace your steps and make the cheapest and / or best purchases.
It is true that sellers tend to homologate by offering more or less the same offers but, of course, there will be those who will sell you five very fresh artichokes for one euro, some five so-so.
They may not have a degree in marketing, but they know how to play the game very well. So, often, the most striking promotions or the most pushed products, magnified verbally or recommended with insistence, may not be a good deal for you but only for them, who get rid of the goods they struggle to sell.
Of course, this can be an opportunity especially if you go to the market close to closing time. But if at 9 in the morning they "pull after" this and that, ask yourself why. And if the super-mega offer doesn't convince you, go ahead resolutely: two tents farther there is probably something better.
Queue question: is it always true that where there is a queue there is also the best stuff? Nine times out of ten yes, but also take a look at the less crowded counters that perhaps, just to attract customers, have interesting proposals.
This does not apply to single stalls: if there is only one rotisserie in your market, the Saturday noon crowds for spit-roasted chicken will be inevitable but in no way a sign of quality.
2. Don't have a shopping bag
Or, better yet, a trolley. Yes, I know it does a lot of grandma, but it's worse to go around with your arms full of bags or give up on some purchases because it weighs too much.
Not only that: your shopping bag, or your trolley, will hide the purchases already made.
Thus, you can visit two different gardeners or fishmongers without showing them what you bought from the competition, which could trigger unnecessary (for you) professional jealousies.
3. Be shy
Talk and ask. The origin of the goods, the freshness, a little taste and also, why not, the best way to store or cook what you are about to buy (yes, even if you know it for yourself).
Giving importance to the seller, showing that you rely on his competence and professionalism will immediately make you more sympathetic and will lay the foundations of that human relationship which is fundamental for market negotiations.
Above all, having a certain confidence will allow you to deal with even the thorny talk: did you buy a kilo of clams and were they full of sand, tasteless and chewy? The next week, don't hesitate and complain, politely but firmly.
A second chance is always granted. But then the red card must be triggered: two theaters in a row and that desk should be canceled from your tour.
4. Have only large denomination banknotes
Small cuts and pennies. Possibly in your pocket or in an easy to retrieve purse.
There is nothing worse, at least for us girls, than having to open the bag every two by three in search of the wallet, which is always at the bottom, under everything (which in a woman's bag is a lot, a lot of stuff).
Just as it is annoying to have to apologize because you only have 50 euros, when maybe you are paying for a kilo of tomatoes and four apples. Or, absolute misfortune, to see you trim a voluminous change in cents and rummy.
5. Buy cookware and the like
Fruits and vegetables are ok. The fish too. Meat, especially poultry and eggs, are fine. Cured meats and cheeses, olives and dried tomatoes, sweets and candied fruit are many, good and convenient.
In short, all fresh food, the typical ones, the local ones and those of artisanal production are worth the expense at the market.
The rest, with a few exceptions, not much.
I'm not talking about clothing, shoes, toys and the like, which is not the venue. But of pots and cooking utensils, often of very modest quality. Non-stick that peel, so thin and light that the food, practically in direct contact with the flame, burns in an instant. Splintering wooden spoons, rusting knives and so on.
Not to mention all those tools that promise to magically peel, slice and grate everything (starting with your fingers) but then break down on first use.
The average level of kitchen tools on the market is always quite low and not worth the money. So, don't be fooled.
As a loot, whatever good and fresh you have stuffed into your trolley is enough and left over. And it would be a shame to spoil it by cooking on an unlikely pan of fake granite covered with who knows what.
By the way, do you want to know my favorite markets in Milan? San Marco (fruit and vegetables and fish), Isola (fruit and vegetables, fish, mozzarella), Bastioni di Porta Nuova (fruit and vegetables), largo V Alpini (all), via Benedetto Marcello (fruit and vegetables with ethnic incursions).
I would like to know yours, in your cities: where do you go and what do you buy?