Fork on The Road

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Food Tours and Markets

As someone who loves to cook food that sets both my mind and my taste buds on fire, I love bringing ideas and ingredients back from far flung locations. And, for me, the best way to learn about the local foods and food culture when traveling is to listen, ask questions, and be fully engaged on food tours and in the local food markets.

Formal food tours are often great ways to get to know an area through the eyes of a local. I like to take these tours on the second day (of a 3-5 day trip) in town. By the second day of a trip I’ve generally seen enough to have questions the guide can answer, and will have formed a few impressions of the area. Any earlier and my guide’s wealth of knowledge may be largely wasted. Any later and I may not have time to put their advice to use (hunting down a particular ingredient, market, cheese maker, butcher, or restaurant).

Whether it’s a big, crowded, open air local market – stalls overflowing (with local produce, meats, cheese, and sweets), a small urban market that locals visit on their way home, or a neighborhood bakery that bakes loaves for all of the local families, if you are polite, and genuinely curious, the people will often tell you what they eat, why it’s important to them, and how they make it.

In these entries I try to focus on local independent tours and markets, but will write about supermarkets and chain stores if they have something significant to offer. Be warned that markets are very changeable, so these entries may change their hours, or selections frequently. I try to keep up, and update things, but if it comes down to writing updates, or giving you new content, I’ll spend my time bringing you something new. I assume that if you are a curious cook, you’ll do some sleuthing on your own before you go.

To be honest, when others are checking Trip Advisor for restaurant advice, I’m scanning it for local markets and frequently appearing dishes and ingredients. And my questions for the host of my BnB tend not to be “where’s the beach”, but “where can I buy these spices, or that cheese, or a bottle of good local wine”.

Latest Posts

The Limerick Milk Market: Big Top Fun in the West of Ireland

Afew blocks off the River Shannon and several centuries out of step with nearby King John’s Castle, a big white tent stands tall and proud in the heart of Limerick.  The Milk Market, open most Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout the year offers visitors a broad selection of fresh local and regional produce, meats, cheeses, […]

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West End Gourmet Tour: Exploring Copenhagen’s Meatpacking District

Most of us know the Danish capital as the place to go for open-faced sandwiches, herring, and molecular gastronomy. But, steeped in history, and bursting with creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, Copenhagen is a fertile playground for culinary creatives, curious cooks, and the just plain hungry.  But for those of us with limited time and money, and […]

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London’s Borough Market

While London is a good food city, it is a big city, and the pace and layout of the central core can often make you feel pressed for food buying options in terms of quality, if not quantity. That’s why wandering into Borough Market, in the very heart of things, is such a treat. It […]

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Valencia’s Russafa & Cabanyal Markets

While Valencia’s Central Market is widely acknowledged as the go-to food market for both locals and tourists, there are other options for curious cooks who want to get to know the local food offerings.  Mercat de Russafa (The Russafa Market) and the Mercat del Cabanyal (Cabanyal Market) offer Valencian meats, produce, spices and kitchen goods, and are […]

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Fish Finding in Split, Croatia: The Internet is for Suckers, Like Me – or Why TripAdvisor Isn’t Your Friend and Shouldn’t Be

Palm trees.  Stale pastry.  Humidity. That’s what I remember about the fish market in Split, Croatia. At 6:30am I was already drenched in sweat. Prowling the “Riva” (Split’s waterfront promenade) before the crowds hit I was dismayed to feel the heat already baking my brain. Or perhaps that was the fever I felt for fish.  […]

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Your Dekalb Farmers Market: Atlanta’s World Market

Ahh, there it is. It’s the musky, fertile smell of heaping mounds of produce. This unmistakable odor hits you when entering a really big market, and is, for me, the scent of adventure and mystery. It’s the aroma of my early adulthood. Living in Atlanta in my mid-twenties and finding my way in the kitchen, […]

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A Tale of Two City Markets: Shopping in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is not known for its food.  It’s a vital transportation hub, a gold mine for history buffs, and a “must see” for Game of Thrones fans, but it’s also the trophy wife of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast (it’s pretty and expensive).  But anyone looking to score some tasty treats for their boat ride out to […]

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North End Market Tour: Eat & Shop Your Way Through Boston’s Historic Italian Neighborhood

Boston’s North End neighborhood has the distinction of being Boston’s oldest residential neighborhood. But more than that, it is the epicenter of all things Italian.  The streets here are packed with restaurants, small local stores, and artisan food purveyors. While the complex maze of streets and alleys may seem confusing, and the profusion of shops […]

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