Modena Food Market – Mercato Albinelli Modena Market

Modena Food Market – Mercato Albinelli Modena Market

I still tend to get a little intimidated by the amazing markets of Europe. Markets like La Boqueria in Barcelona, which receives so much tourist traffic, is an easy market to navigate. Many of the stall owners are used to travelers traversing the narrow walkways snapping photos. It is the more traditional markets, the ones like Mercato Albinelli, the Modena food market, which still intimidate me. In this post, I introduce the Mercato Albinelli market in Modena, including how to visit it and make the most of your trip to Modena, Italy. Visiting Food Markets in Italy and Europe Anytime that I am in a foreign country and I am treading on the daily activities of locals with my camera in hand, I worry that I am creating a spectacle of their lives. I never want to interfere and I am always hesitant until I get an okay or a nod. It is not because people are defensive, on-guard or anti-tourist in any way. Instead, it is my own insecurity as a photographer and an observer of other cultures.  In the Modena food market though, this was certainly not a problem. I don’t think it is because Modena is such a well-touristed city. The opposite is the case, as Modena remains a city that is truly Italian and virtually untouched by the tourism that affects cities like Rome.  I believe the Modena market is so approachable because Emilia Romagna is a region of die-hard foodies, and has been since well before the phrase foodie became popular. The region is one that focuses on local products and excels in retaining their food history. And they know it.  Nowhere...
The Best Barcelona Food Market – Santa Caterina Market

The Best Barcelona Food Market – Santa Caterina Market

On prior visits to Barcelona, Spain, we found ourselves staying in hotels near the tourist center of town, Las Ramblas. It also meant that we frequently found ourselves in one of the most beautiful markets we have ever seen – La Boqueria, probably the most popular food market in Barcelona, but that does not mean it is the best Barcelona food market. There are others. The Mercat Santa Caterina is easily the best Barcelona food market. Here’s why, and how to visit Santa Caterina. Searching for the Best Barcelona Food Market When we first traveled to Barcelona, we knew La Boqueria was touristy, but we did not care. With fruit, vegetables, meats, and cheeses displayed stunningly, and a few bars and eateries tucked in the back, we thought we had found heaven on earth. Since our first visit, we have told anyone we know who was heading to Barcelona, to stop at La Boqueria.  Until we discovered a little gem not far down the road – Mercado Santa Caterina, or Mercat Santa Caterina in Catalan. We met Carlos on our Devour Barcelona food tour. Spanish born, Australian raised, he is a tour guide who brings groups through Spain. He luckily told us about his favorite food market in Barcelona, which was only a five-minute walk from our apartment rental. Once we stepped inside we started to really feel like Catalan locals living in Barcelona. We also quickly learned where locals find the best food in Barcelona. Book a Barcelona tapas tour with Devour Barcelona Food Tour Or, check out our review of the Devour Barcelona Food Tour Why Santa Caterina is the Best Food Market...
Taste of Thailand Food Tours – Bangkok Food Tour

Taste of Thailand Food Tours – Bangkok Food Tour

When we first started traveling to Bangkok I always felt intimidated by the Bangkok street food. Then, two things happened: First, we took a Taste of Thailand Food Tour. Second, we lived in Bangkok for about 18 months. In this Bangkok food blog post, I will share how Taste of Thailand Food Tours truly offers a top-notch Bangkok culinary tour. But, I will also tell you about how this particular Bangkok food tour gave me more confidence to understand what a taste of Bangkok, Thailand, is all about – even when we lived there! What is a Taste of Thailand Food Tour From the moment we started our Thailand culinary tour in Bangkok I knew we were in for something different. First, we had two tour guides, a local Thai and an “expat” who lived in Bangkok almost all of her life. We explored the Bangrak neighborhood. At the time of the tour, we had never really explored this portion of Bangkok. It’s so far away from the more touristy areas of Bangkok most known to travelers – Sukhumvit and Khao San Road. It’s a neighborhood that still is not on the top of the list of places to visit in Bangkok. Little did we know that over the 18 months we lived in Bangkok, this neighborhood became almost like our backyard. Even while living in Bangkok, I wrote about Bangkok food, but always thought there were Thai food blogs that understood the local cuisine better than I did. But, our Taste of Thailand Food Tour did a great job of educating us on Bangkok street food, and to...
Patong Market – Phuket’s Fresh Food Market

Patong Market – Phuket’s Fresh Food Market

I may love my luxury dining experiences, and relish the opportunity to dine fancy, but I also love to eat local. Eating local, though, starts with understanding local ingredients. The perfect way to start understanding those ingredients is to explore the fresh food markets. But, when traveling to a beach destination, like Phuket, Thailand, we often spend all of our time enjoying the pool and the ocean view. We never think about touring a food market. That’s why this tour of the Patong market, Phuket’s local fresh food market, was such a treat. Touring Food Markets When Traveling While touring Patong market I was in heaven. There are times when I’m not fond of walking through wet markets in Southeast Asia. Sometimes, they tend to be a little too authentic, and a little too wet. Chau Long market in Hanoi, is a perfect example. Vendors are slicing up meat and dealing with all of the nasty bits. The ground is soaking wet, and splashy. Enough said. It’s in direct comparison to the food markets in Europe. Our favorite is Santa Catarina market in Barcelona, where the market is as functional as it is beautiful. It’s clean, bright, airy, and with lighting perfect for photos. The Patong market in Phuket, fell somewhere in between. I think it was why I was so at home there. The market building is set on two stories. Upstairs, vendors are selling dried goods and cooked food. Downstairs the market was organized, with loads of space to walk around. Stalls were well organized. The entire building was open and airy. At first, I assumed this meant the market was a...
Pastisseria Serra – Catalan Pastry Shop at the Heart of Costa Brava

Pastisseria Serra – Catalan Pastry Shop at the Heart of Costa Brava

We arrived in Costa Brava a little baffled and a little underprepared. In our first week, we had a fishermen’s lunched prepared by a group of chefs, one of whom has a Michelin star restaurant.  We were invited into the home of another Catalan chef, where we met his wife, and his pet goat. We were tasting foods and wines from the Emporda wine region. But we were still learning the ins and outs of Catalunya food and wine, much of it different than the Spanish food we were used to in the rest of the country.  Yeah, we remained a little bit baffled indeed.  Until we spent time with Quique from Pastisseria Serra. We first met Quique at the now famous fishermen’s lunch in Tamariu. Eric sat next to him, conveniently, as Quique is short for Enrique, Eric’s Spanish name from high school. Quique was friendly, and spoke very good English. His dark hair and black rimmed glasses made him seem like a Catalan Matthew Broderick. Although we chatted a bit at the lunch, we did not know his background. During our traditional seafood lunch, when the pastries were displayed for dessert, we learned who Quique was. Quique provided the pastries from his family’s bakery, Pastisseria Serra, in Palafrugell, a nearby town, just in from the coast. The pastries were quite good and traditionally Catalan. Quique asked if we wanted to stop by the shop to learn how to make these Catalan pastries. The Costa Brava hospitality shone through again. Visiting Pastisseria Serra in Palafrugell We arranged to stop by Quique’s shop one day, I thought, to learn how...
Palamos Fish Market and Fishermen’s Auction

Palamos Fish Market and Fishermen’s Auction

Although our lunch at l’Espai del Peix in Palamos was impressive, it was the last day of our three day extreme eating trip through Costa Brava.  We were feeling a little fatigued, and I knew there would have to be something extremely interesting to hold my attention for those final hours.  I worried that a fish market would just not cut it, as we have been to so many fish markets before.  But, the Palamos fish market had something special, something unique, which was certainly a first for us. Seeing the Palamos Fish Market in Action We had just finished a show cooking demonstration at l’Espai del Peix, where the chef cooked up some local Catalan seafood specialties.  There was, of course, wine involved, and dessert.  Although I had a coffee at the end, I was starting to crash. Looking at the itinerary, we only had a few more stops to make before dinner and sleep. The Catalan eating schedule was catching up with me. I had assumed, somewhat naively, that when the itinerary said “Palamos fish market auction” that it would be an explanation of how the auction works, maybe a demonstration.  My fish market experiences have been limited to Asia.  In Tokyo, for example, you have to arrive well before dawn (a time of day we don’t like to see too often) to see any action.  In Palamos, though, the fishing boats arrive in the afternoon after a day on the water.  While enjoying our seafood lunch, I could see the boats pulling into the harbor, the birds swirling overhead hopeful to catch a little scrap of fish. ...