Also known affectionately as ‘Vic Market’ or ‘Queen Vic’, the Queen Victoria Market has been the heart and soul of Melbourne for more than a century. A historic landmark spread over two city blocks, it’s a vibrant and bustling inner-city market where you can shop for everything from Australian fruit and vegetables, and local and imported gourmet foods, to cosmetics, clothing and souvenirs. Because there is so much to see, I have broken the post into fruits and vegetables, this is obviously the vegetable portion. Although the variety of vegetables looks similar to an American supermarket, the species and names are often different. I love farmers markets and while I understand many will find these posts less interesting, you cannot understand the food on your plate without understanding the ingredients. The watchwords of the new cuisine are local, fresh and renewable.
There are a lot of open air markets in Paris but this one on Avenue President Wilson, just down from the Trocadero is said to be one of the largest. This market is technically in the 16th arrondissement, but so close to the 7th that everyone from the neighborhood shops there. The market is open Wednesday and Saturday mornings, from about 7:30 to about 1:30. If you are coming from the left bank, walk across the Alma bridge and turn slightly left up Avenue de President Wilson – you can't miss the white trucks which have brought wines, cheeses, oils, spices, breads, meats and flowers from the country, parked on the street. Similarly, if you get tired of the Eiffel tower, go up to the Trocadero and turn right on Avenue President Wilson.
As we have discussed in my previous post, the food in Paris is amazing. This is the second part in a series I am doing on Paris produce and today I would like to focus on onions. All onions originated in Asia and have been differentiated into over 50 different species. The Paris Silverskin Onion (Allium cepa) is a French heirloom that produces those wonderful small pure white onions needed for the classic dish Coq Au Vin. Sometimes called a “pearl” or “cocktail” onion they are actually a different species. Paris Silverskin is somewhat larger and is a beautiful onion, it also serves well in salads and pickling. Every produce market in Paris has these on display and they remind me of scallions on steroids. When they are as fresh as those shown above, the entire plant is edible, both white bulb and green stems.