A Colorful Visit to the Market
And so it was, my regular visit to Zürich’s Bürkliplatz market, of course way before 11am to avoid the- well, you know who! I chatted with a few market vendors and asked about those intimidating Market Police and the funky 11am fine. Turns out the market has a deal with local shop owners, which makes rather good sense. Otherwise, they would hang around all day long and potentially hurt local businesses. Now as far as the fine goes, this one had several readers wondering… just how much? CHF 50 ! 50 Swiss Francs the first time, and if you really can’t keep your hands off those cauliflower after 11am, well the fine goes up from there!
Luckily I was there real early, as is usually the case, and had plenty of time to pay a visit to my fruit and vegetable guy, swing by and pick up a rustic baguette from my bread ladies, as well as the day’s fresh catch from my fishmonger. Most of all, I simply enjoyed strolling through what was a rather lively and full market. Seems that the harsh winter season is slowly saying good-bye, and plenty of flowers and seasonal produce are saying hello. Nothing like bright tulips and promising bulbs to assure you that spring is not far away.
New vegetables took center stage on the market tables as well. Fat, white asparagus stalks are here from Holland, and thereafter will be coming from Switzerland and Germany. Amazingly bright pink grapefruit from some exotic place called… Florida! Bushels of crispy radishes with nary a bite to them. And radicchio – I had only ever seen radicchio already chopped up in a salad. But here at the market, the Tardivo variety from Sicily looks just like a flower itself, and is apparently available only in the winter months. Also, anyone ever cook with the Friar’s Beard as in the photo, right center below? Huh? That’s the translation for Barba di Frate, the Italian name for salsola soda. Its edible leaves are sold in bunches, and are referred to as agretti. But whatever you call them, I have never bought or tasted them. Can anyone shed some culinary light on what to do with them?
From flowers to beautiful, bright vegetables, there was nothing wintery or gloomy about this market. Not to mention two big smiles that brighten it up even more. My two favorite people at the market of course: Werner (below right) with the freshest produce around, and Andreas (below left) offering tastes of cheese and sausage well before breakfast time! Two reasons why I go to the market every Tuesday and Friday…