A Swiss Market Worth a Detour
If you love markets as much as I do, then there’s one you definitely shouldn’t miss here in Switzerland. It’s in Vevey, Montreux’s neighbor, a city on the northern shore of Lake Geneva, and not far from Lausanne. A massive market with fruits, vegetables and products both local and exotic, takes place on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. It’s usually on the main square by l’Hôtel de Ville, but when we were there earlier this summer, it was all along the water. Could not imagine a better setting for a market. Well worth the 2.5 hour train from Zürich, which was a beautiful ride in itself.
Colorful stands, friendly people behind them, more than happy to tell you where the products are from and take their time to hand pick the very best for you. Going to markets in Europe, there’s a simple question I am often asked, and it just makes so much sense: for when? Do you plan on eating that avocado tonight for dinner or not for another 2-3 days? Do you want your nectarines as hard as a rock, so they’ll be perfect in a few days, or do you want it just ripe and soft to the touch, so you can devour it as soon as you leave the stand? Makes all the difference.
Above you’ll see a market vendor selecting the perfect nectarine for my picnic that afternoon, plus bright red strawberries – the sought after Mara des Bois, as well as zucchini flowers and fresh almonds. Such a difference for us going to a market in the French region of Switzerland, as opposed to here in the German region. Different products, displays, a very Provençal feel to it all for sure. Below you’ll see multi-colored cauliflower and beans, an array of spices reminiscent of a Moroccan souk, handmade pasta, mushrooms and cornichons.
It’s not just fruits and vegetables either. It’s the ultimate one-stop shopping for the perfect picnic. Cheeses, dried meats, breads and even some sweets too. I was there with my friend Romy, who bought some flavored syrups, as well as dry, crumbly caramels (which she luckily later shared at our picnic!). She told me about her Swiss grandmother making them for her now and all throughout her childhood. You can be sure of one thing… those caramels will be making another appearance on this blog, recipe included!
Romy and her husband Matt have been going to the Vevey market for years, and certainly showed Olivier and me the way! Unfortunately, the Saturday we went was just before the summer wine tastings began. Every Saturday from July 11th to September 5th, there is a lively atmosphere from 10am to 1pm at les Marchés Folkloriques. I was excited by the idea of local artisans, traditional clothing, dances to folk music and especially the musicians with those fabulous Alphorns. But many people say the real draw is the unlimited tastes of local wines. You choose your wine glass, a petit verre de cave for CHF 5 or a verre dégustation for CHF 9, and make your way through the market tasting all the regional wines you would like! Best of all, you get to keep the glass, with different artwork each weekend. I got to see Romy and Matt’s collection, which is quite impressive!
The market is a destination in itself, but I’ll share next several other reasons why you’ll want to plan a trip to Vevey. I’ll leave you with one preview: Fork on a lake. Voilà !