Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Markets of Zagreb

Today we went to visit the Market. Near the main square, every day vendors set up and breakdown stalls to display the vegetables and flowers they have for sale. Having lived on an island where vegetables are highly prized – especially a variety of them – this was a dream come true. I love walking through vegetable markets and today was an even better treat as there was a huge area set aside for nothing but flowers. Holy Moly – lilacs and lily of the valley, tulips, pansies, iris, roses, and many more I could not name.

The fruits and vegetables were in abundance, fresh and of many varieties. I could not help but drool over everything offered. This is the season of asparagus, especially wild asparagus which I had tried at the restaurant the day before. I found it had a wonderfully light flavor, unlike the asparagus we normally buy which I feel is a little strong. The wild asparagus is much smaller and thinner and more delicate. Several varieties of mushrooms were available along with different varieties of lettuce. They had large bunches of what appeared to be a vegetable similar to collard greens but I am sure it was a green of a different name.

Continuing on we came across the sea food market. Squid, octopus, scallops, and fish of all shapes and sizes were displayed on beds of ice. Joan informed me that octopus is much better if it is frozen first and there were several frozen octopus on display. The fresh ones, she said, should be taken home and frozen before attempting to prepare them. I was able to sample octopus the final night with my hosts when we went out for dinner. David ordered an appetizer of octopus; thinly sliced and marinated. It was wonderful. I had also sampled his squid the first night we had dinner out and it, too, was delicious. I especially liked the tentacles! I noted that the scallops at the seafood market were displayed in their shells and still had some of the “guts” attached. They were far bigger than the Gulf scallops my husband and I use to snorkel for at Crystal River in Florida.
We then proceeded to the undergound market which was, literally,underground. Here fruit, vegetables, meat and cheese are sold. This is a permanent market and is not broken down each day. Joan says she prefers to buy her items here as in the "breaking down" process in the open air market, fruits and vegetables tend to get bruised much easier. Isle after isle of delicious products were displayed and at several stalls, “Grannies” (as Joan called them – older women from the countryside) sold their homemade cheeses. Both market areas were clean and none of the over-ripe meat odor one experiences in the meat section of the market in LaCeiba!

We had to run some errands and stopped by one of the banks to process paperwork needed by David. On the ceiling of the bank was in a huge stained glass in the ceiling. What a treat to find a work of art in a bank!

We then walked over to the International School where David, as Executive Director of CEESA (Central Eastern European School Association), has an office. The school is housed in a imposing building that is spread out over what appeared to be several acres. This is a private school were they teach pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade to the children of Diplomats, foreigners and some Croatians.

We returned home to enjoy an appetizer of fresh cheese and crackers before consuming the delicious pasta meal Joan assembled, accompanied by large fresh radishes (my passion), a fresh salad and a lovely white wine.

Havala Joan (thank you Joan in Croatian)!

1 comment:

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