The Thursday market in Rio Tera' dei Pensieri
Today was my first free day since the Film Festival started and I couldn't wait to spend some time outdoors and to do some serious food shopping so, being Thursday, I decided to go to the Rio Tera' dei Pensieri farmers' market (close to P.le Roma).
Although far from my house, I didn't want to miss the cosy atmosphere that only small neighbourhood markets offer.
On Thursdays there are two farmers' markets in Venice, one in the morning and one in the evening (more on the latter next week), the one I will be describing today is organised by the association AERES VENEZIA and takes place from 8 am to 1 pm every Monday and Thursday. It's quite small, there are about 6 stalls and they are all located on the left side of the rio tera' (Venetian word that literally means filled canal -interrato= filled and rio=canal-, a street built where once there was a canal). You can't miss it, there is a green sign pointing it out and, anyway, follow the crowds of women proudly carrying their trolleys!
Don't ask me why, but when food shopping, the first thing I buy is always vegetables. Here the greens are sold by the cooperative EL TAMISIO located in Padua. This cooperative was founded in the 80s and gathers different farmers of the area that produce with the organic method, in fact, in addition to their greens, they also sell products of the other members of the cooperative.
I bought mainly veg, precisely some cherry tomatoes, chards, sweet potatoes, early pumpkin, aubergines and garlic, but it's also possible to take home pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, organic fruit juices, rice, beans and lentils. The staff is very friendly and helpful and the value for money is very good.
The name El Tamisio, in the dialect of Padua, means sifter and wants to represent the philosophy of the cooperative, which is to filter ideas and select the ones based on solid values strongly linked to tradition, culture and the environment.
Then I stopped for bread at EL FORNO A LEGNA, company born from a cultural association founded in the 80s and located in Gambarare. The production of bread began in the 90s and since then the company produces certified organic bread and baked goods. In addition to bread it's possible to buy snacks like pizza, savoury cakes or biscuits (something I used to do when I was studying at Ca' Foscari).
I am a big fan of bread, but because I am sensitive to certain yeasts and flours I tend to buy special breads and here the offer is incredible: whole grains, ancient flours, spelt and walnuts, with turmeric and more. My favourite are the sweetish buns with raisins, hazelnuts and brown sugar. Delicious!
The next stop was at the stall of the apiary APICOLTURA CRISTANTE, based in Mestre and offering a well selected variety of honeys and other products like candles, pollen, propolis and...honey vinegar!
In fact, that's what I came for. Much healthier and easier to digest than wine vinegar, it is obtained from the acetic fermentation of mead and it is probably the most ancient type of vinegar in the world, known from the time of the Egyptians. The taste is slightly acid, with a golden colour and an intense perfume, perfect for salads. Plus, being un-pastorised, the enzymes and minerals remain "alive" and, if used regularly, it provides health boosting effects!
The honeys too are special, my favourite are basswood and "barena" (Venetian word indicating parts of emerged land in the lagoon that are regularly inundated by water, thus appearing and disappearing according to the tides). The latter is particularly special because it is becoming more difficult to cultivate. The scientific name of the flowers that give this type of honey is Limonium and, because of the conditions of the lagoon due also to the moto ondoso (swell), the areas in which it grows are now rare.
Rich in minerals, it has an intense perfume and a strong flavour with a slightly salty aftertaste due to the waters of the lagoon! This would definitely be a nice and authentic gift to take home!
My final stop was at LA CASARA DEI BORACIA cheese and cured meats stall. This organic farm is located in Campofontana, in the province of Verona, and produces excellent dairy products. I always buy yogurt and fresh ricotta, but all the other cheese are to die for too.
My husband is bolder than me when it comes to eating habits and here his favourite is a Monte Vecchio seasoned for 3 years and another cheese that tastes like the famous Piedmontese Castelmagno but costs half! He also loves the salami (sorry, I don't eat salami) and appreciates the natural flavour free of hydrogenated salts, which makes it easy to eat and dangerous if left on the table!
I was done with the shopping, but the other stalls are of organic soaps and hemp bags and shirts and one with two ladies that sew, mend and stitch clothes, repair jewellery and design new items with recycled clothes (if you want to get rid of an old jumper, don't throw it away, but bring it here!).
The atmosphere of this little market is lovely, calm and friendly and I suggest you to stop by to have a look. Be aware that you will be offered cheese and chats, so don't be shy and get a taste of the products of our region.
If you are visiting, consider buying transportable local foods, the cheese and meats -for example- are vacuumed sealed, while with a little bit of bubble wrap you can easily stick a jar of honey in your suitcase! After all, is there any gift better than food?
MONDAY AND THURSDAY BIO MARKET
Address: Rio Tera' dei Pensieri
Opening times: 8 am- 1 pm
You might also like: