“About eighty percent of the food on shelves of supermarkets today didn’t exist 100 years ago.” Larry McCleary
One of the things that did exist over a 100 years ago is Loulé market – and it is still a striking building today:
Here’s an old picture of what Loulé once looked like, long before all the modern shops and restaurants arrived:
And here is the information plaque about the building of the market at the start of the 20th Century
Loule Municipal Market is open Mon – Sat from 7am to 3pm – although the best day to go is undoubtedly Saturday morning, as there are even more stalls outside to enjoy as well. It is worth getting there early as many of the fresh food and fish stalls will start to pack up as soon as their produce is sold.
So why not join me on a stroll around the market – and be warned – there are so many stalls to enjoy that this post is split in two – the second half will be posted next week!
As you enter the market, you are immediately struck by the wonderful colours, sights and scents which are all around you – and a dazzling array of stalls and products to entice you.
I am always drawn to the hanging displays of peppers and chillies – including the famous piri-piri peppers:
The Portuguese are rightly proud of their heritage and culinary delights – many of the products on sale are home-made or locally made and very reasonably priced – including spicy piri-piri sauce:
You can often find a stall where you can taste things before you buy them – I am slightly concerned by the sauce on the right here – although fair play to them for labelling it so carefully!
There are many stalls with fresh fruit and vegetables for sale – all carefully arranged with pride:
There are none of your ‘supermarket’ perfectly sized and shaped selected products here though – these have to be some of the biggest radishes I have ever seen!
Local art and crafts sit alongside fresh produce – these are beautifully hand painted jars of honey for sale:
And if all this is making you hungry already – then the cakes will definitely be on your shopping list – these are amazing:
One of the main sights (and smells!) has to be the fresh fish – the market has an amazing range of different fish on sale – most of it seems to be locally caught, although depending on the time of year, some of it may be from further afield like Norway – all of it is labelled though:
There are fish here I have never even heard of before – I looked up Curvina or Corvina and it is a type of Sea Bass – which is my favourite – so I shall have to add this one to my shopping list:
It’s a working fish market so not for the squeamish – these Salmon heads were for display (I think!) and looked quite gory!
And this little fella was still alive and scrabbling around:
But if all that fish is too much for you – there is plenty more for you to see, including handmade crafts like these slippers – which always look like they might be a good idea for winter on our cold tiled floors:
And in case you have bought so many things in the market that you have run out of bags – you can just buy another one!
Well, that’s half of the market covered – I told you it was a big market! So I’m off to have a well-earned coffee and pastry in one of the many coffee shops that surround the market, and have a rest in the sunshine for a while.
The second half of the market is coming soon…
This post is also part of our A to Z of Portugal, – M is for Market – of course!
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