Summer cast some magnificent hues on the outdoor market: not only by exuberant sunshine, striking and illuminating the orange marquees – but for also cultivating the multicoloured produces donning their summer best.
Combining the sea breeze gently sweeping Helsinki’s Kauppatori, or Market Square, the plaza was a pleasant stroll through a constant feast for the eye.
All without merchants compelling you to buy any of their seasonal wild berries, chanterelle mushrooms, string beans and other typical forages – though they’d probably prefer otherwise – since vibrances do the persuasion. As well as the ubiquitous, piquant scent of dill lingering in the air.
Then, drifting too close to the cooked-foods end of the market and browning protein eclipsed all in the nostrils: the fried fish, sausages, reindeer meats, carried in the wind and leaving mouth salivating. Raw ingredients would have to wait – what could be savoured immediately took precedence.
Around the corner, the Vanha Kauppahalli – Old Market Hall – was a tamer affair housed within a restored historic building overlooking the harbour. Not that it was any lesser an establishment: among the two-aisle hallway, this market quieter, fewer frequented, tidier in cubicle kiosks yet no less restrained in flaunting their finest local produces. It was a worthy respite from the sensory assault of Market Square, for the chronic market dweller.
In this infrastructure – which vividly reminded me of Stockholm’s counterpart – with working refrigeration preserving more spoilable goods where an outdoor market could not. Meandering between the stands, after a quick stop at the mid-chamber Story Restaurant, I found them a sheer versatility of enticements I simply couldn’t resist any longer.
Because a good market makes me loiter and indulge my senses – but an outstanding one sends me filling shopping bags and dashing for the kitchen. If only I had one, so far away from home.