Tavarnelle

Market day

by Rebecca Bricker on June 2, 2013

Every Thursday, rain or shine, the residents of Tavarnelle show up at the town’s main piazza for market day.

It was raining on the Thursday of my recent stay in Tavarnelle, in the beautiful Chianti countryside. Under the cover of our umbrellas, my friend Gianna led me through the labyrinth of stalls.

We started at Alessandro’s fruit-and-vegetable stand. He filled and weighed bags of onions, potatoes, tomatoes, asparagus and flowering zucchini while Gianna told me how to prepare the flowers.

“You make with eggs – buono,” she said. “Cook for five minutes.”

“Two,” Alessandro chimed in.

“Two.” Gianna smiled.

We left our bags with Alessandro and headed to the cheese-and-meat truck. The big merchant trucks at these weekly markets are fully equipped with counters, canopies and freezer cases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cheese-and-meat truck was mobbed – everyone crowded together under umbrellas, calling out their orders. There was lots of chatter and laughter. This is the big social day of the week in Tavarnelle, so no one’s really in a hurry to go home.

I loved the Cheese Guy, who saw my camera and put on a show as he tackled a huge half-round of Parmigiano-Reggiano. First, he scored the cheese with a wire, then sank a big knife through the waxy coating. As the wheel diminished from half to quarter to eighth, he’d flip the sections in the air, while bantering with his captive audience.

I bought a little basket from the rattan furniture vendor that held my bouquet of zucchini flowers.

My luncheon feast that day…

 

 

<<< …a Sicilian melon, a blood orange, strawberries, focaccia and a piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cut with great flair.