I’m a sucker for a good, old fashioned food market. Partly because I truly enjoy a picnic and partly because I hate massive groceries, but a good food market just about anywhere in the world will draw me in. Given the relative dearth of enjoyable things to do in Frankfurt (at least that I found interesting), my most recent trip was a bit heavy on the food market visits.
The main market in the old city is the Kleinemarkthalle. Originally built in the 1870s, the market was destroyed in World War 2 and rebuilt in the current location in 1954. It houses dozens of stalls with merchandise covering the full gamut of fresh and packaged goods. Meats, cheeses, seafood, produce, flowers and more.
Of course, to visit the Kleinmarkthalle we first had to find the Kleinmarkthalle. Easier said than done. Juggling Google Maps on my BlackBerry and a pretty awful paper map from the hotel I was pretty sure I knew where I was going. There were landmarks along the way and I was recognizing them. Or so I thought. Getting lost is just part of the adventure, however, and before I realized just how off-track we were an even better discovery came along.
I think we might have been at Konstablerwache, but that’s just a guess. What I know for certain is that we had stumbled into an open-air market that was bustling, and it was time to eat. And drink. Sure, it was only about 10:30am, but there were a number of vintners amongst the stalls and they had tastings running. Who was I to insult them by not partaking??
We found pastries and brats. Butchers selling uncooked meat outnumbered the grills running, but not by much. There were produce stalls and flowers and other stuff, too. Eventually we settled on a breakfast menu – pastries and wine (white for breakfast, naturally) – and relaxed at a table, letting the bustle of the market swirl around us.
The break for breakfast also gave us the opportunity to regroup on the navigational front. It didn’t take us long to figure out where we went wrong and adjust our plan for finding the market we meant to visit. And given the historical significance of the Kleinmarkthalle (plus the opportunity to find something else to do in Frankfurt) we set out on our way. Just a few minutes later we were where we meant to show up.
The Klein Markthalle is larger and a bit better organized than the outdoor market. It also had a broader variety of shops, but only by a bit. Stuffed peppers and pastas and more "interesting" cuts of meat on offer than I’ve seen in a while.
Eventually we settled on a menu for our picnic, collected the necessary bits from the vendors and headed out to enjoy a sunny afternoon along the river.
Both were thoroughly enjoyable, though I doubt that the outdoor version runs year round. I suppose it mostly depends on when you’re in town as to which you should plan a visit to.
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