The Ventimiglia Market

September 10, 2007

On September 6, 2007 Linda and I went shopping in the market of Ventimiglia, across the border in Italy. This market has more and better vegetables and fish than what we find on the French side. It also illustrates Jean Cocteau’s quip that the French are Italians in a bad mood. 

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The center of the market has open stands of fruits and vegetables. Alongside one entire wall are booths where refrigerated or hot products are sold. In the back is an enclosed fish market.

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There are lovely little ladies on the far corridor of the market who have small selections of a lot of good things, including premixed minestrone vegetables. We like to buy from them.

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There are prickly pears from cacti. Zucchini flowers for stuffing or deep frying are colorful.nd.jpg

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The fall mushroom season has already started. The stars are the porcini, or cèpes, as the French call them. The vendors will cut into them so you can see that they have clear white meat without bugs or rotting. There are also top quality dried porcini for sale at several stands. I also bought fresh capers cured in salt.

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In the fish market we bought six fresh local scampi for our dinner that night. We also had a piece of swordfish cut for us for the first course with guests the following night. Ventimiglia has excellent fishing grounds as the Roya river flows out to sea there and the shelf is much wider than it is in our area where the Alps come right down into the sea.mk.jpg  

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There are many varieties of plants, cut flowers and artificial flowers for sale.

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When we first arrive at the market, we usually go directly to one of the butcher stands which features boned and rolled rabbit roasts. We order one or two roasts and return after a while when they are done. Here you can see the progress of ours from the rabbit in the butcher counter, to the rolled roast ready to put in the oven with cèpes and carrots, to the cooked roast, to the carving and the finished plate.

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There are many other stands, of course. The first one below is where Linda likes to buy cheese: tallegio and pecorino.

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The first stand below always has a line of customers waiting; we have never figured out why. The second stand, on the other hand, has few customers as its extensive variety of fresh pastas seem industrial.mt.jpg

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Pizzas are popular, of course, but the real local specialty in Ventimiglia is torte verde. These are flaky pies filled with a chard purée (or also zucchini in summer.)

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There is a very friendly store about thirty meters east of the market where we like to buy prepared foods and fancier quality cheese, ham etc.

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There is also a very fancy store right across the street from the market, Salumeria Walter. We have often bought our Pannetones for Christmas there.

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Linda and I usually agree to meet at Tiffany, a café near the market, for an apéritif before lunch.nh.jpg

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6 Responses to “The Ventimiglia Market”


  1. Friday of course is the very large Ventimiglia town centre market all along the seafront. This attracts a lot of day trippers, some of which travel long distances from France and within Italy. Friday is a very congested experience until around 16.00.

  2. John howell Says:

    Virtual Reality Works. Rolled rabbit was delicious and the day at the market a delight. Francoise says she can’t wait to get to the market.

  3. Becky Says:

    Wonderful post, Michael- I’ll now add this to the list of places to visit someday. I like the addition of shopping/excursion posts! Becky

  4. Carol Says:

    Wonderful description of the delights of the covered market. Next visit I will try to buy rolled rabbit to roast. Incidentally what is the Italian for the joint is it coniglio senso ossi per forno – would appreciate the correct term!

    Greatly enjoy your posts, especially the ones in my area of Imperia.

  5. Blair Says:

    Great post-
    wandering the stalls of the Ventimiglia Market for cèpes and lapin sure seems like a glorious way to spend a day.
    Your rabbit dish looked delicious. What wine did you pair it with, was it successful?

  6. Michael Says:

    Blair,
    I paired it with a 1995 Brunello Riserva which we had bought in Montalcino. It was successful.


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