Everyone eats, so everyone must shop, and when shopping for groceries in Athens, Greece, family cooks to professional chefs find themselves seeking the perfect ingredients in the semi-outdoor shops of Varvakios Central Municipal Market. This is where Athenians shop for high-quality products, especially for Christmas and Easter meal preparations.
The market is abuzz with shoppers and vendors calling about their wares.
Also known as Athens Central Market, in this area streets are lined with vendors featuring meats, seafood, produce, and herbs and spices.
Unlike in America where meat, fish, and even produce is found in prepackaged serving-size portions, Athenians may purchase their meat and fish whole or cut to order.
Butchers feature fresh chicken, beef, pork, and lamb.
Following shops offer everything necessary to complete a full Greek meal from pastas to cheeses.
Of course, there also are shops with olives, oil, vinegars and other special ingredients.
And everyone loves desert, so dried, candied fruits and packaged desserts, including baklava and halvah, a soft fudgy candy made from sesame paste, are sold.
When hungry, there are plenty of little cafes to stop for a Greek meal, pastry, or ice cream.
My only suggestion when shopping this market is to wear closed shoes, especially near the fish. The ground there can be wet and slimy. My friend, Sally, and I happened to venture near there one evening when the cleaning truck was hosing down the lanes. Fortunately, we were able to quickly get out of the path of flowing wastewater and fish guts.
Varvakios Central Municipal Market is open every day except Sunday from 7am to 6pm and is located in Athinas, Athens.
And if you'd like to keep walking, miles of shops and kiosks offer anything else a shopper may seek.
From kitchenware displayed on the ground and fine linens in lovely shops to luggage, handbags, shoes, and souvenirs jammed on hanging racks, deals await residents as well as travelers.
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