On my recent trip to Finland, I visited the Medeival town of Turku. Not far from the tall cathedral near the old market square was a street market, and it was wonderful to check out while walking down the Aura River (the heart of this lovely city) towards our other destinations.
The market seemed to be a pop-up market, not a regular market, and I saw a few signs that said “continental market” though I wasn’t really sure at the time if that was the name of the market, or the name of the stall that was displaying the sign – still, there was too much to see and sample to worry too much about names and things, especially since it’s not like I anticipate coming back to Turku monthly (all the way from western Canada). (Though I do hope to get back in a year or two – I just loved Finland so much!)
The first tent looked at first to be varieties of uncut soap from a distance, waiting to be sliced up upon request. The display looked remarkably like the large mounds of soap in LUSH or other such places, but instead the colours and textures behind those glass walls were large uncut rounds and wedges and slabs of nougat!
I made a mental note to return on our return trip back to the hotel (I didn’t want to carry a lot with me on the warm day) and proceeded on, as many different vendors called out (in Finnish) for me to sample their products.
However I did return a bit later to try some of the nougat.. But I’ll share more about that later!
Delectable seasoned olives
Across from the nougat seller was the above olive stand. They had buckets upon buckets of different olives – all with different flavours and types. Black, green, pitted, not pitted, stuffed, not stuffed, and marinated in all sorts of lovely things. They also had a few other things like peppers that you might expect to find among olives. So delicious!
While I was looking, I saw a woman lean over, and pinch a few samples with her fingertips, but almost immediately a clerk came over with a little tray of toothpicks – so I tried one olive with one end, and flipped it to cleanly spear another olive sample with the other end. I think that if it weren’t for all the other sights, sounds, and scents, I might have bought a little dish of olives as my walking-snack… but there was still so much to see!
I sampled an olive stuffed with an anchovy, which was unexpectedly delicious!
Beautifully scented French soaps
An actual soap shop (unlike the nougat that looked like soap!) had baskets full of colored, perfumed delights (I liked the honey, but loved the lily of the valley best of all). Another stall was dedicated to bright fabric and leather tote bags and purses, attracting the attention of the customers in the market pushing along their bicycles and walking their dogs.
The displays were all so lovely -really well thought out – which made me first suspect that this was a regular summer market. In reading and article on the Turku city website from 2012, it looks like last year this was the “French Food Market” but this year it has seemed to open up a great deal, bringing back the French soaps, olives and bakery (which I’ll show you soon!) but also the Italian nougat, deli, and other delights originating from the European continent. Although the article is out of date in terms of upcoming dates, check it out for more photos! (Article is available in both Finnish and English.)
My travel companion contemplated picking up a few pretty soaps to bring back as souvenirs for friends, and loved the lavender soap – but there is still so much more to see!
This post is so long, I’ll be splitting it up into a second post – so come back soon to see the rest!