Some of my happiest travel memories come from farmers markets. They’re great places to get a sense of the local culture and cuisine. Great places to shop if you have a kitchen. Great places to grab a delicious set of picnic ingredients if you don’t. And great places to grab souvenirs.
Because what friend or family member doesn’t love getting fancy French jam or locally-made Swiss chocolate or a jar of Italian pesto hand-made in the countryside?
So when we decided to spend our winter in Switzerland, I sought out a few popular markets for days spent browsing and buying and just reveling in the bountiful feeling those giant piles of fresh veggies and lines of bottled apple juice and baskets of bread give me.
In the end, I only made a handful of purchases at the Bern farmers market, as we were off to Italy a few days later and I didn’t want anything to go bad. The stars of the show were a cute, sweet little squash that I roasted and turned into a dessert puree, a soft, spreadable garlic, herb, and cheese spread, a tangy sun-dried tomato spread, and a pillow-like focaccia bread.
The end result was a picnic-like dinner that was one of the best we had this winter.
Going to the Bern farmers market? Here’s the skinny:
What you’ll find: fresh seasonal produce, cheeses, mushrooms, bread, pastries, marinated olives, spreads (I recommend the cheesy garlic spread; look for unlabeled plastic containers of spreadable cheese), spices, fresh apple juice, clothes and specialty items.
To get there: According to their website, the market is at Waisenhausplatz, but when I went that side was mostly clothes and trinkets and the farmers market was actually at Bärenplatzbrunnen. From the main train station, head east on the bustling street called Spitalgasse and make a right at Bärenplatz (you’ll see the market stalls spread out to your right).
When to go: Tuesdays and Saturdays January through March and the month of November. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays April through October. In December, the produce market is replaced by the Bern Christmas Market.
Language: Primarily German and French, but you’ll also find plenty of English here.
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All photos taken with my Sony a6000.