When you’re home, “brown-bagging” your lunch often means you’re being frugal and trying to save money. It can also bring visions of a facing a boring peanut butter sandwich rather than enjoying the fruits of a 5-star chef’s culinary creations.

In a word, for some it means deprivation!

But imagine this. You’re in Paris with someone special. For months before your trip you gazed dreamily at photographs where colorful and interesting people gathered at sidewalk cafés to talk and eat. You could picture yourself there. You were with the “in” crowd. And in the distance you could see the Eiffel Tower.

It’s all so romantic, right?

Food from the market makes a delicious treat when traveling

And it can be…however, now imagine this.

You walk across the street to a little grocery store. As you pick out various salads and cheeses and meats you talk with the owner. You place the foods in your woven basket. With the help of a stranger, you pick out the perfect wine to go with your cheese. Add a loaf of freshly made bread and you’re ready.

The store owner wraps everything up for you, places it in a brown bag, and you head off to the Eiffel Tower where, within minutes, you have spread a small tablecloth on the grass and are enjoying the sunshine that filters through the shadows of the Eiffel Tower.

Your meal just became a memory you can cherish for years to come.

Food from the market makes a delicious treat when traveling

Look closely and you may see a marriage proposal in progress…

Because so many cities have open markets it’s easy to ‘do as the locals do’ and enjoy the fruits of the land (and sea) that are in season and in the moment. But here is a word of warning: Once you discover the romance and fun of brown bagging it, you may come to favor the local markets over formal dining.

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Barcelona’s La Boqueria

They call it a Gastronomic Temple. It’s where time stops and everything around you comes to life. You will feel as if you are among the gods and friends as you wander down many aisles of tempting foods and colorful people filled with warmth and love.

Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market

This two story market has more fish and meat than produce, but you can find some great “brown-bag” delights! For example, a wide selection of olives in every tasty color…

Food from the market makes a delicious treat when traveling

Grab a great piece of freshly grilled fish from Buster’s Sea Cove, some olives, cheeses, and a bottle of sparkling mineral water before taking the ferry over to Toronto Island. When the weather is good, you’ll enjoy this little bit of nature just beyond the city separated by water and accessible by ferry.

Food from the market makes a delicious treat when traveling

With a little imagination you will be able to fully enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of each place you visit. In an instant, you can be brought back to that moment in your travels that brings a smile to your face when you pass your own local market months after you return home.

Food from the market makes a delicious treat when traveling

Photo Attribution:

Fresh Cherries at La Boqueria Market, Barcelona

Couple on the River

Couple in the Park (black & white)

Picnic in Paris

  • By Esa L
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