Benediktiner Markt – Klagenfurt, Austria

The Benediktiner Markt (Benedictine Market) in downtown Klagenfurt is a vibrant and boisterous Carinthian market with a strong influence from neighbouring Friuli, Italy and Slovenia

What to See?

In the Benediktiner Markt, you’ll find a life-sized statue of a fisherman made of chlorite schist. Erected around 1606, the statue symbolizes the old fish market regulations. The inscription states: “So lang will ich da bleiben, sthan, pis mier meine Füsch und Khrebs abgan” (“I will not leave here before I have sold all my fish and crayfish.”) Previously located on Heiligengeistplats in a wall niche, the statue was relocated to the town hall before being moved to Benediktiner Platz.

According to legend, a fisherman from lake Wörthersee came to the market one day to sell his fish. A thrifty housewife doubted the accuracy of his scales but the fisherman swore: “If the scales are wrong, I will become stone!” Suddenly, the fisherman turned to stone for all the market-goers to see. To this day, the fisherman still stands waiting for his redemption.

What to Buy?

Fresh vegetables and fruit, seasonal delicacies, a variety of dried fruit, antipasta, fresh fish, artisanal Austrian and Italian meats and cheeses are available. On Saturdays, the market also offers other products such as woven baskets, fresh flowers, butter molds and other handcrafted wood items as well as sheepskin products. Vintage and antique products can be found along the outskirts of the market and a lively section dedicated to local wines, schnapps and liqueurs. Buskers add to the atmosphere with traditional Austrian music.

What to Eat?

The Market is a great place to relax, grab a cup of coffee or a pint of bear and have a bite to eat. The market halls – open Monday to Satuday – offer traditional Austrian delicacies such as bacon semmel sandwiches with horseraddish, frankfurters, kasnudeln, schnitzel and of course local beers! On sunny days, enjoy one of the outdoor patios where you can chat with the locals and watch the world go by.

Where?

Just a few minutes walk from the Neuer Platz, the Benediktiner market is located in the old town at Benediktiner Platz 9020 Klagenfurt, Carinthia.

When to Go?

The market is held every Thursday and Saturday from 6:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. although Saturday mornings are the best time to visit. Market halls are also open on weekdays from 6:30 am until 6 pm, and closed early on Wednesday at around 1:30 pm. In the market halls you can find fresh fruit and vegetables, some local schnapps as well as some food stalls and a coffee shop. Regional organic product stalls are also set up on Fridays from 6:30 am until 1:30 pm.

Want to See More?

Do you have a favourite market you’d like to share with The Village Plate?

We’d love to hear about it in the comments section!

Markthalle Kulinarium Burgenland – Eisenstadt, Burgenland

Markthalle Kulinarium Burgenland

This weekend welcomed back the Markthalle Kulinarium Burgenland – an indoor market held in the old stables of Esterházy Palace in Eisenstadt, Burgenland.

Featuring some of the best regionally grown and produced artisan food products in the area, the Markethalle Kulinarium provides a great introduction to Burgenland and Lower Austria’s organic gourmet products and culinary heritage.

Esterházy PalaceAn hour or two is plenty of time to visit the market and savour some of the local flavours. Make the most of your visit with a tour of Esterházy Palace or a stroll through the palace gardens.

Where?

Esterhazyplatz 4, 7000 Eisenstadt, Burgenland, Austria

When?

The market runs twice a week from February 21st through to April 4th, 2015.

  • Fridays: 12:30 pm – 5 pm
  • Saturdays: 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

Local Vendors at the Markthalle:

Day-Tripping: Bratislava, Slovakia

'Man at Work' - Čumil the Peeper by Viktor Hulík, 1997

‘Man at Work’ – Čumil the Peeper by Viktor Hulík, 1997

Bratislava – Central Europe’s best kept secret!

Snuggled along the banks of the Danube River, Bratislava is one of Central Europe’s best kept secrets.

Often overlooked in favour of Central Europe’s ‘Golden Triangle’ – Vienna, Budapest and Prague – Bratislava is Slovakia’s largest city but with a population of only 413,000, it is a relatively small compared its neighbouring capitals. While Bratislava’s size might seem limiting, this is more than accounted for by the city’s rich history, relaxed pace and friendly demeanor of local residents.

Off the beaten path…

We started with a visit to Trhovisko Miletičova, Bratislava’s largest open-air market. The market is open Monday to Friday from 6 am to 4:30 pm, Saturdays from 6:00 am – 12:00 pm and closed on Sundays. Summer is probably the best time to come, but Miletičova’s worth a visit even in the dead of winter. Few vendors spoke English, French or German, but they were very friendly and eager for us sample their products. While the heart of the market is filled with make-shift stalls and plastic sheeting, wooden huts surround the market where you’ll find bargain-priced clothing, footwear, flowers and authentic Slovak street food. At the back of the market, you’ll find a small cafeteria and a pub serving local foods and beverages such as Kofola, the Slovak version of Coca-Cola. For those of you with a bullet-proof liver try ordering the Slivovica, a double shot of plum distillate which – at more than 50% alcohol – is the perfect ‘medicine’ to stave off a winter’s chill!

Bratislava 3Bratislava 2

The BazaarBratislava 15

Our next stop was to Bratislava’s historical center and – as chance would have it – an artisan food market and a bazaar in the Old Market Hall (Stara trznica). On the main floor vendors sold artisan cheeses, meats, liqueurs and other local delicacies all offering samples to tempt your taste buds and fill your belly (woohoo – more free food!). Vintage clothing, used book and antique vendors were found  of the second floor and there were plenty of tables set up for market goers to relax with a cup of coffee or a mug of Svařák (Glühwein / mulled wine)

Old World Charm

The historical district is beautifully preserved with colorfully restored building facades and full of old world charm. At the heart of the Old Town, is the Main Square (Hlavné Námestie) featuring cobbled streets, 18th-century burghers houses, the famous Roland Fountain and the Town Hall (Stará radnica) which dates back to the 14th century. You can easily spend an entire day exploring the historical Old Town but keep in mind that many shops close early on Saturdays during the winter although some souvenir shops will stay open until around 6 pm.

Bratislava 18Travel Tip! Keep an eye out for a series of quirky yet charming statues installed around the Old Town, the most famous being Viktor Hulík’s ‘Čumil – the Peeper’, unveiled in 1997.

Bratislava Castle

Towering above the Old Town is Bratislava Castle (Bratislavský hrad). Situated on a hill overlooking the Danube river, this 17th-century Habsburg castle is often called ‘the upturned table’ due its 4 octagonal corner towers. To access the castle, take the pedestrian underpass by St Martin’s Cathedral (Dom svateho Martina) and follow the signs up the steps towards the castle gardens.

Bratislava Castle, Old Town, SlovakiaAs you make your way towards the castle, you’ll see a number of statues. My favourite is on the first rampart and appears to be a Rabenmutter (Raven Bratislava 28Mother) which loosely translates as a loveless or uncaring mother who doesn’t take care of her children. While I couldn’t find any specific information about her, she might be a depiction of Hans Christian Andersen’s fabled Anne Lisbeth. Andersen visited Bratislava (then called Pressburg) in 1841. During his visit Andersen was asked if he would write a tale about the city, to which he replied that there was no need to as the city was a fairytale in itself. There is a statue commemorating the famous fairy tale author in Hviezdoslav square.

On the second rampart, stands Saint ElizabSt. Elizabeth monument, Bratislava Castleeth (1207 – 1231). Elizabeth was princess of the Kingdom of Hungary and Landgravine of Thuringia, Germany. She was born at the Castle but later raised in the Thuringian court before marrying Louis IV who was to leave her a widow by the age of 20. A devout Catholic, Elizabeth known for ministered to the sick and giving clothing and money to the poor. After her death, Elizabeth quickly became a symbol of Christian charity and was canonized a few years later.

Equestrian statue of King Svatopluk I 'Svatopluk the Great' - by Slovak sculptor Ján KulichBy the main entrance of the castle, you’ll find a statue of King Svatopluk I (830 AD – 894 AD) – or Svatopluk the Great – by Slovak sculptor Ján Kulich unveiled in 2010. Svatopluk’s empire encompassed most of what is now modern Slovakia during his reign (870–871, 871–894).

Drawing back the Iron Curtain…

Occupying a unique place in history, Bratislava sits directly on the former Iron curtain which separated Western capitalist countries from the communist East until its fall in 1989.Bratislava 61

The castle grounds offer an excellent view of Most SNP (a.k.a. Nový Most or New Bridge) named after the Slovak National Uprising. The bridge was constructed between 1967 – 1972 across the Danube river. The world’s first asymmetrical suspension bridge, Most SNP is one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world. The bridge spans the river linking the Petržalka housing estate with the Old Town. At the top of the pylon, 85 m above ground, is a UFO-shaped restaurant.

Overlooking the city from the castle grounds, we were overwhelmed by the seemingly endless line of communist-era concrete housing blocks stretching across the vista above the Danube river. Known as the ‘Petržalka‘ housing estate, this area is a good example of what buildings built during the communist era look like and is one of the densest residential areas in Eastern Europe.

After the sun went down, it was time to make our way back to Austria. With only a day to visit, we only scratched the surface but with so much to see and do we’ll be back soon!

Have you visited Bratislava? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

To view more photos from out day trip to Bratislava, visit The Village Plate’s Facebook page!

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Saturday Mornings at Mosoni Piac, Moson Farmer’s Market

Farmer's Market, Mosoni Pia, Mosonmagyaróvár, HungarySaturday Mornings at Mosoni Piac

There is something charming and romantic about European markets. Whether you’re an expat or a tourist just passing through, a visit to the farmer’s markets is a great way to absorb the local culture and get a taste for the regional cuisine.

Mosonmagyaróvár – known as Óvár amongst locals and Moson by foreigners – lies along the Hungarian border with Slovakia and Austria. The market is located along Ostermayer Street by the Chapel Square. Unlike the large central markets in Vienna and Budapest, this quaint little weekly market caters mostly to locals.

The Moson market – known as Mosoni Piac – is a feast for the senses. Breath in the pungent aroma of smoked paprika, feel the texture of ripened fruit in your hands, watch market-goers chat with the vendors while they fill their wicker baskets, and listen to the intoxicating sounds of Hungarian folk music as you indulge your taste buds with juicy sausage or deep-fried lángos (traditional flat bread) slathered in garlic and topped with grated cheese.

When to Go:

Throughout the year, local farmers and vendors arrive in the wee hours every Saturday morning to set up shop and prepare for the day ahead. The market runs all day, but the best time to visit is between 8 to 11 am as many vendors start shutting down around noon. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the weather. While the market takes place rain or shine, you’ll find the best results when the weather is fine and vendors expect a good turn-out.

What You’ll Find:

Making your way through the kiosks, you’ll find fresh fruit and vegetables, honey and bee pollen, strings of garlic and dried peppers, and copious amounts of sweet, hot and smoked paprika. Other local delicacies commonly found at the market include mangalica pork and rolls of parenyica (a traditional smoked cheese). Depending on the season, you’ll also find savoury wild mushrooms or lush bundles of fragrant wild garlic leaves (called Bärlauch in German).

At the other end of the market, you’ll find a small flee market with a large selection of kitchenware, used books, clothing, hand-made wooden furniture, bicycles and other random items for sale.

What to Eat:

Take a break from shopping and grab a bit to eat by the town clock in the heart of the market. Here you can find grilled sausages, savoury lángos or satisfy your sweet tooth with chimney cakes baked on a spit over an open fire.

Things To Do:

Why not combine your visit with a wellness retreat. Take advantage of scenic bicycling routes, thermal baths, or visit one of the many massage parlours or beauty salons. With costs significantly less on the Hungarian side of the border, the town has also become a popular spot for low-cost dental tourism with more than 150 practicing dentists.

Have you been to Mosoni Pia? I’d love to hear your thoughts!