Saturday 2 for 1: mercato di Legnano and french market

Legnano's Saturday market

A busy weekend behind us and even busier ones ahead. Yesterday’s changing of the clock may have set off a few groans as citizens were forced to spring forward, but for us it just meant getting to enjoy our loot from Saturday’s shopping trip. Vegetables, cheese and fresh bread topped the list, and this time we stopped in at Legnano in the Milan province. Their Saturday mercato covers over 59,000 square feet of space and bustles with activity involving over 170 vendors. It is usually at these places where you can find uncommon produce such as garlic scapes and turnips with leaves still attached. Legnano isn’t far from where my inlaws live, and since the french market was also making an appearance in another part of town, we brought them along in a sort of mercato madness. I snapped up a kilo of borragine (borage). The leaves will be blanched and mixed with cooked spinach, chard, ricotta and cheese for pansoti in walnut sauce – a stuffed pasta dish from Liguria.

Borragine

Mercato francese FROMAGE

Too bad the final stop for the french market next weekend is all the way in Ancona! A road trip to France will have to be put on hold for another time (gas prices going up to almost 2€ a liter) so this was the next best thing to posing the Eiffel Tower in front of my camera. Along with that fanciful La Tour chevre, we picked up a smelly Mont d’Or, a wedge of even smellier aged cantal, and a dome-shaped Gaperon. A poppy seed-crusted baguette didn’t measure up to the 2€ price tag (it was really stale) but to offset that disappointment a trio of delicious charcuterie – walnut, bull meat, pheasant with cognac – saved the day.

Chevre shaped like the Eiffel Tower!
Clockwise from left: Mont d’Or, Gaperon, chevre, aged cantal.

Charcuterie

It was the first time for my inlaws to join us on an outing like this so I’m guessing that the day was a success (well, atleast for my mother-in-law). How do I know? Well she had a good laugh over the oohing and aaahing on my part and especially when we came across a local bakery adjacent to the french market. Organic breads and pastries by Panificio Grazioli was the discovery of the day. They make their breads using a pasta madre or mother dough, and the quality and variety is impressive. The loaf of pane Altamura that we bought even had a label (edible) that added a distinctive, classy touch to an already excellent product. They also retail organic stone-milled flour from the company Marino in the province of Cuneo. Their website lists an interesting line of products and is in italian and english.

Panificio Grazioli
Panificio Grazioli, via Giolitti 30, Legnano (MI)

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