Karlita, Teresita, and our driver Freddy and shopping bargainer Maritza - We shared a fun "Market Day" together, and more!
When we first landed in Cuenca, we were advised to temporarily rent in the Historic District so we could walk out our door and be close to EVERYTHING. For us it was the best decision because we quickly became familiar with El Centro, and it was so convenient to be in the heart of the action. We never left this area. As a matter of fact, in our "5 moves during the first 4 months" we continued to rent within a few blocks from our first location. Our current place is only 1 block from our first rental - go figure! So, here we are still in the same location 20 months later, and the 10 de Augusto Mercado is our familiar and favorite market. We've heard lots of different OPINIONS about the different markets in our area, from "This one is dirty, that one is clean" to "I shop at SuperMaxi because I'm afraid to eat from that market" - and on and on. We LOVE our market. The vendors know us, they treat us with kindness and charge us fairly, and we've become very familiar with our tienditas too. We know where to find our assortments of nuts and herb and spices, real butter, free range organic eggs, pure olive oil, fresh basil, and on and on. It's all here, just 1 to 2 blocks away.
Cuenca has MANY mercados. Some we have not even visited because of the convenience of always going one block away and then hauling our goods one block back to our flat. Yet, there are so many markets to visit and explore and get to know. That's why I was so excited when my ñaña invited me and our other ñaña to join her for a Friday "Ñaña Market Morning." Oh, ñaña is an Ecuadorian word for sister. We've become such good friends that we are now ñañas, and every Friday we have a ÑAÑA DAY. Sometimes we go to Baños together to soak all day. Sometimes we go shopping in the city and have lunch. This day was going to be our Market Day. And what a fun day it was. Not only did we have a fabulous time exploring two different markets, but we also went out to an elegant lunch in El Centro and then ended it with a most delicious treat. So, let me share our memorable day with you so you can enjoy more of this fabulous city we live in.
PICTURES TELL THE STORY!!!
Me and my ñañas - ready to storm the gates of Feria Libre!
One could shop here daily and not lack for anything on their produce-shopping list!
Ginger is abundant here. We cook with Ginger often, and I love to slice some and steep it in my tea. A huge chunk costs $1.00.
Every variety of potato was available. Our grand find was SWEET POTATOES. I didn't get a photo - I was too excited - it was the first time I found sweet potatoes in our 20 months here. I'm still enjoying them because I bought A LOT!!!
We finished our shopping spree at FERIA LIBRE and Freddy loaded up our produce and drove us on to the Totoracocha Mercado which is only open on Fridays. Here they bring in FRESH seafood from the coast (which is about 4 hours away).
Colorful beautiful shrimp!
........and tons more shrimp!
Mariska helped Karlita pick the best spinach and get the best price.
Beautiful onions - SOLD!
The flower market area was thriving with colorful fresh varieties.
A Colorful HORCHATA Herb and Flower WREATH - sold for $1.00.
My greatest find at this fabulous market was
So organically pure and sweet - NO SUGAR ADDED like lots of honey they sell here.
Eggs were abundant and ranged eight to ten for $1.00. Bo and I buy free-range eggs near our apartment - we pay more, but they are so much healthier and incredibly delicious.
Karlita's Creamy Champiñón Soup and Asparagus Salad was a third hit! Check out that creamy dollop in her soup. Not sure what it was made of, but was it ever delightful. They also serve a Creamy Pumpkin Soup - which I plan to try next visit.
After our long dreamy lunch, we stopped at a Panaderia and Teresita bought a cinnabon-type pan to have with her morning cafecito.
Then we headed for our after-lunch treat. A stop at El Yogur for a Mora Yogur con Pan de Yucca. Oh, too delicious for words. As you can see, this is a popular spot. This was Teresita's find for us.
Thank you, Freddy, for being our personal driver and for helping us with all our bags. You're the man!