Today’s “first” was summed up perfectly by the man standing next to me, who turned to me and said: “This is what I imagine Paradise to be like.”
I took a tour of Munich’s wholesale food market, which is the third biggest in Europe (after Paris and Barcelona), as I learned yesterday. The market is not open to the public, so I’d booked a tour through the Volkshochschule, a German institution that offers anything from language classes to sports programs and crafts courses.
I’d been wanting to see the inside of the Großmarkthalle for years, so I was really excited to finally be going there. Our guide was enthusiastic and full of stories, which made it an even better experience. Whenever we stopped at a stall, she sort of interviewed the merchant there, which gave us an even more detailed look behind the scenes.
We saw the gardener’s section, where local farmers sell their fruit and vegetables fresh from the field. After that, we walked through the main section (still the original beautiful market hall from 1912) where wholesalers offer crates and crates of fruit, vegetables and herbs. The main business happens between four and six in the morning so by the time we arrived around nine, it had quietened down and we were able to stroll around without disturbing anyone.
What I was looking forward to the most was the flowers section. Unfortunately, it turned out that we were not allowed to visit that as the prices are shown and we are not supposed to see them. We only saw the potted plants outside and I am now wondering which flower shop I go to often enough to beg the shopkeeper to take me with them some day.
However, this disappointment was followed by another highlight: the banana ripener. This is where green bananas get left in closed compartments at a very specific temperature, with ethylene gas surrounding them, in order to ripen them at the precise speed required. What a crazy bunch we humans are!