Along the way

Paradise on Earth

Many of us know the classical cool, rather dark market halls in southern European towns. Depending on the location, they provide a gigantic or only a regional assortment of raw materials for the home kitchen, usually combined with small gastronomic offerings at the various stands. There is a modern variant of such market halls in Rotterdam (the Netherlands) called simply Markthal (Market Hall). Its “content”: a few offices and a housing complex (228 apartments) with a market hall as its core and a car park underneath. The market hall is a small paradise, and not only because the viewer is presented with a large, extremely high space flooded with light. The fronts consist of glass windows. The roof arch is covered with a colorful ceiling painting depicting giant fruits, cereals, vegetables, fish, flowers etc. The hall provides everything to make the hearts of gourmets and gourmands beat faster: the best meat, fresh fish, fine tapas, an abundance of fresh vegetables, every variety of cheese, antipasti and a kitchen shop. Of course there are also several bakeries, a confectioners (called a Bankettbakkerij in the Netherlands), a French patisserie, ice cream, frozen yoghurt and extremely colorful cakes in an Asian stand’s display etc. There are samples to taste at almost every stand. Some stands have a seating area on the roof, while other restaurants line the sides of the hall. Rotterdam is famous, some would say even notorious, for its architectural extravagances, but the Markthal is a big hit and well worth visiting.

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