La Cigale French markets – a gorgeously Gallic gourmet treat in the heart of Auckland.
I recently found myself in Auckland for a few days. This was only my second visit to New Zealand, although I don’t know why I can’t seem to get there a little more often – it is a breathtakingly lovely country. Even though I had very limited time on this last trip, I was keen to check out some of the markets in Auckland so had nagged my hosts into a quick Saturday morning shopping excursion to La Cigale French markets.
Situated in Parnell and inspired by the traditional markets of France, La Cigale markets are the brain-child of Elizabeth and Mike Lind, the owners of La Cigale Bistro and shop. This popular market has been voted Auckland’s Best Food Market by Metro Magazine for the last 8 years running and is open on both Saturday and Sunday mornings every weekend (except for the break between Christmas and new year).
Parking is tight and it’s easy to see why this spot is so popular – it’s all about the food here and this place is a true haven for the hungry. There is a large selection of fresh produce stalls, featuring seasonal fruit and vegetables from local growers, a huge range of artisanal food products, cheeses – local and imported, meats, fresh and smoked local seafoods, locally grown teas, manuka honey, olives – in fact, all the stuff that makes any food blogger’s heart beat that little bit faster.
Lots of the customers wandering around have clearly come to do the weekend food shopping, but just as many seem to be here for the wonderful prepared food which is available to eat at the long, communal tables or to take home. If I lived anywhere near here this is clearly where I would be found every weekend, gradually working my way through the selections of banh mi’s, crepes, Croque Monsieurs, paellas and a breathtaking array of baked goods and sweet treats – just as one would expect to find in, well, a French market!
Once our shopping bags were stuffed with more calories than we could possibly justify (and a generous selection of healthy, fresh vegetables to assuage any guilt) we headed for the car, passing one last stall on the way out. Miss Maggie’s sells a range of home made dog treats and has brilliantly recruited the most charming and perfectly appropriate marketing assistant!