Tuesday, 28 April 2009


Last Friday morning, we all dragged our sleepy selves at 4am to go on a trip to Rungis, the largest wholesale food market in the world, on the outskirts of Paris.  Historically, the market had been located in Les Halles but moved to the current site in the 60s. Rungis is the largest wholesale market in the world if counting on a consolidated basis (including its fish, meat, poultry, fruit & veg, dairy and cut flowers); if taking each section separately, then the largest fish market in the world would be Tsukiji in Tokyo and the largest cut flower market is in Amsterdam. Rungis is truely immense spanning several hundred hectares and shifting over a mindboggling 1.5m tonnes of food every year and is essentially a mini-town (it employs c.12,000 people on-site). 

We had a lovely guide, Philippe who showed us around each of the different sections as well as answering all our questions on all things Rungis. I think the most impressive building/warehouse for me was the fish market which was the size of an aircraft hangar. Philippe was keen to stress to us that all the food in Rungis was focussed on quality and told us that all the fish that we saw had been landed only some 28 hours ago (mainly from Norway and Denmark) - compare this to "fresh" fish in the supermarkets being 2 weeks old and we're talking super-fresh! It was amazing for me to see percebes on sale, the only time I had seen these was on a TV show about fishing and foraging for seafood in Galicia.

We then moved onto the "triperie" section - basically all the knobbly bits of an animal....brain, tripe, tongue, head, trotters....I had imagined that it would be a bit like Hannibal Lecter's wet dream but it was very clean and not a trace of blood and guts?

Then it was onto poultry (a large variety of birds, a lot still with their heads intact), meat (who would've thought that Ireland produces so much meat??), dairy (giant cheeses weighing 100kgs, anyone? or how about some lovely overmouldy fromage??), fruit & veg (they do sell durian from time to time but it is not currently in season!!) and cut flowers (wait for me!! just one more pic pls!!)

A really interesting day out, sadly, Joe Public cannot get in to take a peek so we were lucky to go along with school - the only bummer about the whole trip was reeking of fish for the rest of the day.....apologies to my fellow Eurostar passengers as I had no idea I ponged so much, oops!! :)    

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