Chandni Chowk, India: In Old Delhi, this is India’s largest and most frenetic outdoor bazaar; the almost deafening sounds can be overwhelming but there’s an eye-popping and encyclopedic assortment of masalas, dried and candied fruit, huge tubs of paneer, pyramids of mangoes and countless other varieties of fruits and legumes. Watch the chaos and soak up the atmosphere.
Tokyo Fish Market, Japan: Most of Tokyo’s seafood transits through the huge Tsukiji Market – the pace here is frenetic: workers yell, slice blocks of ice, haul fish and slap them around… however you’ll have get there early to see the predawn arrival of fish and its wholesale auctioning, but even at around 7am there’s still plenty of bustle. Stick around for a sushi breakfast!
House of Master Belgian Chocolate-Makers, Belgium: Who could resist this?! Belgium’s reputation for sublime chocolate is unmatched and Brussels is the birthplace of the praline. On the city’s magnificent Grand Place, La Maison des Maîtres Chocolatiers Belges unites ten of the country’s master craftsmen in an upmarket boutique – be tempted by excellent demonstrations in English and of course the tastings at 4pm on weekends.
Spice Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey: Despite the tourists this market can easily transport you back to its Ottoman era heyday with its myriad mounds of colourful saffron, sumac and chilli, herbal teas and Turkish delight. As well as spices you’ll find nuts, honeycomb, figs and dried fruits. The market remains a regular shopping spot for Istanbul’s best chefs; do as the locals do and try before you buy, and don’t forget to compare prices to ensure the best deal.
Roquefort Caves, France: Deep in rural southern France, the village of Roquefort turns ewes’ milk into the country’s most famous cheese. The village’s steep, narrow streets lead to natural caves where producers ripen no less than 22,000 tonnes of Roquefort each year. La Société, established in 1842, offers one-hour tours of its pungent caves which include tastings.