by Stefano Tealdi

  • Italy, Germany / 2020 / 5 x 52min and 5 x 43min 
  • A co-production: Stefilm International s.r.l. (Italy), Filmproduktion (Germany), ZDF (Germany)
  • In collaboration with: ARTE (France), RSI (Switzerland)

We are what we eat! City food markets provide a great variety of local, genuine and fresh food to an enormous number of people living in the city. IN THE BELLY OF THE CITY explores where quality food is produced in Europe through the markets that sell it. With the help of the producers, the vendors and the chefs we see how food production in Valencia is changing from a quantity production to quality products and how seafood and salmon are not the only food products one can find at the market in Bergen. The mix of cultures present in Thessaloniki becomes immediately evident at the Kapani market with its dried fruit, sesame seeds and cabbage leaves. The island of Sardinia has a trove of Mediterranean specialities served at the market stalls of the San Benedetto market in Cagliari while the English Market in Cork serves the most humble food of the Irish traditions, as well as the novelties of a young generation of foodies.


The market of San Benedetto in Cagliari is the island's belly. It is one of the biggest fresh produce markets in Europe and arguably said to be the biggest fish market in Europe. A paradise for food lovers, where every stall keeper has a story to tell. Artichokes and cheese overload these stalls, and the variety of fish is breathtaking. Clams, tuna fish and dried mullet roe, together with saffron and mastic oil, make it unique.


The Fish Market or Torget (the square) has a charming location in the heart of the city between the fjords and Bergen's 7 mountains. On the harbour the stalls sell an incredible variety of fresh fish and seafood like urchins, scallops, prawns and lobsters, but also local farm food like fruit, berries and vegetables. The old and young farmers come weekly and offer a few little known traditional produce such us the brown cheese or the lapskaus. 


Ireland's third-largest city has one of Northern Europe’s market gems: The English Market. It supplied high-quality food to the rich English families differently to the Irish market, which no longer exists. Not big but consistent, one can find savoury sheep tripes boiled in milk and blood sausages, soda bread, and different sorts of potatoes.  Everything from spiced beef to plum pudding, from apple ice wine to cucumber kombucha. Differently to the past, the best Irish produce today remains on the island and can be found here.


Perhaps one of the most beautiful and well-organized food market buildings in Europe is the Mercado Central of Valencia. Built on the area where an open-air market stood for centuries, the Valencian style Art Noveau construction is a ‘Cathederal of senses’. It’s two domes, iron beams and stained-glass windows, cover 400 stalls of local products, a proof of the variety and diversity of the regional agriculture, which is now transforming itself from intensive to natural.


The Kapani market is situated just behind the Aristotelous square of the city of Thessaloniki, the central square facing the Aegean Sea. Behind the city, the rich Macedonian farmland. The ‘Jerusalem of the Balkans’ as the city was once called is now known for its food and gastronomy: a tasteful mix of Sephardic, Balkan, Turkish and Greek delights. All can be found in the intricate streets of the market or tasted at the many cafés and tavernas operating there daily. 


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