While we do a lot of research for our trips regarding where to see and eat, inevitably, what also happens is that planned restaurants don’t always work out because of vacation closures or no open tables, or we happen to be in a different area where we didn’t map anything for food. Other times, we stumble upon hidden or local gems just by walking around and keeping our eyes wide open. While walking in Bratislava on Friday morning, we came across the Stara Trznica, or the old market hall of Bratislava. It’s a restored market hall, originally built in 1910, that’s also used for various cultural events, that also holds a weekend farmers and local street food markets. Since the farmers market would be open the next day, we came back on Saturday morning to check it out. It was one of my favorite things that we visited and enjoyed while in Bratislava. The entire place had a real locals feel. The market hall had two levels: the main ground level had all the food and farmers vendors, while the second level had arts/crafts/music vendors, plus a large space for children’s performances and a children’s play area complete with bouncy castles and such (which Kaia loved and was mad that she couldn’t stay all day at!).
We got to enjoy both levels and sampled a lot of delicious things, including freshly made crepes (they are huge here in Bratislava! Though appearance-wise, they are typically rolled), fruit and poppyseed-filled strudel, honey wine (medovina), mulled wine, and Slovakian pastries. There was one vendor in particular I made a beeline for that had a long but quickly moving queue: Pekarenske Vyrobky, a bakery stall that had endless tantalizing pastries. I had a difficult time deciding which ones I wanted, but in the end, I chose two: a moravsky kolac and a cokoladovo. The morvasky kolac was a flat round bready pastry topped with a thick layer of plum jam, sweetened poppy seeds, and blobs of sweetened soft cheese. The cokoladovo was a huge, rounded, large-mug-shaped pastry that was twisted and croissant-like, with a very smooth, dark, not-too-sweet chocolate swirled throughout it. While I enjoyed the moravsky kolac, I was totally obsessed with the cokoladovo: I couldn’t believe how pillowy and soft the dough was, and I really, really loved the chocolate in it, which really was not sweet at all. At first, I felt a little confused and was unsure whether it was really chocolate. But I realized it was chocolate, just very dark and not as sweet as I am used to in pastries. Chris was obsessed with the entire market vibe and all the drink vendors. We were also shocked to see how cheap all the Slovakian wines were. If you wanted a glass at any of the stalls, they were no more than 1.50-2 euros for a generous pour, which many people were partaking in. A full bottle was usually around 11-12 euros, all locally sourced and made.
I loved this market so much. I loved the family-friendly vibe and all the samples and all the local foods. I loved how friendly all the vendor workers were. I even liked the bathroom setup, which was super clean, cleaned every hour, and the large, cushy changing table that I used for Pookster. I wish we could have spent more time there to eat and sample more, but alas, so much to eat and see, with so little time.