Conveniently located right at the subway station “Rochusgasse” (line U3) this market welcomes you during day & night time with produce, convenience food, quick lunches and time for coffee or a drink at night.
Similar to the famous Naschmarkt most of the stalls are permanent structures looking almost like a compound. Many of them are rather restaurants or pubs than classic stalls where to buy produce. There are also temporary stalls like at a regular farmer’s market. Still the choice is wide and ranges from local products to international specialities and even brands.
The vendors and their future
As one vegetable stall owner said: “I wish we had more vegetable sellers, as with my small surface I cannot cater for all the demand”. But managing such a stall is hard work, getting up at 3 am to be at the Vienna wholesale market to get the right quality products and working until the evening hours. Him and his wife have done it for 32 years! So they have hard time to find staff adhering to such working hours, even though he closes the stall for 2 months per year to have some rest. He and and his wife will probably be without a successor when they retire.
Another aspect some vendors fear are the attempts of law makers to apparently only allow packaged products. It would make the difference between supermarkets and open markets much smaller in terms of offerings, e.g. cheese. Markets would then become less attractive. This reminds of the efforts some years ago in the European Union not to allow anymore cheese making from raw milk. This attempt failed at the end to the benefit of a culture of artisan cheeses as offered at the Rochus market.
The transition of the market
The market is changing over time. Once there were more classic businesses on this market, e.g. 3 butchers instead of one today. Now many stalls are lunch places, restaurants or pubs. There is even a fish franchise “Nordsee” from Germany selling fresh fish and fast food. This is good for people in need for some quick lunches or a drink in the evening, but it takes away the character of a typical picture book market.
Nebertheless the Rochus market benefits from a huge popularity and support according to the vendors. Business is not declining.
The temporary stalls offer a mix of standard and local offers or specialities. A Greek vendor is selling since 8 years artisan products like cheese, sausages and ham from the western part of Austria (Vorarlberg). I saw some nice porcini mushrooms, grapes from the south of Austria, local cowberries. This offering is positioned next to other seasonal products easily available in supermarkets as well, but probably in a better quality.
The permanent stalls have their own specialities as well. The cheese shop had a nice selection of Austrian and other cheeses. The spiced fatback (Gewürzspeck) sold there (!) caught my eyes, a real delight and easy to bring back home as it does not need refrigeration.
The butcher “Radatz” had a very wide offering in meats, sausages and convenience food. The marinated chicken and beef mixed with vegetables were ready made for the pan for quick cooking, a feast for the eyes. Organic beef was also available. Furthermore he offered a large variety of other prepared foods like baked chicken schnitzels and the like. All in all a good mix of basic products and convenience food.
All in all: Worth a visit when you come by, good for a quick lunch and some culinary souvenirs
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