Sunday, April 11, 2010
un marché Français
Day 7 of my trip... I'm awakened to the sounds of a market being set-up. You see, I don't think I've mentioned that the studio apartment is situated (almost) directly above the market square. When I peak out the large windows I can look down and see people enjoying a coffee at Kismat Café (run by a lovely, kind English women and her husband)... I can also hop downstairs to the pâtisserie next door, or even make my way to le cave d'Eymet (more about that later).
But back to the market. Stepping into the square brought a smile to my face; not only was it a brilliantly sunny day, but visiting markets is my favourite part of traveling... markets are places where an outsider gets a real feel for the people, the place, the country that they are visiting... which is why we travel right!?
This was a real French market; full of vibrant colours, the vendors as colourful as their products, and people getting the freshest and the best products around. As soon as I wandered into the organized chaos my eye was drawn to the cheese vendors, large hunks of cheese - each and every assortment; standing in front of the stand, your nose was assaulted by bold and sharp scents. From there I was drawn to the bright red tomatoes; perfectly ripe, ready to be sliced and diced. A little further down the lane was the wide assortment of sausages (actually my favourite vendor was selling gorgeous cheese and sausage), duck products, fois gras, fresh herbs, spices, fresh olives (sigh), and dried fruit. Then we hit the fish stands. The fish mongers were a riot - showing off their assortment of fish, bright pink shrimp, smooth coquille St. Jacques... everything looked absolutely fresh and ready to be flash fried in a butter sauce or drizzled with fresh lemon (double sigh).
So in keeping with the idea of a market, we actually picked up some goodies for our lunch... a warm, juicy roasted chicken, some avocado and tomato to toss in a salad, and the most gorgeous cheese I've ever tried (yes, I was actually quite ill at the end of that meal... but so worth it). Obviously I couldn't skip out on dessert... so two wonderful little pastries were purchased - a doughy pastry filled with a chocolate cream and a rum cream... both, divine; light and perfectly sweet. And Julie grabbed a handful of the sweetest, moistest, softest dried apricots I have ever tasted. I can understand why she goes back for those week after week.
But my absolute favourite purchase... was my new straw panier! I bought a new basket to bring back home with; it'll be my market basket in Ottawa... that way I'll always have a little bit of France with me when I hit a marché!