The Provencal market days were special. Medieval villages sprinkled like the lavender fields across the south of France erupt once or twice a week to showcase the French’s occupation with food. I already believe that I am secretly French given my own preoccupations; more affirmation came this week, when even the children did not complain about waking early to drive an hour across the Vaucluse for a market.
Seasonal products were the headliners, along with so. many. aged. cheeses. At each of the markets I ordered a small wedge or a round or two of whatever a French grandmere was requesting. We learned quickly that French grandmeres know their cheese.
The charcuterie, terrine, and fresh meat and seafood selections were dizzying.
Anna Grace said, “Non!” to fresh bun-bun on the grill, but watched eagerly as the Poissonerie cleaned and prepared our squid tubes fresh from Marseille for dinner one night.
But whatever we brought home from the market, my guy was always ready to grill.
One vendor thoughtfully provided a decoder sheet for his vast and aromatic display. No donkey sausage for us; the wild boar and two rounds of cheese made for perfect pool break nibblies instead.
Provence is proud of its Mediterranean heritage, evidenced in small part by the paella available at just about every market. The paella was on par with that we’ve enjoyed at Spanish restaurants, too; and we tussled like unruly children over the fresh steamed langoustines in each take-away portion.
I have this piece of Le Crueset in my kitchen, and can only hope that someday it bears such beautiful scars.
This sign at a restaurant in one village market caught my eye. Only the French would refer to their best chefs as “disciples” of Auguste Escoffier.
The markets offered more than food, of course. There was brocante and bric-a-brac to be had for all tastes…
…and in the case of these gorgeous seltzer bottles, I discovered my taste was “expensive.”
Savon de Marseille. “Au Lait” is my and Anna Grace’s favorite scent, and many, many blocks were tucked into the luggage home.
No surprise that the majority of my souvenirs were èpicerie. And, no surprise that I eschewed the traditional Provencal mass-produced patterns for embroidered linen from a small vendor. My only indulgence? New Laguiole to join my old Laguiole.
As for my secret French heritage? Well, I do think the lavender complements the Czech crystal and Polish ceramics nicely…