The open-air markets, or les marches, are very popular throughout all of France. Rain, sleet, hail and 30 mile an hour winds are no match for the social shopper. Our assumption is that the weekly gatherings must be more for gossip than the necessity for cheap, tacky knock-offs from China. Really, how many rhinestone studded belts does one person need….more on that later.
There are some products sold at the markets that are worth a look and a sniff. Most stall owners encourage us to taste their produce. The stalls selling Fruits et Legumes have hiding among everyday greens, piles of sweet, orange melons and mounds of asparagus spears, both white and green. There are a few delicious looking cheese stalls, we stop at the first and walk away with two hunks of creamy well-aged cheese. There is charcuterie for sale of all shapes and sizes. A simple sign above one charcuterie stall hints at the ingredients, Porć, Cepes, Herbes, Poiver, Fumè, Noir, (pork, mushrooms, herbs, pepper, smoked, nuts). We purchase a fist size, firm, cured ham and a delectable lean salami. There is also, a very popular butchery wagon that mysteriously has a queue feeding deep into the parking lot. What IS that guy selling?! How can it be any different from the stuff that’s sold in the ‘regular’ butchery or any other butcher shop? We’ll have to investigate further next Saturday…when the weather is better. Standing for an hour in line with frigid wind ripping at my scarf while waiting to ‘grunt- point’ at something I don’t know the name of, nor how to cook, does not excite.
Steve has managed to up the level of accessorizing his chef uniform with a little number from the marché in the form of the above mentioned belt – a big purchase. It evolved out of necessity, really. His pants didn’t fit properly ( Steve says because he’s is a Little Bit Fat) and the area in which we currently live isn’t spoiled for choice in Big and Tall men’s wear. We went to a few shops looking for a long belt that was thin enough to go through the belt loops on Steve’s pants. No luck. While in the market, where apparently all the ladies don’t sport a 20 inch waist, we found thin LONG belts that would fit Steve. None of them were understated, however. We purchased the plainest one possible, which just happened to have two rows of very sparkly rhinestones the entire length of the belt! Sexy. Steve says in his defense; the belt is merely adding chef bling to what was otherwise a very boring uniform and I’m sure the stones are diamonds! Either that or I’ve been ripped off €20.
Christina is besotted with fresh herbs. Wherever we are in the world, we try to have a constant, fresh supply immediately available. When we first arrived in Le Cap d’Agde she badgered me to visit a garden supply center where she made an armload of purchases. Our balcony now boasts a small herb garden complete with edible flowers and Christina’s tiny kitchen provides an endless stream of scrumptious meals. Tonight’s dinner will be fresh shrimp from Les Halles with angle hair pasta with herbs from the garden. Simple and tasty. The wind has settled and the sun is shinning, so we are off now to shop and drink a few beers at Mango’s! Santé!