Tag Archives: food markets

Friday Market, near Bergerac, France

I was in France again recently, just for a few days, hanging out at a lovely house near Le Temple sur Lot. On the Friday we went to this market in a town who’s name I now cannot recall. It was a typical small town market, the kind where you can buy anything and everything, from jeans to table cloths to bread to live chickens. We wandered around just looking, often with wide eyes, at all the different things on offer. The colours in the market are just spectacular and half the reason to go. I was particularly interested in all the different meats and fish on sale. There was more selection than you’d find in the average supermarket that’s for sure. The window boxes all over town were pretty lovely too.

Tomatoes of every shape
Local carrots
Wild boar salami. There was also horse.
The local church
Anchovies and sardines
There was a lot of pre-prepared food, like these mussels
On guard!
Flower seller
Look at the choice of plums
Stacks and stacks of peaches
Flour at the bakery
The town hall
Quails, bought cooked at the market, for lunch

Le Marais Walking Tour

On Sunday morning we participated in a food walking tour of Le Marais (the district where we stayed). I did a very successful walking tour in New York and I was hoping that this one in Paris would be equally good. It was a bit hit and miss – some parts were great but there wasn’t enough information for me. I wanted to know more about the history of the market we visited, more about the producers and production methods, more about the history of the area and how it’s changed and I wouldn’t have minded tasting more food.

There is so much food history and culture in France that I was really expecting to be overwhelmed with information but sadly, I was not. (Plus it was uber expensive!) Still, I visited parts of the district that I wouldn’t have gone to on my own and sampled various wonderful products and found the most insanely amazing pastry shop in the history of the world.

We started off at a local boulangerie which had the most fantastic tiles on the outside of the shop. Our guide explained about baguettes and the different types and qualities. This is a local bakery, nothing fancy, but the bread was fabulous. Still warm, fragrant, crackling as you tore off a piece (I’m always reminded of that scene in Ratatouille when Colette shows Linguini about the sound of good bread). The traditional baguette is made with only four ingredients: flour, water, yeast and salt. As we tasted outside the shop you could hear the machines working in the back and smell the doughs rising.

From there we walked to the market at the Place de la Bastille. This is an extremely large market selling not just food but shoes, clothes, bags. A kind of buy-everything-in-one-place kind of market which are apparently fairly common in small towns where there aren’t many stores. We sampled various cheeses, foie gras, spoke with some producers (the man selling salt was very entertaining) and oohed and aahed over various fruits and vegetables that aren’t common in South Africa.

I just love the different colours of honey
Beautiful tomatoes

Courgette flowers
Salted caramels sold with extra salt in the bag, just in case

After purchasing various products in the market we headed to a quiet square to sample all the produce.

We then visited two pastry shops. At the first we sampled waffles, one filled with vanilla cream and  another with pistachio and cherry cream. The displays made me want to purchase everything immediately.

Finally we went to Jacques Genin. Visiting this pastry shop is rather like visiting a library or church. We spoke in whispers, everything was quiet, almost revered – it was like a sanctuary for pastry. We sampled mango caramels that liquefied almost as soon as they touched your tongue, coriander chocolate, tonka bean chocolate and fresh mint chocolate, pâte de fruit, a caramel eclair, a lemon tart and finally, a raspberry tart where each raspberry was filled with coulis. We returned to the shop after the tour ended to buy more caramels (they’re truly amazing) and a St. Honore. We ate the St. Honore for dessert that evening. It’s puff pastry base was crispy and crunchy, each profiterole was filled with something different (custard, caramel, chocolate) and then the pastry cream and crème Chantilly just about finished us off. The tour was fun but I wouldn’t pay that much again, not unless I got to see behind the scenes in some places or spoke more with the producers or there was much for information about the history of the places we went.

Essex St Market

On my last day in New York I wandered over to the Lower East Side to visit the Tenement Museum. They were really busy so I had an hour and a half to kill before my tour of ‘Irish Immigrants’ began. The kind people in the museum provided me with a self-guided walking tour to help keep me amused. I didn’t get very far though because the first stop takes you to the Essex Street Market and I then happily wandered around looking at all the different produce on display.

There is a large variety of cuisines and foods on offer here – traditional Greek pastries, very American flavours of peanut butter, French breads, whoopie pies and loads of vegetables that I’d never seen in a shop before including dandelion, cactus pear, sour oranges and aloe. It was fascinating. 

The cinnamon raisin swirl peanut butter looks fascinating!

Chelsea Market and the Meatpacking District

On my first day in New York I organized to do a food walking tour of Chelsea Market and the Meatpacking District. I hadn’t been or known about Chelsea Market on my last visit to the city but it’s a fascinating place. The market is on the ground floor of what used to be the NABISCO factory – where they invented the Oreo. It’s all industrial chic with exposed pipes and brick work and the shops are exclusive bakeries/food shops/delis/supply stores that can easily break your will power and budget.

We started at Eleni’s bakery for a sampling of a red velvet cupcake. I love the biscuit dress in the window and the themed boxes of biscuits but at $65 a box, these were not in my budget! The cupcake was lovely, the icing smooth and creamy. It was bite-size which was good because we ate continuously for about three hours!

We then wandered through to watch the bakers of Amy’s Bread. The kitchens are all glass windows so you can see people at work, making the delicious goods on offer. This is an industrial operation with racks and racks of dough in various stages of proofing, baking,  and cooling. Very impressive. Whilst we watched we sampled chocolate milk from Ronnybrook Dairies.

Next it was into the fishmonger for a sample of lobster bisque…

Before a feast of Italian deli favourites – olives, cheese, cured meats, breads – where I saw these awesome marzipan fruits!

I was tempted to buy half of the shop at Chelsea Market Baskets. Dulce de leche from Argentina, Island Bakery cookies from the Isle of Mull (I got super excited when I saw these as I love this bakery), weird bacon sweets, chocolate gummy bears.

I particularly like this idea of bacon inside the pancakes!
I loved these Sesame Street cupcakes.

Then it as out onto the High Line. The High Line is now a fantastic green space but I’ll talk more about it later in the week. This is just a taster…

Finally, we wandered through the Meatpacking District for one last sampling of oxtail pasta. I like the slightly gritty feel of this district. Despite it’s gentrification over the last few years, it still feels slightly harder and more intense in parts. By the time the tour was over I was full to the brim and ready for a long walk to recover.