Saturday, January 3, 2009

Market Day

I have written a lot about food shopping here but not on the quintessential French experience of shopping en plein air. I don't do a lot of buying in Paris's open air markets. At first, I found the whole experience a bit overwhelming because you do have to actually talk to the vendors (something that's not necessary in the supermarket much beyond "bonjour") and due to the myriad decisions to make. (Which vendor? The one with the long line or the better prices? Which fruits and vegetables? The ones I know or the ones I really should try for the first time?) Plus the closest market of any size is one of the most expensive in town. I've been to others that are less pricey but there's always the calculus of how much money you save when you spend twice as much time shlepping across town.

But we're having a little get-together to ring in the New Year tomorrow and I figured that buying paté and cheese at the market would be a good bet, particularly since a number of the shops in the neighborhood are closed until Tuesday. It's super cold out but the market was buzzing, the vendors all triple and guadruple layered in long johns, scarves, and gloves, and the colors and smells enticing (especially the stand selling Lebanese specialties). The trip certainly lightened my wallet. (Note to self: even when you're having 10 guests, just ask for a slice of paté, rather than a big slice). But it all looks pretty yummy (except for the rabbit with the fur still on and the Christmas turkey sporting its tail feathers; maybe next year.)

This isn't a farmers' market. But the fruits and vegetables are always labelled as to their country of origin.

Lots of holiday flowers and greens still available, including bamboo spray painted gold and cotton.

Decisions, decisions at the cheese vendor. We picked Comte, reblochon, and a round of goat cheese so ripe that it was dripping.


jonnifer said...

Going to the market can be fun but it does seem you need a certain saavy so far as vendors, prices, what things are, etc. My husband said I should stop requesting my fruits and vegs in bag amounts (as in "half a bag") so now I ask for 100 g of everything.

It's nice your market lets you know where everything comes from. I go to Bastille and haven't seen this. Will keep an eye out tomorrow however.

Enjoy your finds and your New Year's party!

Starman said...

It makes me shiver just to think of those poor vendors standing in the cold all day.

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