Well strictly speaking its Paris.
However France has become a large part of my life, not necessarily by choice, but I am glad it has because this is often how life's best experiences happen.
My parents retired from Dubai and moved to France four years ago, to live in their idyllic, quaint stone cottage, that we have been visiting for many summers previous to that. But this is the first time I am visiting in the winter (I am currently sitting by a roaring fire with a glass of French red writing this blog!). Before I share my foray into the French foodie market experience with you, I just wanted to express how grateful I am to be here with my family, sharing food and wine, and doing something I love; I feel very lucky.
I resigned from full-time work 10 months ago, and after a lot of wondering what would come next, I learned to relax, and to enjoy the time with Oscar and my kitchen, and trust that whatever was to come next, would be amazing.
And here we are. And it is!
However, I shall not bore you with my life story, but I must share one morning of it, for now...
Anecdotes from the French Market
Wednesdays and Saturdays are market days in the rural market town of Cahors, close to my parents' house in the Lot valley, and its one of my favourite places to be. So I was excited to see how it would differ from the summer market. Immediately on arrival, it seemed that one of the main things missing were the hoards of tourists and the flower stand in full bloom. Although I missed the burst of colourful blossoms, the array of fruit and veggies, cheese, freshly caught fish and spice stands certainly made up for it, and I was happy to have the space to explore the food stalls more freely.
One of the first things to hit you is the heady intoxication of fresh crepes and waffles combined with paella, roasting chickens and freshly baked croissants.... mmm, yum! So many different smells for the senses to simultaneously distinguish, it's hard to know if you want breakfast or lunch - my advice is to arrive early enough to have both!
Oscar managed to sniff out the Nutella crepes in no time – or as he calls them “donatella” crepes (for reasons that elude me, he seems to muddle up Donatello from the Ninja turtles with Nutella chocolate spread!).
One of my favourite new additions to the market was this gorgeous old Citroën van converted into a stall, selling locally produced olive oil. And before I knew it, I was tucking into a goats cheese and walnut salad drizzled with olive oil, sampling an olive oil and pistachio cake, and infusing the oil with numerous herbs and spices - there was no question about it, one had to be bought!
Getting completely caught up in the romanticism of the French market, I was happily (and almost obliviously) emptying what was left in my purse into the busker's guitar case via Oscar :) But he deserved it for adding magic to the atmosphere with his crooning French tunes.
All in all, it was a typically perfect French market morning and I left with a basket full of cheese French bread, locally made honey, olive oil, a spring in my step and a new wool fedora hat (never to see the light of day in Dubai!).
And Oscar left with a face covered in Donatella :) Vive La France!