Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Market Update

Well, it has been four years since I visited the farmer's market here, but I am happy to report that all is well in the tiny town square. The beautiful displays of tomatoes, spinach, zucchini, salad and tiny local strawberries, bright red and sweet, a hundred sorts of cheese, fresh bread and glossy prunes, were enough to make me almost cry. I was with my mother-in-law, she knows everyone, from the local policewoman to each stall holder and just about every customer. To a one, when she introduced me, they knew all about our trip and our "harrowing adventures" as they put it.

I had a harder time getting through the crowds than I remembered. The little elderly ladies are on a mission; they just bull-doze their way through, showing no mercy, yielding no quarter. If you linger too long over your choice of tomatoes or can't find the right change, there will be a hand in front of you with its own vegetables or money in it, getting on with business.

After selecting all of the above, each from the right stall, guided by my "belle-maman"; goat cheese, ewe cheese and fresh whipped cream as well as farm eggs, we met up with her sister and another friend for coffee. It was in a tiny tea and coffee shop that smelled heavenly, no flavor dominated over the others. It wasn't like walking into a cafe and having the overwhelming odor of fake hazelnut knock you over. It was more of an aroma of good things, unadulterated with cheese souffles or baked goods. The proprietress sent me away with three chocolate lollipops and two other chocolate goodies for the children. She had asked and noted how old the kids were, then prepared a little bag of treats while I was choosing tea to take home. Did I mention the tea? Oh, the tea...over 100 kinds, I just counted them on the menu I brought with me. Each smelled better than the one before. I narrowed it down to four, my husband's aunt wanted to offer me some. There were people in line behind me, so I forced myself to stop sniffing and just choose; two black, a rooibos and a green, but I will go back. I haven't even touched the Chinese, Japanese, Earl Grays or decafs!

We drove home to the children at a usual French, break-neck speed. Did I mention my mother-in-law drives like the ladies shop in the market, fast, furious and without pity? Well, not too fast, don't worry, Dad. She is, however, not someone to mess with on the road or in a parking lot. The kids had spent the morning devouring chocolate bread (pain au chocolat) and playing with their cousin, a little three-and-a-half-year-old darling. We all had lunch together; pate, bread, a rice salad, strawberries with whipped cream, and they ran off to play some more outside. I am starting to miss them, it feels like I haven't seen them in two days. They came home at five last night and we had dinner together, but they only woke up as I was leaving this morning. My in-laws report that they are all quite capable of making themselves understood in French when they need to, even the little guys. There may be no formal school work for a couple of months, but I am pretty sure there will be a little bit of progress in the foreign language department of the Academie C.


  1. lovely to experience new foods, smells and different peoples take on life, cheers Marie

  2. Hi Marie,

    It certainly is! There is so much that is different here. I hope we find the right way to acclimate them so that they end up appreciating the newness and not longing for home, though appreciating home will be a boon as well.


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