On Wednesday, I took Julia and John to the Cours de Vincennes market to pick up some provisions. We poked around the market, checking out the products, sampling delicious wild strawberries and cherries from Provence, and thinking about what to make for lunch and dinner.
The vendors here are friendly and love to talk about their products. When I asked about the three kinds of strawberries one vendor had on display, he gave me a sample of the wild strawberries and said "c'est cher, mais elles sont tellement bonnes; tenez, vous allez voir" -- it's expensive but very good, try this and you will see! He was right; they were staggeringly good. And I love the charcutiers, who take their time telling me about all the different types of saucisson and cautioned me to save all the duck fat from my confit to use for frying potatoes and green beans. Being able to speak French certainly simplifies things, but some vendors definitely speak English -- a lovely girl selling grilled sausages heard me conferring with Julia, gave us a big smile, and addressed us in perfect, accentless English.
A few pictures, all courtesy of John, of what we ended up buying and eating:
After the market, we stopped by Fromagerie Beillevaire, the teeny but amazing cheese shop 2 minutes from our apartment. While Julia waited outside, I picked up a package of their fresh salted butter.
I had an inkling their butter might be great, based on the creme fraiche I had bought from them a few days prior: when I asked for creme fraiche, the vendor pointed to a giant pail of the creamiest, thickest stuff I'd ever seen and, after I nodded, ladled some into a container for me. Hooked. And their butter is indeed tasty.
And for dinner, I steamed a kilo and a half of mussels. Mussels may be my favorite seafood, and one of the easiest and quickest dishes to make for a crowd. These were cooked with butter, leeks, glugs of white Burgundy, sliced fennel, and a few generous dollops of creme fraiche.
Marche Cours de Vincennes
Wednesday and Saturday, 8am to 1pm