Marche des Producteurs de Pays

This week France rather quietly announced that visitors from the U.S. and Canada were allowed to come to the country without any restrictions. Things are still moving in the direction of getting back to normal, and while last year is still sort of a haze to me, I believe the markets in Paris remained open the entire time, operating under different conditions. Outdoor markets are…

This week France rather quietly announced that visitors from the U.S. and Canada were allowed to come to the country without any restrictions. Things are still moving in the direction of getting back to normal, and while last year is still sort of a haze to me, I believe the markets in Paris remained open the entire time, operating under different conditions. Outdoor markets are extremely important in France and, of course, pre-dated les supermarchés which are now everywhere and have more agreeable hours – some are now even open on Sundays, which was controversial when it happened. But the outdoor markets take place six days a week in Paris, and in a country where holidays and vacations, and Sundays, are sacred, they remain open no matter what, even on Christmas, Easter, and New Year’s Day.

The outdoor markets are an integral part of French life and while in Paris there are over 100 marchés alimentaires (food markets), many of the stands are run by négotiants, or middle-men and women, who get their fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, and fish from Rungis, the wholesale market outside of the city. There are many small farms in France but many stay, and sell, only in their regions due to their size. So I’m always happy when I see signs posted about an upcoming Marché des Producteurs de Pays, where you can buy things directly from the growers and producers, who bring their foods to the city.

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Creme de Marrons (Chestnut Puree)

When I was sprier (and when I could eat all that chocolate!) I used to do culinary tours. One of the most fun things to do was to take people into places and explain some of the lesser-known items that, incongruently, France is famous for. I know. I had to think about that for a minute, too. I’d point out things like fleur de sel,…

When I was sprier (and when I could eat all that chocolate!) I used to do culinary tours. One of the most fun things to do was to take people into places and explain some of the lesser-known items that, incongruently, France is famous for. I know. I had to think about that for a minute, too.

I’d point out things like fleur de sel, salted butter from Brittany (doing my best to reverse decades of people insisting that gourmands only ate unsalted butter), the esteemed (and ridiculously delicious) Madame Loïk, Amora mustard, Kiri, and caillé. I even shared some of the goofier things here on the blog, which has been up for a decade but still has only 1 share on Pinterest and 17 on Facebook. So perhaps I overestimated people’s interest in pop’n fresh-style croissant dough sold in cardboard tubes, and rosé wine pre-mixed with grapefruit flavoring.

Still, he persisted. Take crème de marrons, for example. It’s hard to get people outside of France to pay attention to it. Heck, even the Wikipedia page for it, in French, when you head over to the English version, takes you to a page about candied chestnuts, not chestnut cream. It easy to dismiss the dubiously brown paste that comes in a tin, that’s admittedly a lot prettier than what’s in it. But if you’re not familiar with it, I urge you to consider it.

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