Monday, November 30, 2009

Saturday mornings

Okay, I have been rubbish at the whole blogging-every-day thing. But look how long my posts are! Do you really want to slog through one of these every single day? Hmmm?

But I digress - today I will tell you about my Saturday morning ritual. It's a little something I like to call Miss-K-goes-to-the-local-market-and-stuffs-her-face. Catchy, non?

First of all, let me start by saying that I live in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, which is the equivalent of living in Mayfair in London, or the Upper East Side in Manhattan - in other words, seriously freakin' expensive, but incredibly great to live in. I was lucky enough to find a flatshare I can almost afford, but really, this neighbourhood is not a place in which to find bargains of any kind. I will tell you more about both the apartment and the area in other posts, but for today, back to the matter at hand - the market.

Every district has one, usually on Saturday and Wednesday mornings, and mine is the same. So every Saturday I roll out of bed early (the market closes at 1pm, so if you snooze, you do lose - last week I got there at 12 but still managed to snag the very last roast chicken - whew!) and head off down the rue St Honoré. On the way to the market, I pass the local boulangerie and get lured inside - after all, it's a whole two minute walk to the market, I might faint from hunger if I don't have a lighter-than-air pain au chocolat to shove into my face along the way. (I do end up with flakes of pastry all down my coat and I have to be careful that none of the warm chocolate oozes its way onto my face, but so worth it.) I haven't yet found a justification for ALSO buying a tartelette aux framboise other than the fact that it's so damn pretty (and delicious), so let's just move on...

One of the nice things about Paris is being able to buy amazing flowers at a ridiculously good price - I bought a dozen huge white roses at the market for 5 euros and they lasted nearly two weeks. But moving on to food, which is of course the most important thing: the market has several fruit and vegetable vendors (my favourite is the lady who chooses avocados for me at the perfect degree of ripeness for whatever day I need them - she's uncanny), a cheese counter, a rather spectacular fish counter, a vendor of Italian specialties (in a French market? Odd.), a table where they sell dried fruit, nuts, seeds and so forth, a charcuterie vendor, several other vendors and then we get to my favourite - the counter where they sell hot roast chicken (either whole or legs), fresh sausages - Toulouse, volaille, you name it, and the most delicious potatoes (see photo, above).

I like this seller for two reasons - one is that their roast chicken is so succulent and flavoursome that I am hard put to not just start eating it on the aforementioned two minute walk home (okay, pain au chocolat is one thing, but I think strolling down my street gnawing on a chicken leg might be just too trashy, even for me), it's reasonably priced, and they actually describe the bird not as grand (large), but as gros (fat). Hee! The second reason I like this vendor is because it's a couple who are just about the happiest damn people I've ever seen. They must have been up since dawn and they're working like demons, but they're constantly smiling and joking. They're from Noirmoutier, which is where my landlady (who is also very cheerful) comes from too, so it makes me wonder if Noirmoutier is a region of jolly people and fat, happy chickens? Sounds like a pretty damn fine place to me...

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